Discussion: Existential or Gestalt Counseling: Case Conceptualization


Discussion: Existential or Gestalt Counseling: Case Conceptualization

For this Discussion, you will write a case conceptualization as though you were an existential or Gestalt counselor. Be sure to incorporate the feedback from your Instructor on your previous conceptualizations into this week’s.

As you review this week’s Learning Resources and media file, note techniques and interventions, and consider the role of an existential or Gestalt counselor in planning treatment. Further, reflect on existential and Gestalt therapy with respect to developing your own theoretical orientation. In what ways do you find that these approaches may resonate with your own point of view?

To Prepare

  • Review this week’s required readings about existential and Gestalt theories.
  • Review the existential-humanistic psychotherapy video from this week’s Learning Resources. Take note of language and techniques used by the counselor that are specific to this theory.
  • Review the Freudian Case Presentation document found in this week’s Learning Resources, and use this document to prepare your initial Discussion post.
  • Select one of the case studies presented in this week’s Learning Resources, and answer the following points as if you were an existential OR Gestalt counselor. Use your Learning Resources and the notes you took on language and technique from the existential-humanistic psychotherapy video to support your conceptualization, and integrate examples from the case to support your post. Include the following:
    • Presenting Problem
    • Treatment Goals
    • Identify your chosen theory (i.e., existential or Gestalt) and explain at least two techniques and interventions from that theory.
    • Expected Outcome

Post your existential OR Gestalt conceptualization.

Be sure to support your main post with specific references to the Learning Resources using proper APA format and citations. Your response posts may be more conversational and less formal.

Case to work with


Dale is a 52-year-old White man who works as a prison guard in Arizona and was referred to counseling because he has had multiple verbal and physical altercations at work with inmates. In the past month, Dale has been involved in two physical altercations with prisoners, both of which were caused by Dale calling prisoners by racist names. Based on his work behavior, his supervisor referred him to counseling as a condition of his continued employment. Dale does not want to be in counseling, as he does not think that he needs to change anything, but he has attended the first session in order to maintain his employment.

Dale was a police officer for 18 years and was terminated from the police force due to racial profiling and his inability to work collaboratively with his minority colleagues. After termination, he served as a bouncer at a local bar for 4 years but quit to pursue a job with higher income and medical benefits for his painful rheumatoid arthritis. Dale has worked in the prison system for 2½ years.

Dale has been married twice. He was married to his first wife for 6 years and had one son from that marriage who is currently 21 years old. His son was raised primarily by his ex-wife, and Dale saw him on holidays and for 2 weeks during the summer. Dale no longer has contact with his son. Dale broke contact after his son brought home a Latina girlfriend; Dale states that the “Mexicans and Blacks are taking over his country but won’t take over his family.” Dale describes his ex-wife as a “lying whore” who he believes had multiple affairs during the marriage while he worked long hours as a police officer. He says she denies these accusations, but Dale says that “you can’t really trust women.” He also thinks she did a “terrible job” raising their son, and he described his son as a “big baby.”

Dale has been married to his second wife, Anne, for 3 years. Anne works as a clerk at a grocery store in their small town. Anne does not have any children. Dale describes Anne as politically and socially “ignorant” and “very religious.” He says he trusts Anne because of her religious beliefs and that she is afraid to go to hell for sinning. Dale states that it is Anne’s religious beliefs that allow him to trust her not to be like most women who have affairs, spend their husband’s money, and lie a lot. He states she “knows her place” as his “property” and doesn’t disagree with him. Dale was raised by his mother in a rural community where he was the eldest of four children; his views mirror those of his father, a man who worked as a laborer to support his family.

Dale states that he seeks out people who oppose his views so that he can try to convince them that the U.S.A. is a country for White, English speaking people only. When asked about this view, Dale shares that he grew up in extreme poverty and that “the lazy Blacks and Mexicans” got services and support while he had to “pull myself up by the bootstraps” to get to the middle class. Dale did not adopt extreme anger about these views until he started working in the prison, where many of the inmates are Black Americans and/or Hispanic Americans.