Character structure: A Gestalt-cognitive theory

  • Burley T
  • Freier M
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Most theories of behavior and therapy have tended to focus on why behaviors are present. By contrast, the theory and practice of Gestalt therapy have focused primarily on how behaviors are present. This article describes a Gestalt model of character structure and function from the point of view of Gestalt process theory in coordination with E. Tulving’s (1985) concept of procedural memory from cognitive and developmental psychology. Current developmental research is used to clarify how character as an operating system is developed. This conceptual framework permits a description of how character functions and has implications for creating change in psychotherapy. Examples of the application of this formulation are provided. The explosive growth in research in

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  • Todd Burley

  • M. Catherin Freier

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