Paradoxical Theory of change

I will call it the paradoxical theory of change, for reasons that shall become obvious. Briefly stated, it is this:
that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.
Change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change him, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what he is

— this is by Arnold Beisser M.D, from the brilliant Gestalt therapy theory essay :

The Paradoxical Theory of Change.

As our sphere of awareness expands, (the awareness of ourselves and the interaction with our environments) we gain more autonomy on deciding what we are, and what parts of us are no longer healthy for us.

The” what I should have been“s, the “Who I am supposed to be” , The What I was taught I should be

these statements are shoes.
Shoes that were put on our feet by others or unconsciously by ourselves. They no longer fit.
Change is not finding new shoes to fit into.Its taking off the old ones to let are feet grow. its let are feet become our feet.

Change is a on going process. While moving forward and grow…

we also let go of what we are no longer us. And we change into what we truly are:
The healthy phenomenon within a greater phenomenon of life.
Arnold Beisser took this further in his essay by explaining we are integrated phenomenons and that by the integrated interaction of difference within us…
as individuals, as a society, as the world, we find true awareness, and we may become what we humans really are.
The differences and differentiations : within us as individuals ; between us in our social relationships…are healthy.
However, when differences become full polarities they create only static ambivalence and paralyzing angst. True growth, and true change into what we are ,
can only be integrated experience.
i found the paradoxical theory change a very profound essay when i finally understood it. Not only for my personal growth, but for attitude and ideals on what a united society could be. Yesterrday, I went to the first political rally i have been to in years. I am hoping that the man can meet the message of united change.


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

3 Responses to Paradoxical Theory of change

  1. sulochanosho says:

    Indeed a profound understanding of our life phenomenon, just like putting out the life petals there one by one, layer by layer before our naked eyes to see it if we want to see it. I never thought the Gestalt salt is so essence and profound. Great posting. Thanks.

  2. chris says:

    hi Sulochanosho,

    Sadly little is written on Beisser. He was spending the last days of his life in an Iron Lung when he wrote the “paradoxical theory of change”.

    There is a lot of strange stuff that uses the name Gestalt therapy on the Web today.

    Gestalt is a therapy. It focus’s on increasing a clients awareness of the processes of :valuing; choice making: and relationship making.

    It is not a philosophy or a belief system to learn.

    the very process of meditation has been more essential to my wellness , thanks to the awareness I learn in gestalt therapy.

  3. Pingback: Beisser: Flying Without Wings | Pennsylvania Echoes

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