Good Moments in Gestalt Body Process Psychotherapy: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2006


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Russell A. Walsh

Committee Member

Anthony Barton

Committee Member

Denise A. Tervo

Committee Member

Robert Sherry


body and psychotherapy, body psychotherapy, gestalt, psychotherapy


The present study investigated good moments within Gestalt Body Process Psychotherapy (GBPP). The method of the research was hermeneutic phenomenology as developed by Walsh (1993) in his investigation of good moments in psychotherapy.

This research distinguishes itself from previous studies of good moments in Gestalt psychotherapy by having the client, therapist, and researcher independently determine good moments by viewing a videotaped therapy session of GBPP. This research further distinguishes itself by having the psychologist who founded GBPP, James I. Kepner, participating as the therapist and named in the study.

The analysis of the participants' data indicated that there were eleven common values among the participants. Six of the eleven common values were explicitly stated by all three participants in their overarching themes. The remaining five were values that at least two of the three participants held in common. More than half of the common values (8 of 11) described something about the client, presumably occurring out of the therapeutic process. The remaining three common values explicitly referred to the interaction between the client and Kepner. Forty-five percent of the common values corresponded with participants' initial component statements that emphasized physical existence. Only two of the common values referred to therapeutic interventions.

The ten general findings regarding the practice of GBPP in this study correlate well with GBPP theory. This study showed that good moments vary according to the perspective of the participants confirming prior research. Physical existence is highly valued in the findings of this study and as the central expression of the self in GBPP theory. Collaboration, experimentation, and how the client interacts with self and others are highly valued within GBPP theory and by participants in this study. The general findings also demonstrate the therapeutic use of touch and energy as significant for both assessment and intervention. Additional findings include: body structure and gestures serve a functional purpose that is relational; the assimilation of problematic past events through present experience; and the significance of integrating in-session experiences to the client's life. Implications for future research and limitations of this study are addressed throughout the discussion section.





This document is currently not available here.