Gestalt Psychology

Confluence In Gestalt

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Confluence is the last resistance in the needs satisfaction cycle and occurs between the stages of closure and withdrawal. This is when a person doesn’t know how to let go. It’s necessary to withdraw from an experience and have some down time in order to recharge your psychological and physical batteries. After a football player has a huge run from scrimmage he is usually subbed out for a few plays because he’s tired and has to catch his breath. Metaphorically speaking withdrawal is the same. It’s a chance for you to pull back, reflect on your experience, and prepare to reenter the fray by forming a new gestalt with your environment.

We can all think of those who are stuck at the stage of confluence. It’s the person who is obsessed with exercise and can’t quit. It’s the guy with a weight problem who keeps eating even after he’s full. It’s the friends who want you to stay out for another hour. It’s the people who do not know how to say goodbye. It’s the party goer who always wants one last drink.

We have talked about the threat of nothingness as a central factor in many of the resistances. Withdrawal is not the threat of nothingness, it is nothingness. You are forced to deal with symbolic death, and unconsciously it can be terrifying. It signifies the end of your relationship with your current gestalt. You have no idea what road you will be taken down next. Sometimes it’s easier to stay with what you have, even if you are psychologically satiated, than it is to move into unknown territory.

If you can raise your awareness levels about when you feel completed in all of your various activities during the day and withdraw from them when you do your life and relationships will improve dramatically. People worry that if they leave when they’ve had enough of a conversation or social gathering they will be viewed in a negative light. They don’t want to appear antisocial or rude. But these types of people are usually respected for knowing what they want and going through with it.

Next time you are at a gathering, instead of waiting for social cues to know when it is time to leave, follow your internal cues about when you feel you’ve completed your gestalt and are at the stage of closure. Say your goodbyes, get out of there, and give yourself some time to reflect upon the experience. This is what withdrawal is all about. You will look back on the whole event more fondly and have energy for all of the other activities in your day.