Gestalt Psychology

Devaluation In Gestalt

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The resistance that occurs between contact and satisfaction in the needs satisfaction cycle is called devaluation. When you deflect you keep yourself from fully contacting your gestalt and instead experience the shadow; when you devalue you make contact but experience it as being less satisftying than it is.

Q: “How was the movie?”
A: “It was okay.”

Q: “How was your day at school?”
A: “It was fine.”

Q: “Did you have a fun weekend?”
A: “Nothing too special.”

Our culture in the 21st century attacks us with so many inputs from so many different angles that we have grown cynical and jaded. It seems that an event has to be out of the ordinary to elicit a strong reaction these days. The simple pleasures in life, like a cup of coffee, reading a good book, or having a funny conversation with a friend are par for the course and sometimes do not feel worth remarking upon. Yet all these little, seemingly insignificant moments make up the bulk of our lives.

Sometimes it takes a shock, like a near death experience or a terminal diagnosis for people to really start living. The things that once felt small or insignificant take on vital importance. Life improves in significant ways. But you don’t have to have something bad happen to you to appreciate life. You just have to make full contact with your gestalt, another way of saying you should be mindful. There is a scene at the end of the Harry Potter series where Harry heads out from the castle to the woods in order to face Voldemort and what he believes is certain death that describes the polar opposite of devaluation.

“He got up slowly, very slowly, and in this action he felt more alive and more conscious than ever of his own body. Why had he never appreciated the miraculous combination of brain, nerves, and heart? But all of that was going to disappear…or at the least he was going to disappear from that body. His breathing became slow and deep; his mouth and throat were dry, and his eyes too…When all was said and done, dying wasn’t so easy. Every breath that he took, the smell of the grass, the fresh breeze in his face…everything had acquired great value. And to think that people still had years and years of life, more than they knew what to do with, so much that sometimes it seemed like a burden. And he, on the other hand, held onto every second that passed by.”
(Harry Potter y Las Reliquias de la Muerte, pg. 582-584 *Translated by us from the Spanish edition, Salamandra, 2008)