In the spring months of 1975, I was wearing three hats.
The first, designed by Fritz Perls M.D., some years before, I wore as leader of a small Gestalt Group, composed of students from the University of California Santa Barbara. The second had a decidedly academic shape. This I wore as an Instructor for Graduate Students who were earning their teaching credential. The third was as leader of a group of working educators, from teacher’s aids to college instructors.
I sometimes felt that all three hats were shaped like dunce hats as I attempted to apply theories to live, wiggling people. As spring turned into summer, all three groups were coming to a close. I felt especially involved with the Gestalt Group which had met once a week for six months, at my house. The Gestalt sessions were scheduled from 7 pm to 10 pm but often went on past midnight.
The morning of the last scheduled session, I woke before 6 am, wishing I had a good bye gift for the group. What did they need the most?
The answer came almost simultaneously with the question. And it was true for all three groups. Insight into their introjected rules and the recognition of how these inappropriate beliefs stopped the natural unfolding of their real, true selves. In Gestalt lexicon, these are named “introjects”.
If only, I could expose their introjects in such a way that they would have to look them squarely in the eye….awareness in and of itself…might erase them.
I then designed an intervention that became my research program for my doctoral degree.
Would you like a taste of the introjects I collected from 273 people?
GOOD GUYS FINISH LAST
DON’T TAKE CHANCES..YOU MIGHT GET HURT
From Father: WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE A BOTHER
ACT INFERIOR TO BOYS
DON’T SMELL HUMAN
MY BOY WHO CAN RUN FASTER THAN A RABBIT WOULD NEVER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT WITH A GIRL
MONEY DOES (SOMEHOW) MAKE SUPERIOR PEOPLE
STEP ON SOMEONE TO GET TO THE TOP
Work Ethic: ANY GOAL WORTH STRIVING FOR IS UNATTAINABLE
LIFE ISN’T VERY EXCITING
WATCH OUT FOR OTHER KIDS WHO CAN POISON YOUR MIND
Work Ethic: DO IT ALL: DON’T LET ANYONE ELSE
From Mother: BE MY LOVER
From husband: I COME FIRST
DON’T BE UP FRONT WITH NEEDS
YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW I FEEL
WEAK STUPID FAT DUMB UGLY CLUMSY
GET MARRIED; DON’T THINK FOR YOURSELF
You may think I made these up. My imagination is not that clever. Each of these was delivered as part of the exercise to become aware of deep seated rules that might be affecting your daily decisions. In many cases, once the person became aware of the inappropriate rule, then its manifestation and usefulness in behavior could be questioned.