Avoiding those situations that we fear can bring us short-term relief. But, in the long run, it is a mechanism that encloses us in a repetitive cycle with no exit. The problem will become greater and will gradually limit our vital possibilities.
Our mind is self-regulating
Fritz Perls, a creator of Gestalt therapy, argued that in this therapeutic model there are only three really important questions:
The first is “what are you doing?” , Which tries to lead the person to experience the here and now.
With the second question, “How are you doing?” , It is intended that the one to whom it is directed deepens in the realization.
The third and final question is “what are you avoiding?”.
With this, we can get an idea of the importance of the concept of avoidance in Gestalt therapy.
From its beginnings, the creators of this therapy emphasized the idea of homeostasis; that is, the capacity of our organism -and our psyche- to self-regulate itself before the changes in the environment in order to maintain a state of internal equilibrium.
If we let our organism “flow”, then, of course, we would find balance again.
We should allow our body to seek the appropriate way to react to a certain event to cry, to get angry, to laugh, to get closer, to move away-without interrupting or repressing it or questioning it.
Complications appear when our conscience intrudes and interrupts this process. We are constantly interrupting ourselves, Perls said. And why do we do it? we interrupt ourselves because, for various reasons, there is something we want to avoid from that natural flow of experience.
Our past experiences, our mandates or the vanity of maintaining our self-image tell us that something unpleasant or dangerous will happen if we let the natural process run its course.
To avoid this dreaded consequence, we interrupt the process of homeostasis and force ourselves to move in a certain direction or to remain immobile.
Without knowing it, by interrupting this process we have unbalanced ourselves. We have become neurotic.