Psychotherapists use a variety of methods to treat clients’ problems. One of these popular and widely used methods is the empty chair technique. This technique is used in various fields; For example, this technique can be very useful if you are having problems involving someone else. In this article, we will talk about the empty chair technique in psychology, its applications, challenges, and how to do it.
What is the empty seat technique?
Empty chair technique is a kind of treatment method Gestalt It was invented by the famous German psychologist Frieder Perls. In this way, the person expresses his feelings and emotions to another; However, this other one is absent and in fact his place is empty on the chair. In this way, the person speaks as if the other person is sitting on a chair next to him. In this way, he expresses his emotions and feelings towards the other.
Applications of empty chair technique
1. Individual counseling with couples
If you have problems in your emotional relationship, the best way to solve it is to participate in couples counseling. However, you or your emotional partner may each have separate counselors. If your partner does not want to participate in couples counseling, you can go to counseling individually and follow up on relationship problems. In any case, the counselor will most likely use this technique to find out how you feel about your partner.
2. Mourning counseling
Mourning counseling helps us cope with the grief of losing a loved one. Since they no longer have the physical presence to interact with them, the empty chair technique helps us to speak to them professionally. This technique helps the survivor to get through the mourning stage more easily.
Sometimes people grieve after a relationship ends. In these situations, too, they may have unprofessional careers and repressed emotions. In such a case, the person may go back to his former partner, which is wrong. The empty chair technique provides an opportunity for the person to express their depressed feelings and get through this stage in a healthier way.
3. Coping with past traumatic experiences
Unpleasant experiences we have had in the past may negatively affect our lives in the present. The people responsible for those experiences may be dead or we may no longer have access to them. Therefore, we may not be able to express our anger or grief towards them.
With the help of the empty seat technique, a person can fully express his feelings about the perpetrator who attacked him, the bully who raped him or even his parents who abused him. With the help of this technique, a person recounts what he has kept inside for a long time in a safe environment.
4. Planning for the future
Suppose you have a problem with someone. You know that sooner or later you have to face him and attach your stones. If you are very anxious, you may not be able to do everything you can and this will make the problem worse. The empty chair technique in psychology helps you prepare for these difficult situations. By doing this, you will be able to resolve your differences with more peace of mind and mental readiness.
Why do psychotherapists use the empty chair technique?
Now that you are familiar with the benefits and applications of this technique, it is time to understand why consultants use this technique. Note that this procedure is usually performed in the presence and guidance of a counselor or psychotherapist. He is the third person to watch your conversation.
1. Help you identify emotions
When you start talking to a chair, you may not know exactly how you feel about the imaginary person sitting in it. After a period of conversation, the counselor introduces you to your feelings, facial expressions, or body language by identifying them. By recognizing these emotions, you can now focus on them and examine them.
2. Giving you the freedom to express yourself
You may be in a situation where you can not speak freely; For example, you have just lost a loved one and you have a lot of unspoken words left in your heart, but you are worried that if you share them with someone, you will be misjudged.
On the other hand, sometimes people are not ready to listen to our professionalism. They reject us or they cannot sympathize with us. By talking in an empty chair, because we feel more secure, we are able to articulate unspoken words easily, thus relieving the emotional burden of unspoken words.
3. Help you gain deeper insight into the relationship
When you are in a relationship, it may be difficult for you to have a clear view of the situation; For example, some of us may be afraid of being honest in a relationship. Raising issues related to vacancies provides an opportunity to identify those issues and work to address them.
On the other hand, you can use the empty chair technique to find out how you feel about your relationship. Are you happy? Or leave the relationship when it’s time? You will make better decisions with a deeper perspective.
4. Helping to acquire communication skills
As your words and emotions flow through the chair, you may find yourself losing control of your emotions and thoughts. The empty seat technique helps you improve and improve your communication skills. The counselor will ask you questions during the conversation; For example, it asks you to express a certain feeling in the form of the most accurate words or gives feedback about your facial expressions. In this way, in real conversations, you can better understand what you mean to someone else.
How is the empty seat technique performed?
When it turns out that you need this technique, for example, you want to say something to someone but you do not have the ability or ability to deal with it, your counselor begins the process by placing an empty chair next to or in front of you. He asks you to imagine that the person in question is sitting on a chair.
All you have to do is express yourself freely. It may seem a little strange or difficult at first to open up; But as soon as the career starts, it will gradually follow. Your counselor will also try to hand over the subject to you by asking questions and smoothing out your conversation.
If you experience strong emotions such as anger, stress, or anxiety while talking to your chair, a counselor may be involved in the discussion to help you deal with those emotions.
When to use the empty seat technique?
You do not need to worry about when to run this method. It is up to your counselor or psychotherapist to determine this. He suggests this technique, seeing that you can hardly express your problem or have a communication problem in the relationship.
Difficulties in performing the empty seat technique
Despite all the benefits and applications of this method, its implementation may face potential difficulties.
- In this technique, the performer needs to be able to use his imagination to imagine the person he wants to talk to. If for any reason a person can not use his imagination. It will be impossible to implement. Counselors can help these people use their imagination by raising a topic or question.
- One may refuse to use this technique because one considers it foolish. Maybe he is worried that he will express his real thoughts and emotions.
- Sometimes a person is not able to identify the problem and can not look at the issue from different angles during a conversation with an imaginary person sitting in a chair. In such cases, the problem becomes difficult to identify and the therapist may need to use other methods to identify it.
How familiar are you with the empty seat technique in psychology? Have you ever considered using it? If you have experience implementing it, tell us about the implementation process and the result. Sharing your experience can be beneficial for some.