What is Integrative Gestalt CoachingTM?

Integrative Gestalt Coaching™ (IGC) is a form created by Perry and Johanna Holloman over the last 40 years. It has its roots in the pioneering work of Fritz Perls and other master teachers who taught at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California in the 60’s, 70’s, and into the present. Awareness development is one of the foundations upon which many of the healing arts offered at Esalen are based. Fritz’s work, along with masters like Charlotte Selver (Sensory Awareness) and Moshe Feldenkrais (Awareness through Movement), emphasized the importance of awareness in supporting human growth and development. In IGC, we work with discovering the human capacity for Integrated Awareness™ .

What is Integrated Awareness?

Integrated Awareness, in its essence, involves the harmonious functioning of three primary wisdom centers of human consciousness. These centers are intrinsically linked to the evolutionary advancement of our central nervous system: the Body/Sensory Center, governed by the brain stem and spinal cord; the Heart/Emotional Center, overseen by the limbic system; and the Mind Center, under the domain of the cerebral cortex. When these three centers collaborate in unison, attuned to our internal and relational experiences, our potential for optimal functioning in the present moment and long-term personal growth multiplies exponentially. The philosopher and mystic Gurdjieff termed this state “unified consciousness” and recognized it as fundamental to the journey of self-realization.

Barriers to our development

The path to developing Integrated Awareness is far from easy, for it requires awakening our perception beyond the confines of ordinary consciousness. Our ordinary consciousness operates within the bounds of ingrained habits and preferences, often evading our awareness, similar to how we unconsciously maintain our body posture and gait until discomfort and limitation forces us to learn new patterns. Likewise, our perceptions are colored by habitual tendencies and preferences, molded by the demands of our lives. Notably, the esteemed medical hypnotist Milton Erickson demonstrated the power of altering perceptions to allow individuals to perceive life from different vantage points. In the context of IGC and Gestalt systems, we recognize that the human psyche functions according to learned patterns, coalescing over time into what we identify as our “personality” or “self.” Once established, our personalities exhibit a formidable resistance to change, even when confronted with evidence suggesting that our habits might undermine our well-being.

How do we support the development of our consciousness?

The fundamental purpose of IGC and the development of Integrated Awareness is to support the evolution of consciousness. We use a process called Inquiry to focus our awareness on our experience both internally and relationally. As we inquire into our experience, we become aware of the habits formed throughout a lifetime making up our personality structure as if looking through a compassionate microscope. Using the power of Integrated Awareness, we have the opportunity to examine the habits governing our perception and the patterns governing our behavior and feel their relevance or miss-attunement to our current life circumstances. We may then discover that a certain job, relationship or geographic location is no longer congruent with our current life phase. Moreover, the process of Inquiry may lead us to discover a “sense of something missing” or a longing for a “meaningful life purpose,” signifying the awakening of what we refer to as “the self-realization drive”- a potent, self-organizing force latent within every human being. Inquiry, when supported by Integrated Awareness becomes a gateway to limitless growth. The process of Inquiry in turn supports a convergence of the streams from which awareness flows, integrating them into a powerful, unified whole.

For more information about training in IGC, contact Perry and Johanna via e-mail: hollomaninstitute@gmail.com  ophollomanconsulting@gmail.com