The Principle of Closure/ he Urge to Complete:
The Gestalt Psychologists had proved through empirical research, that an
individual organises everything he or she perceives into meaningful wholes. If
anything is incomplete then an individual will probably see the whole anyway or
guess at it.
In a similar way, experiments were then carried out to also show that people
remember unfinished tasks better than finished ones. hese fester away in the
back of our minds, so we tend to suffer from nagging niggles about things we
need to do or finish off. We can truly put something out of our minds when we
have completed the task and felt the subsequent satisfaction.
Now here is the leap from psychological principle to therapeutic practice: just
as we tend to make meaningful wholes of our experience, what we actually see,
hear, feel, etc., so, we also try to complete any emotional situations, which remain
unresolved or unfinished from the past. Perls called these situations “unfinished
business”, a term which has become part of everyday conversation. He
developed simple, but powerful techniques to help people bring to the surface
any unfinished situations from the past and resolve them in the present, e.g.,
‘Empty Chair’ or ‘ TwoÂ Chair Work’.