Laura Perls wrote:
” when I announced last term that I intended to have a
workshop on contact and support functions, someone made the
remark that I would have to very careful not to re-introduce a split
inot the holistice concept of the functioning of the organism.
Well, I don’t think that the assumption of support and contact
functions constitutes a dichotomy, but rather a differentiation
according to the figure/ground principle.
Support and contact are not separate problem on the purely
instinctual level; at a more primitive stage of biological
development, there is more confluence. Stages of development
span over the worm, four-footer, ape to man with his developed
cortex and upright posture where step by step the state of pure
All who have had some experience of Gestalt therapy, either
students or as patients, are familiar with the concept of contact.
Contact is the recognition of “otherness,” the awareness of
difference. It is the boundary experience of “I and the other.”
I would differentiate between “being in contact” and “making contact.”
Being in contact indicates a continuing state which gradually tends
toward indifference (confluence).
Making Contact is a foreground function, alert, awake, etc.
It requires a specific awareness of contact, e.g., of a
specific object, activity, etc.
For this reason, orientation and manipulation
happen by way of a specific organ or specifically
At the same time, consititutional factors, primary
physiology, posture as well as acquired habits which become
automatic and thus equivalent to primary physiology,
play and decisive role.
Support for making contact comes from what has been
assimilated and integrated. The rest of the organism is
background function, normally unawares,
taken for granted, but indispensable support for the
foreground function of contact”.