Barack Obama has often been called an empty suit, but last night Clint Eastwood visualized him as an empty chair.
A lot of people (including me) thought Eastwood would be giving a more conventional speech. But instead he came up with a zany improv that left a lot of people scratching their heads:
Sort of funny, sort of strange, if you ask me.
But not unfamiliar. Anyone who’s had any experience with Gestalt therapy would probably recognize the famous empty chair technique pioneered by Fritz Perls:
When the client expresses a conflict with another person, through this technique, the client is directed to talk to that another person who is imagined to be sitting in an empty chair beside or across the client. This helps the client to experience and understand the feeling more fully. Thus, it stimulates your thinking, highlighting your emotions and attitudes. For example, the therapist may say, “Imagine your father in this chair (about 3 feet away), see him vividly, and, now, talk to him about how you felt when he was unfaithful to your mother.”…The key is a long, detailed, emotional interaction–a conversation. You should shift back and forth between chairs as you also speak for the person-trait-object in the other chair. This “conversation” clarifies your feelings and reactions to the other person and may increase your understanding of the other person.
Obama doesn’t strike me as the sort of man who can take a joke—about himself. That’s why ridicule can be a most potent weapon.