31 days project: Gollum and the empty chair

The lord of the rings has to be one of my all time favourite movies. One of the most interesting characters in the movie is Gollum. People familiar with the movie will know the story of how Gollum came to be. Before the ring of Sauron poisoned his mind he was known as the hobbit Smeagol. He was banished after murdering his close friend. To cope with the trauma (and because of the ring driving him mad) Smeagol developed an alternate personality so to be better equipped to deal with his isolation and the result of his actions.

After Gollum meets Frodo things begin to change. Frodo learns of Smeagol’s story from Gandalf and makes a connection with Smeagol, making a pledge to help him. By this point Frodo has the ring and empathises with Smeagol wanting to bring him back.

The empty chair technique is a form of Gestalt theory. It aims to prevent the dichotomy that leads to disconnect between the individual and their environment. Using an empty chair the individual sits facing the chair and conveys cathartic experiences and expression through role-play. It allows the individual to express what they would like to say to, or how they would like to act toward, another person or within the mind (Erford, 2015).

The video clip shows an example of self therapy similar to that of the empty chair. It highlights the dichotomy of personalities, Smeagol and Gollum arguing over the need for each other, ultimately with Smeagol saying to Gollum to ” leave now and never come back”.

Enjoy the clip


Erford, Bradley T. (2015), Forty Techniques every counselor should know. 2nd Edition. Pearson Education, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey. ISBN 978-0-13-357174-5






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