What Is Gestalt Therapy?
Gestalt therapy refers to a form of psychotherapy that derives from the gestalt school of thought. It was developed in the late 1940’s by Fritz Perls and is guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole (mind, body and soul), and that they are best understood in relation to their current situation as he or she experiences it.
The approach combines this relational theory with present state – focusing strongly on self-awareness and the ‘here and now’ (what is happening from one moment to the next).
In gestalt therapy, self-awareness is key to personal growth and developing your full potential. This approach recognises that sometimes self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behaviours that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy.
It is the aim of a gestalt therapist to promote a non-judgemental self-awareness that enables clients to develop a unique perspective on life. By helping an individual to become more aware of how they think, feel and act in the present moment, gestalt therapy provides insight into ways in which he or she can alleviate their current issues and distress in order to aspire to their maximum potential.
How Does Gestalt Therapy Work?
Fundamentally, gestalt therapy works by teaching clients how to define what is truly being experienced rather than what is merely an interpretation of the events.
Those undertaking gestalt therapy will explore all of their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, beliefs and values to develop awareness of how they present themselves and respond to events in their environment.
This gives them the opportunity to identify choices, patterns of behaviour and obstacles that are impacting their health and well-being, and preventing them from reaching their full potential.
Who Can Benefit?
Ultimately, gestalt therapy is considered to help individuals gain a better understanding of how their emotional and physical needs are connected. They will learn that being aware of their internal self is key to understanding why they react and behave in certain ways.
This journey of self-discovery makes the approach beneficial for individuals who can be guarded when it comes to their emotions, and find it difficult to process why they feel and act the way they do. It can also provide support and a safe space for individuals going through times of personal difficulty.
Gestalt therapy is considered particularly valuable for helping to treat a wide range of psychological issues – especially as it can be applied as a long-term therapy or as a brief and focused approach.
It has been found effective for managing tension, anxiety, addiction, post-traumatic stress, depression and other psychological problems that can prevent people from living life to the full.
Overall, people who participate in gestalt therapy tend to feel more self-confident, calm and at peace with themselves.
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