What is Gestalt Therapy?

Founded in Existential, Humanistic and Zen philosophy, Gestalt Therapy works with the present moment in an experiential way.  Gestalt have been an evidence based therapy, session by session, from its conception. In Gestalt, the therapist is looking to be authentic and uses the art of psychotherapy to create a personalized treatment. A Gestalt therapist is pro active, dynamic, relational and humanistic on his or her approach to therapy, there is emphasis on contact versus a emphasis on methodology.

Gestalt therapy uses each session to be awake and present to what needs to emerge and be experienced.  This emerging self can be a body sensation, an emotion, a thought, a dream, an unfinished business with someone, a memory that now seems to appears at the forefront, a decision to make in the future, and so on.  What ever emerges from this background, it is approached with curiosity, creativity, and a mindful presence towards all aspects of the self.  In Gestalt, the self is not divided in mind, body, and external world; self is seen as a complete wholesome.

A Gestalt therapist does not exclude the social economical and cultural environment or the body and mind as something separate but part of the formation of the self. Coming from that premise, the session can take the form of an experiment that illuminates the emerging issue at hand and by experiencing and bringing awareness to each aspect of the self, the client finds a more complete understanding of the problem presented and is no longer stuck in one step in the dance of constant adaptations, but finds more options and opportunity to move out of the stuck point.

Gestalt therapy has an existentialist and egalitarian framework and gives attention to what happens in the therapeutic encounter as an important part of the process of integration of the self.  As the encounter in each session can be successful or with disturbance at the contact boundary, the illumination of the process creates a focal point or figure for work.  Contact being the road for growth and change.  Developmentally, the holes of the past can be repaired through the process of finding support and connection in the present, while reaching, pushing, pulling, twisting and grasping in the therapeutic encounter.

The session can take the form of a body awareness, alignment and movement exploration.  The body as a vessel needs a chance to speak.  It is remarkable how the cliche phrases of body pains are actually accurate most of the time and by ignoring the body, one can develop chronic pain and disown their body self.  By giving attention to what the body is saying, one can make embodied choices and find an easier time having a felt sense of what is real.

Once the client becomes aware of how they are in the present moment, they can set up an experiment.  In this experiment one finds the parts of the self that has been exiled or that needs a chance to speak. At the same time, it seeks to identify the whole of one’s being and facilitate a larger view of the self. This way the clarity of the inner debate can be seen. Like the yin and yang, all aspects of ourselves have something to offer.  If there is no dialog, both sides are not contributing to the self. Instead, they are blocking and holding the flow of the thought processes as well as potential actions. An experiment makes the conflict clearer and less confusing.

In Gestalt Therapy one is looking to identify areas of one’s life that feel incomplete or unresolved and allow the process to organically move into completion. Gestalt believes that we are all moving towards health even if it looks that we are not.  By giving the right environment to study that amazing capacity, the client finds their unique path towards a healthier process.  There is nothing to fix but to illuminate, so one can become aware and awake in the dance of life.