What is Gestalt Therapy?
The Gestalt therapy or Gestalt therapy was developed by Frederick “Fritz” and Laura Perls in the 1940s is a way humanistic psychotherapy that has emerged as an alternative to the forms psychoanalytic more traditional psychotherapy that existed at the time.
“Gestalt” is derived from a German word meaning “form”, and refers to the whole or essence of something. The gestalt therapy maintains a holistic view of a person always in the context of their environment.
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Gestalt therapy guidance
Similar to the person-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers, Gestalt therapy is an experiential form of therapy that sees the client as always growing. People are seen as evolving continuously. In addition, gestalt therapy emphasizes the importance of unconditional positive consideration, empathy and understanding as an integral part of the therapeutic process.
Gestalt therapy, moreover, recognizes the need for acceptance in order to create change.
“The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself as I am, then I can change” – Carl Rogers.
The importance of the present moment in gestalt therapy
As with many experiential forms of therapy, the focus of gestalt therapy is on the “here and now” . By remaining present in his experience, a client is able to focus on feelings and emotions that can otherwise be ignored, denied or suppressed. You are therefore able to get more in touch with yourself, become more self-conscious and create a better life as a result.
Some Gestalt Therapy Techniques
A gestalt therapist can use certain gestalt therapy techniques, also known as experiments, throughout the treatment. The following is a list of several common gestalt therapy techniques:
Role playing – Playing a role is often used in gestalt therapy to help clients appreciate different sides to their own experience that they may not have recognized.
Role playing is also used to help a client get used to or “rehearse” a new behavior, especially if there is anxiety around him.
The empty chair technique – The empty chair technique is probably one of the most well-known gestalt therapy techniques. It involves sitting a customer directly in front of an empty chair. The client is encouraged to imagine someone in their life sitting in front of them, like a parent or another significant individual, and to have a conversation with them. This process can help the client to realize a greater understanding of the situation as a whole.
Sometimes parts of the client’s self are placed on the empty chair, and the client has a dialogue between the different parts of himself. This process often equates to the client having a better sense of all aspects of their experience, and greater self-awareness as a result.
The exaggeration exercise – The exaggeration exercise involves asking a client to exaggerate certain elements of behavior in order to bring an emotion or experience much further.
For example, if a client is anxiously shaking his leg, the therapist may ask him to exaggerate the experience and allow a high emotional experience associated with it, in order to better understand the emotions involved.