What are the key concepts of Gestalt therapy?


Gestalt therapy dates back to the 1940s and was developed by Fritz Perls.  A type of psychotherapy, it works on the basis that everyone is a whole comprised of mind, body and soul, as described by the relational theory principle.

Focusing on the ‘here and now’

It looks at the present state, making use of self-awareness and what is going on here and now.  This is key to developing full potential, promoting personal growth and working to remove any blocks that may be created due to negative thoughts and behaviour.  If you are feeling unhappy with your life and lacking any sense of satisfaction, then Gestalt therapy may be recommended.  Your therapist will show you how to become more self-aware, creating a new way of looking at life.  Once you are focused on how you think, feel and behave in the current moment, the therapy will enable you to see ways in which you can eradicate your current problems and become the best that you can be.

There are several key concepts that your therapist will use, all being interconnected.  Not only will they provide much-needed insight but they will also help to form a strong connection between client and therapist:

  1. Person-centred awareness – This involves focusing totally on the present and seeing it as separate from what is going to come in the future or what has occurred in the past.  This keeps you firmly anchored to the here and now and makes you very self-aware without having to tap into your subconscious.
  2. Respect – At all times you will be treated with total respect by your Gestalt therapist. Their role is to provide support whilst encouraging you to open up and talk about areas that may be creating problems for you.
  3. Experience – Your experiences will be looked at in terms of your reactions; emotions, behaviour and ideas – basically how you perceive things.  Your therapist needs you to fully experience things in the present, working through every possible perception and feeling.
  4. Create and discover – An assortment of Gestalt creative techniques will be applied in order to bring to the fore and open up your hidden feelings.
  5. Social responsibility – You will be shown that you have a social responsibility to yourself as well as others.  Whilst acknowledging people’s differences, respect should be shown to all.  This will enable you to develop an egalitarian attitude to life.
  6. Relationship – Gestalt therapy will be used to examine the idea that all individuals should be considered as being ‘whole’ when they are able to develop healthy relationships.  At the same time, the relationship between you and your therapist will develop as you work together. The stronger your relationship, the more successful the therapy should be; you should feel nurtured and protected and able to open up fully and develop.

If you think that Gestalt therapy could be useful to help you with your current problems, we can assist you in finding a suitable counsellor.  Fill in your details on our website and you will be provided with information relating to Gestalt therapists in your area that can assist.

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