What Is Gestalt Therapy?: Developed by a husband and wife team of psychotherapists (Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman) who founded gestalt therapy in the 1940s, this type of therapy modality is a holistic free-flowing therapeutic client-centred approach that focuses on the present moment to help you understand what is happening in your life right now.
Through ‘re-experiencing’ feelings rather than simply talking about them, you will be supported to increase your self-awareness, freedom and self-direction. The core aim of Gestalt therapy is to highlight to you that the whole of anything is greater than its parts and that every person is a whole (mind, body and soul).
It is seen in therapy circles as a system of awareness practice (sometimes called ‘mindfulness‘) and is similar to person-centred therapy in this way with its approach to personal growth and balance.
How does gestalt therapy work?: A therapist will work with you using Gestalt therapy techniques to identify what you are feeling right now, perhaps encouraging you to exaggerate that feeling or play a role that expresses it more fully. Your therapist might point out a physical thing that’s happening for you – foot-tapping or making a face – to help you connect your physical behaviours to your feelings.
Gestalt therapists might also encourage you to re-experience your dreams or use ‘empty chair’ techniques (where you project someone else into the room and talk to them directly). It can be a lively and playful form of therapy that gets right to the heart of the issue in a seemingly short time frame.