Gestalt Therapy was developed by psychotherapist Fritz Perls on the principle that humans are best viewed as a whole entity consisting of body, mind, and soul.
Gestalt is a German word referring to the character or essence of something.
Gestalt psychology believes that the best way to alleviate unresolved anger, pain, anxiety, resentment, and other negative feelings is to not just discuss them, but to actively express and experience these emotions in real time—in the here and now.
Without allowing emotions to be experienced and released, both psychological and physical symptoms can arise.
Gestalt therapy is based on the set of principles or “laws of grouping” that explains “the whole is different from the sum of its parts.”
When we perceive something as whole, we are perceiving it as something that is much more than all the individual parts.
HOW GESTALT THERAPY WORKS
Through Gestalt Therapy, you can learn to release feelings that may have been suppressed or masked by other feelings, which alleviates symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and trauma symptoms.
As you connect with and release your feelings, you gain greater access to your authentic self, can become more assertive about your needs, and can hone and trust your intuition to a greater degree.
In other words, you will develop greater self-awareness, self-trust, and self-worth.
Your goals, as you become more aware of yourself and your senses, are to take more responsibility for yourself, accept the consequences of your behavior and choices, and learn to satisfy your own needs while still respecting the needs of others.
As you make contact with your deeper feelings and take responsibility, you will restore a sense of hope, freedom, and vitality and discover newfound peace and possibility.
GESTALT EXERCISES AND EXPERIMENTS
Gestalt therapy is practiced using exercises and experiments, allowing you to understand different aspects of a conflict, experience, or mental health issue.
- The empty chair technique is a gestalt therapy exercise that places you across from an empty chair. You are asked to imagine that someone (such as a boss, spouse, or relative), you, or a part of yourself is sitting in the chair. The therapist invites a dialogue between you and the empty chair, which can help you gain access to your suppressed emotions. Sometimes the roles are reversed and you assume the metaphorical person or part of a person in the chair. The empty chair technique can be especially useful for helping you become mindful of the whole picture of a situation and help you access parts of yourself and experience you may have left behind.
- Another common exercise in gestalt therapy is the exaggeration exercise. During this exercise, you are asked to repeat and exaggerate a particular movement or expression, such as frowning or bouncing a leg, in order to make you more aware of the emotions that are being expressed through the behavior or movement.
The empty chair technique and the exaggeration exercise are two of many gestalt therapy techniques used to help you increase awareness of your immediate experiences. Through these exercises, gestalt therapy also allows you to regain access to parts of yourself that you may have minimized, ignored, or denied.”
OUR THERAPY METHODS
Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identifying and changing underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and providing you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing a wide range of psychological and mental health issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship issues.
Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page.
WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A GESTALT THERAPY EXPERT NOW
If you have any questions, contact one of our Gestalt specialists for a free consultation any time.