Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy, based on the experiential ideal of “here and now,” and relationships with others and the world. It is an existential or experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility. Gestalt therapy is used often to increase a client’s self-awareness by putting the past to rest and focus on the present.
Gestalt therapy was originally developed by Frederick “Fritz” Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman in the 1940s. Perls believed that self-awareness leads to self-acceptance and responsibility for one’s thoughts and feelings. Gestalt therapy rose from its beginnings in the middle of the 20th century to rapid and widespread popularity during the decade of the 1960s and early 1970s. During the 70s and 80s Gestalt therapy training centers spread globally, but they were, for the most part, not aligned with formal academic settings.
Focus of the therapy
The therapy focuses upon the individual’s experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.
Goals that are encouraged to achieved by the patient during Gestalt Therapy
- Identifying the person’s action or becoming aware of what they are doing.
- Becoming aware of how they are doing a certain behavior.
- Learning how to change the behaviors that keeps him or her from achieving life goals.
- Accepting and valuing him or herself as a person.
- Emphasizes of what is being done, thought and felt at the present time rather than what might have been, should have been, was or might be. It FOCUSES on what is happening instead of on the subject being discussed.
- Increasing the awareness of body language and of negative internal messages.
- Making a client speak continually in the present tense and in the first person to emphasize self-awareness.
- Creation of episodes by the therapist and diversions that clearly demonstrate a point rather that explaining in words.
- Asking the client to concentrate on a part of his or her personality or one emotion. The therapist would then ask the client to address it as if it were sitting by itself in the client’s chair.
- To increase self-awareness the therapist often use this therapy by having then write and read letters, keep journals and perform other activities designed to put the past tp rest and focus on the present.