Gestalt therapy is an action approach to life that emphasizes dynamic awareness rather than introspection. It is more than an effective psychotherapy, it is an orientation to the world and a particular way of seeing and knowing in which the gestalt therapist attends to interpersonal, intrapersonal, physical and relational processes as well as to the presenting problem of the client. Gestalt therapy is revolutionary in its therapeutic approach to unblocking barriers to being fully alive and in the moment that were erected by society, language, personal history, education and life.
Gestalt therapy is unique as a therapy of growth and wellness, not one of pathology and illness. The focus is on creative adjusting and the facilitation of ongoing maturation throughout the life cycle. Gestalt is a German word for “wholeness”. The mode of working in Gestalt therapy is awareness with a paradoxical approach to change where the therapist is an “agent of change”, not a “change agent”.
Gestalt therapy is a process approach to psychotherapy with the goal of improving one’s contact in community and with the environment in general. This goal is accomplished through aware, spontaneous, and authentic dialogue between client and therapist. Awareness of differences and similarities are encouraged while interruptions to contact are explored in the present therapeutic relationship. One of the unique aspects of the gestalt approach to working with resistances is the view of the client’s resistance being “the energy”, rather than “the enemy”.
Gestalt therapy assumes the body has wisdom and is a holistic approach to psychotherapy. Our bodily experience forms the base of our relationship to the world. By bringing awareness to our body in psychotherapy, we gain access to memories, emotions, and beliefs that are otherwise outside of our consciousness. As we become more aware of the messages our body sends to us we can then begin to lead healthy lives, both physically and psychologically. Listening to the body’s story as well as the mind’s story provides you with a wealth of information about unresolved fears, strengths and new possibilities.
“Through attention and dialogue based on our mutual embodied awareness we can explore relational patterns of our clients and create alternative experiences and supports for change and growth. This approach is presented in contrast to the cultural patterns of desensitization and objectification of our bodily and relational experience. Gestalt therapy focuses on the interactive and body dialogic aspects of the field created by the therapist and client. To practice gestalt therapy in this way requires a discipline to notice our own embodied presence.” ~ The Interactive Field