What is gestalt therapy ?

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Find out if this method can work for you.

Gestalt therapy: definition

“Gestalt is a German word meaning “form”. It is part of the field of humanistic therapies focusing on the body and emotions.

Gestalt therapy is a psychological approach. It differs from psychoanalysis in that it is more interested in the how than the why: here and now, how does this conflict manifest itself?

It was developed by Fritz Perls in the 20th century.

The individual is apprehended as a whole: Gestalt mobilises all bodies, including the spiritual body.

Its objectives are to use dialogue and different tools to :

  • Become aware.
  • Find the root cause of a difficulty.
  • Explore thoughts, feelings, behaviors and emotions.
  • Dissolve unconscious patterns.
  • Get to know oneself better.
  • Define the direction in which to go.
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How does Gestalt work?

Exploring ourselves and understanding our patterns can be transformative.

Most of our difficulties as adults stem from what we experienced and felt as children.

The practitioner guides the client to discover the source of their repetitive patterns, so that they can find their way.

This involves becoming aware of the emotions in a bodily way and learning to identify them.

A profound work on oneself is included in the curriculum to become a Gestalt practitioner.

Thus, therapists are ready to accompany their clients.

How does a session work?

The therapist first asks the client to explain the situation.

Through verbalisation and body signs, he or she will identify the main points to explore during the session.

He/she will then ask questions that will allow to go deeper, especially concerning :

The Gestalt therapist is not just an observer. He/she actively participates in the discussion, with the aim of bringing the consultant to become aware of unconscious functioning.

It is a therapy of the here and now. Example: “You say that. What do you feel at the same time in your body?” The past finds its concrete manifestation in the present.

Emotional feeling is an integral part of this collaborative therapy, both for the practitioner and the client.

There may also be an invitation to dramatise, in order to facilitate awareness.

Gestalt-therapy allows past situations to be brought to light from other perspectives.

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In this way, the clients understand that others (and in particular their parents) have done their best. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their lives, rather than blaming others.

The founders of Gestalt have developed dozens of tools, which can be used on a case by case basis, such as:

  • The blank page.
  • The empty chair.
  • Polarities.
  • Drawing emotions.
  • Playing different characters in turn.
  • Replaying a traumatic episode.

Several sessions are usually recommended.

Why take Gestalt therapy sessions?

The method has shown satisfactory results in cases of :

  • Mourning.
  • Difficult separation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Emotions.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Depression.

However, Gestalt is also a philosophy of life that allows to go beyond limiting beliefs.

Each session brings a new consciousness of:

  • Our emotions.
  • Our sensitivity.
  • What belongs to us or not.
  • Our unconscious patterns.
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Conclusion

What is gestalt therapy ?

It is a psychotherapy that focuses on the body and emotions.

These are often related to childhood.

With the help of innovative tools, the Gestalt therapists guide towards a liberating awareness.

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