Gestalt counselling is a here-and-now type of psychotherapy. The practitioner encourages the client to identify their feelings or behaviour and consider how they affect their present environment. This self-awareness can then promote healing and personal growth, enabling the client to make decisions in the present context, rather than the past. Self-awareness is a key concept of Gestalt thinking.
The Gestalt approach was chiefly developed by Fritz Perls. His work Ego, Hunger and Aggression (1947) and later, Gestalt Therapy (1951) helped establish the approach’s theoretical framework. Early Gestalt therapists used dramatic techniques that required the client to physically enact emotional issues – it took a far more Experiential approach than modern versions.
Gestalt Psychotherapy is a form of Humanistic Therapy and is influenced by Psychoanalytical theory. Practitioners focus on here-and-now experiences in order to remove the obstacles of behaviour patterns created by past situations.
Gestalt, which roughly translates as ‘Whole’, stresses the need of wholeness between mind, body and soul. Gestalt therapists seek to address conflicts that may prevent this perceived harmony.
How can Gestalt Therapy help?
Its methods can help improve a client’s self-awareness and to break negative behaviour patterns. It is useful for treating anxiety, bereavement and depression. Other conditions such as insomnia can also be addressed with Gestalt counselling.