What Is Gestalt Therapy?



The image above is typical of gestalt psychology and represents the space where that which is figural for us at any given time can fade into the background when another need enters our consciousness. If you look at the image, you can see, it moves from being a chalice to two faces opposite each other.

In laymen’s terms, it is a holistic approach which emphasises that everyone has the capacity within them to control their own sense of being.  Gestalt therapists focus on the ‘here and now’ to safely facilitate a person’s awareness of their feelings, emotions, and sensations, while helping them to understand what it is that is contradicting those feelings and emotions.  So, it is a growth oriented and relational approach to assist people to become more self-aware and to lead more fulfilling lives.

It is about human experience and how the client is experiencing him/herself in the world in the present moment.  Gestalt therapy respects the uniqueness of each individual, rather than trying to make a person fit into a specified category.  We do not ‘diagnose’ or ‘prescribe’ treatment or therapy.  Gestalt therapy allows both therapist and patient to freely explore emerging feelings and emotions in a safe and secure setting, and it is this freedom of expression that allows the client to become more aware and grow as an individual in an authentic, healthy and open environment.

One of the many techniques used by Gestalt therapists involves creating a space for a client to conduct a dialogue with themselves that allows two distinct and polar opposite feelings to be aired, which allows the client to explore the conflict within.  We often do not know and cannot plan what will emerge in this dialogue, which is what makes the therapy so unique, valuable and truthful.

If there are not at times two frightened people in the therapy room, we will only find out what everyone already knows

– Wilfred Bion