The 7 truths about Gestalt therapy
1. A way to greater personal freedom
Gestalt therapy is psychotherapy which uses creative and experiential techniques as well as cognitive analysis and dialogue to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction.
The word Gestalt stems from German meaning shape or form, and it refers to the character or essence of something - for instance a wish or a longing in need of discovery, expression and fulfillment.
2. Rooted in human relationship
The core of gestalt therapy is the holistic view that people are intricately linked to and influenced by their environments and that all people strive toward growth and balance. It attaches great importance to the therapist’s use of empathy, understanding, and unconditional acceptance of the client to enhance the therapeutic outcome.
Gestalt psychotherapy recognizes that no one can be purely objective and practitioners accept the validity and truth of their clients’ experiences.
3. Discovering what is really going on
Gestalt therapy places emphasis on gaining awareness of the present moment and the present context. Through therapy, people learn to discover feelings that may have been suppressed or masked by other feelings and to accept and trust their emotions. Needs and emotions that were previously suppressed or unacknowledged are likely to surface. Through this process, a person gains a new sense of self as overall awareness increases.
4. Belief in your ability to know your own way
Gestalt therapy also recognizes that forcing a person to change paradoxically results in further distress. Rather, change results from acceptance of what is. Thus, therapy sessions focus on helping people learn to become more self-aware and to accept and trust in their feelings and experiences to alleviate distress.
5. Learning about what you can use now
The focus on the here and now does not negate or reduce past events or future possibilities; in fact, the past is intricately linked to one’s present experience. The idea is to avoid dwelling on the past or anxiously anticipating the future. Experiences of the past may be addressed in therapy sessions, but the therapist and client will focus on exploring what factors made a particular memory come up in this moment, or how the present moment is impacted by experiences of the past.
6. Your solution, your way
Gestalt therapy sessions do not follow specific guidelines, in fact, therapists are encouraged to use creativity in their approaches, depending on context and each person's personality. What is consistent is the emphasis on direct contact between therapist and client, direct experience and experimentation, and the focus on the “what and how”—what the client is doing and how he or she is doing it—and the “here and now.”
7. Your growth
Gestalt therapists refrain from interpreting events, focusing only on the immediate, including the physical responses of the client. In this way, gestalt therapy helps people gain a better understanding of how their emotional and physical bodies are connected. Understanding the internal self is the key to understanding actions, reactions, and behaviors. Gestalt therapy supports people in gaining this awareness, to enable them to acknowledge and accept these patterns and to use this to further their growth.
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