What is Gestalt psychotherapy?
Fritz and Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman, founded Gestalt psychotherapy in the 1950s. In the eyes of Gestalt therapists, clients are not sick people, they just create specific adjustments to their own reality.
How does Gestalt work?
There are a few central principles:
· Awareness- Gestalt therapists help clients to be aware of their feelings and bodily sensations. Enhanced awareness helps in managing anxiety, anger, and even physical issues (migraines, back spasms,…).
· Here and now- Being in here and now helps to make better decisions and to live a fuller life.
· Wholeness and polarities- Our mind consists of many opposed identities. One of the goals of Gestalt therapy is understanding those identities. We can accept different parts of our personality and develop a strategy that satisfies our current needs the the best possible.
· Responsibility- Gestalt therapy highlights personal responsibility. This means that every person is responsible for their needs, their behaviors, and their wellbeing. Embracing responsibility helps us feel confident and makes communication easier.
· Aggression- Aggression has a significant role in Gestalt therapy. Handling aggression is essential for healthy boundaries, better self-esteem and a successful life.
How long does therapy last?
Depending on the client's needs, therapy can last a few months to a few years.
What is unique for gestalt therapy?
Gestalt aims to alleviate unresolved anger, pain, anxiety, resentment, and other negative feelings. However, we cannot just talk about these emotions. We have to express them in the present moment. If that doesn't happen, both psychological and physical symptoms can arise.
Perls believed that we are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should we expect others to live up to ours. Being responsible for yourself is empowering.