What Is Gestalt Therapy

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Terr
Words 963
Pages 4
What is Gestalt Therapy?


Gestalt therapy is a type of therapy used to deepen our awareness of ourselves and our feelings in a less intellectual manner than the more traditional forms of therapy. "Gestalt" means the whole; it implies wholeness. In any experience or interaction there are feelings in the foreground and in the background.
The idea in Gestalt therapy is that all of us have had to repress or supress aspects of ourselves because they were not accepted or supported. It is these aspects of ourselves or our feelings that end up in the background and can become unfinished business.
Gestalt therapy can help shed light on unfinished business by helping us to focus our awareness on our feelings (or lack of feelings) moment to moment. Once we recognize our unfinished business,( i.e. uncomfortable feelings, stuck patterns of behavior, or ways in which we perceive ourselves and others that are based on our experiences as opposed to reality), we are better equipped to understand ourselves and to choose whether we want to make changes or not.
One method utilized in Gestalt therapy is the empty-chair technique. This is a simple tool in self-exploration and is clearly explained in an excerpt taken from the Internet.
When you go see a Gestalt therapist, the office will usually have an extra chair--an empty chair. This chair serves an important function. The therapist may ask you to imagine holding a conversation with someone or something imagined to be in the empty chair. Thus, the "empty chair technique" stimulates your thinking, highlighting your emotions and attitudes. For example, the therapist may say, "Imagine your father in this chair (about 3 feet away), see him vividly, and, now, talk to him about how you felt when he was unfaithful to your mother".
There are innumerable…...

Similar Documents

Gestalt Theory

...independent individual. I solely depend on myself because I do not like to depend on others. I am a quiet and realistic, very rational, extremely matter of fact person. I strongly cultivate my individualism and enjoy applying my abilities to new tasks. But I am a very spontaneous and impulsive person. According to the text, Gestalt therapy helps the clients to become aware of their present behavior in preparation for learning or choosing new behaviors. Also, this type of therapy is based upon philosophical concepts that make a strong distinction between what one actually knows and what one perceives through subjective, misleading, senses. Gestalt therapy shows us the cause-and-effect of past and present occurrences in our lives. In the end, this type of therapy and its techniques provides the therapeutic treatment that is needed for a counselor to client relationship to be successful in terminating the client’s issues. And this type of therapy is aimed towards beginning counselors it would work great for me. First, in regards to my situations and other experiences in life, I would use the empty-chair or two-chair method, which would be used best in Gestalt therapy. These methods would help me come to grips with conflicts as I endured with a fatherless home at a very early age. Also, it would give me a chance to see and understand them and acknowledge my father’s conflicts at the same time. When I look back upon my actions as a young child I would understand that not......

Words: 1351 - Pages: 6


...unning head: GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY Gestalt Psychology Theory Abstract The formation of the gestalt movement. The founding fathers of gestalt theory, Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Kohler and their focus in the movement. Gestalt therapy explained by the laws and the theory of personality. How the gestalt theory is in effect today. Gestalt Psychology Theory The three pioneers of the Gestalt Theory, Max Werthmeimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka. All three focused on different aspects that have continued to develop across multiple disciplines throughout the 2oth Century. Gestalt theory focused on the mind’s perceptive processes (Kearsley, 1998). The word gestalt has no direct translation into English, but “describes a configuration or form that is unified. A gestalt may refer to a figure or object that is different from the sum of its parts. Any attempt to explain the figure by analyzing its parts results in the loss of the figure’s gestalt” (Brennan, 2003). In simpler terms” A way a thing has been ‘placed’, or ‘put together’”; common translation includes “form” and “shape” (Myers, 1998). Zakia, 1997, described gestalt by saying,”…what you experience when you look at a picture is quite different from what you would experience if you were to look at each item that is in the picture separately”. Wertheimer was born in Prague in 1880 (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2001). He studied at the Universities of Prague, Berlin and Wurzburg,......

Words: 4209 - Pages: 17

Therapudeic Therapy

...Therapudeic Therapy In our society there are several forms of behavioral and social development concerns. To help people cope with these psychological concerns there are a wide range of therapies, techniques and approaches, such as psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a systematic interaction between a therapist and someone who is suffering from mental or emotional issues, with the goal of providing support or relief to overcome their psychological disorder (Rathus, 2012). There are several therapeutic methods that can be used by therapists, but ultimately the situation and the client will dictate which one is appropriate. Psychoanalytic therapy, Humanistic therapy, Behavior therapy, Cognitive therapy, Group therapy, and Biological therapy are all effective therapeutic methods of helping clients cope with their psychological disorder. Psychoanalytic therapies is based upon the theories and work of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Using this method of therapy makes the assumption that psychological problems stem from early childhood experiences and internal conflicts. According to Sigmund Freud, these conflicts involve shifting of the three psychic structures, the id, ego, and superego (Rathus, 2012). Traditional psychoanalysis focuses on early childhood experiences and can spread for months to years. This is the method in which most people are familiar with. Usually it’s a one on one hour session with a therapist who wants and encourages to tell your story.......

Words: 739 - Pages: 3

Gestalt Therapy vs. Person-Centered Therapy

...Person centered and Gestalt Therapy The Gestalt approach to therapy emerged during the 1950’s and was developed by Frederick Perls (1893-1970). The aim of Gestalt therapy is to increase awareness, so that the client comes to resolution of unfinished business and the integration of the thinking, feeling and sensing processes. In Gestalt therapy the emphasis is placed on the present experience, the perception of the individual as a whole and the direct awareness of emotions and action. Gestalt therapists believe that the emotional problems and frustrations that are experienced by individuals are attributed to the lack of recognition and understanding of their own feelings. In addition to this Gestaltist believe that many individuals lose parts of themselves when they are confronted with the overpowering task of coping in society.  The role of therapist in Gestalt therapy is to encourage the client to acknowledge their emotions. This is by the therapist supporting the client to express their current feeling and experiences. The main focus for the client in Gestalt therapy is to stay in the ‘here and now.’ This is very important because it allows client to stay focused in the present when it comes to their feelings and experiences. Looking at past situations, experiences and future goals is not permitted in therapy because it can cause anxieties that bring forth excessive problems. This is why the ‘here and now’ is emphasized. Also within gestalt therapy the therapist helps the...

Words: 2156 - Pages: 9


...Gestalt psychology Reflection The Gestalt psychology movement was fascinating within the time frame in which it started to develop. While other psychological movements strived to boil down psychology in almost simplistic, scientific terms, Gestalt psychology embraced complexities within the consciousness. Gestalt psychologists argued “that when we look out a window we really see trees and sky, not individual sensory elements such as brightness and hue” (Schultz & Schultz, 2011). There is more to what we experience and see that just the simple elements that make these things and experiences up. Gestalt psychology owes much of its beginnings to the philosophical work of Immanuel Kant (Schultz & Schultz, 2011). Kant believed that experiences were created not from association, but through the perception of those experiences (Schultz & Schultz, 2011). There is a certain level of individuality in this statement, as individual perception is not something that can be simply classified in a way that was satisfactory to a more scientific model. For me, seeing the color green immediately leads me to reflect upon my grandmother and my great deal of pleasant experiences and memories. My perception of the color green, therefore, is wholly distinct from a simplistic explanation of the hue or tone of the color. Another interesting influence of Gestalt psychology was physics professor Ernst Mach. Mach used his physics background to explain that perceptions of objects......

Words: 278 - Pages: 2

Gestalt and Client Centered Therapy

...separately as reading, writing and mathematics disorders, respectively. Diagnostic Criteria The clinical description of Specific according to the DSM 5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, 66-74) is explained as: A. Difficulties learning and using academic skills, as indicated by the presence of at least one of the following symptoms that have persisted for at least 6 months, despite the provision of interventions that target those difficulties: 1. Inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading (e.g., reads single words aloud incorrectly or slowly and hesitantly, frequently guesses words, has difficulty sounding out words). 2. Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read (e.g., may read text accurately but not understand the sequence, relationships, inferences, or deeper meanings of what is read). 3. Difficulties with spelling (e.g., may add, omit, or substitute vowels or consonants). 4. Difficulties with written expression (e.g., makes multiple grammatical or punctua­tion errors within sentences; employs poor paragraph organization; written expression of ideas lacks clarity). 5. Difficulties mastering number sense, number facts, or calculation (e.g., has poor understanding of numbers, their magnitude, and relationships; counts on fingers to add single-digit numbers instead of recalling the math fact as peers do; gets lost in the midst of arithmetic computation and may switch procedures). 6. Difficulties with mathematical reasoning (e.g., has......

Words: 5077 - Pages: 21

Compare and Contrast Gestalt Therapy and Person Centred Therapy

...estalt Therapy Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy that relates to the process of human perception and works on a basic concept of the Gestalt approach «The whole is different from the sum of its parts.» This approach in Gestalt psychotherapy describes the process of perception in addition to the psychic equipment in general. The Gestalt approach originated from research that was initiated by psychologists specializing in human perception which demonstrated that humans do not recognize objects as separate elements and instead organize the objects into significant totalities via the process of perception. The concept of Gestalt psychotherapy was then formally developed by Fritz Perlsduring the 1950s, a well known psychiatrist and psychotherapist that initiated an entirely new approach to psychotherapy. The name «Gestalt» means «form» and is derived from Hans-Jurgen Walter's «Gestalt Theory Psychotherapy» which is based on Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology relates to the interconnection of the individual and the increase in awareness where the individual's senses and behaviors merge together. Gestalt therapywas created to help individuals with problem solving. Fritz Perls noticed that the concept of individualism was a positive one but there was also a reverse side to this theory. The people who were looking for the answer to their hopes and dreams looked to Gestalt therapy as the answer which eventually became a weak point in the methodology. He added that for a...

Words: 3809 - Pages: 16

Gestalt Psychology

... Gestalt Psychology Gestalt psychology is best describe as a school of thought which looks into the human mind and behavior as a whole. The main idea behind Gestalt psychology is that the human mind considers objects as a whole before, or in parallel with, a perception of their individual parts. Many Gestalt psychologists believed that all mental experience was not only dependent on just a specific combination of elements. They were also dependent patterns and organization of an individual experience of perceptions. Founded by three German psychologists in 1910 Wolfgang Kolhler, Kurt Koffka, and Max Wertheimer had many contributions to the discipline. It began with the brilliant work of Max Wertheimer in response to the Wilhelm Wundt structuralism Gestalt psychology became establish. This development of psychology help inspires many individuals such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, and Ernst Mach. Gestalt psychology had many contributions to the discipline, especially with Gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy specifically focuses on helping an individual raise their senses, feelings, and needs. Helping individuals expand their boundaries as well all while contributing to a person overall self-respect and well-being. Emphasizing on making strong connections, respectful meetings and establish great contact. Lewin's theory states that an individual is part of the community and should not be isolated. According to Gestalt......

Words: 464 - Pages: 2

Gestalt Therapy with Children and a Comparative Therapy

...Introduction Gestalt therapy, which was founded by Fritz and Laura Perls in the 1940s, teaches the therapists and their clients the phenomenological awareness method, where feeling, perceiving and acting are differentiated from interpreting and rearranging the pre-existing attitudes. Gestalt therapists and clients’ dialogue, thus communicating their phenomenological perspectives, and their differences in perceptions form the basis and focus of experimentation and continued dialogue. The desired outcome of the therapy process is for the client to become aware of their actions, how they are acting, and the ways they can change their actions and learn to accept and appreciate themselves. Here, the emphasis is mainly on the process rather than the content of the therapy, that is, what is happening rather than what is being discussed. Gestalt therapy was mainly considered for adults. However, Violet Oaklander (2007) says that it is also suitable to be applied to children since it involves the body and the senses, all of which fit the therapeutic works with the children. The purpose of this paper is to formulate a response in the manner a Gestalt therapist would work with children of ages between 4 and 12. Here, the general and Gestalt literature is explored, synthesized and evaluated on working with this particular population, their specific needs and particular ethical challenges that may emerge while working with them. A comparison is offered on how different modalities with......

Words: 3930 - Pages: 16

Gestalt Psychology

...Influences of Gestalt psychology were Immanuel Kant’s study on the focuses of perception as a whole, Ernst Mach’s influence of sensation thinking, and Christin von Ehrenfel’s further exploration and experimentation on Mach’s sensations theory. Max Wertheimer studied Ehrenfel’s work and used it as the bass for his movement of the Gestalt theory. In addition, the two other founders of Gestalt psychology, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler, studied elements of consciousness and artificial abstractions that furthered Gestalt research and movement. “After Wertheimer initiated the studies on the perception of apparent movement, Gestalt psychologists seized on other perceptual phenomena. The experience of perceptual constancies afforded additional support for their views” (Schultz, 2011, p. 271). The idea of perceptual constancy is having completeness and or wholeness not very even if information is missing. Gestalt psychology is theory of the mind being so complex and dynamic that sensory elements such as vision and sound interact in order to fill in missing information that is perceived by an individual who is perceiving the information given. The founders of Gestalt psychology explain perceptual and a few defining principles. The first law is similarity, meaning items are perceived as being together such as forming a group. For example, if an individual were to see a group of squares and circles the law similarity would allow the individual to group the squares and circles......

Words: 508 - Pages: 3

Gestalt Therapy in Practice

...Gestalt therapy, although looked upon rather suspiciously by many people, grows ever more popular and widespread over time, and begins to be well-known to people who are generally very far from the problems of psychology. Here is the exemplary account of one of cases when it helped a person to develop her inner potentials and make a decision that changed her life. A woman in question, for the purposes of convenience let’s call her Jenny, moved to the new place of residence in another town and only managed to get a job of boiler-house employee, because there were not much job opportunities for outsiders. After a while, she entered a course of Gestalt therapy, which was formed along the following pattern. All the participants of this group therapy in turn communicated with the psychologist who directed the course, and we told to form images of two living beings: the one that they liked and the one they disliked. Jenny liked “the fox” (for being cunning, brave and active) and disliked “the hen” (for being passive, silly and inert). The idea of the therapy is that the liked image is what the person wants to become, while the disliked one – what she is. Over the course of communication with the psychologist, the patient and the whole group come to a decision how close the patient is to his or her desired image. In two subsequent sessions the patient imagines herself to be what she likes and what she dislikes in turn; in the course of this study, the patient together with the...

Words: 400 - Pages: 2

The Gestalt Theory

...There are many types of therapy that have been included and excluded throughout history. Starting from Freud and his gateway into the subconscious mind and psychoanalysis, there have been many people and innovations in the psychiatric world that have spurred from him. One of those innovations was the Gestalt Theory by Fredrick S. Perls. The background behind Perls and his theory, an analysis of what his theory was and what it did, and how it is still used today, is what is focused on in this paper. Fredrick S. Perls created the Gestalt Theory in the 1940’s and continued to have an influence on culture through the 1950’s. His main interests in existenalism and Eastern religions, and Gestalt psychology contradicted what his Freudian training had taught him, but in the end led him to his well-known Gestalt Theory. “Perls saw the human being as a unified organism, an integration of mental, physical, emotional. And sensory processes expressed in the present moment” (Irving B. & Craighead, 2010). A lot of Perls work had been influenced by Kurt Goldstein, a neurologist, Moreno’s social experimentation, field therapy by Kurt Lewin, and ideas derived from Zen (Gaie, 2003). His theory focused on the less shy and submissive idea of feelings and brought up the value of the client/patient dynamic and the effectiveness of facing the problem head on. Even though all the people and therapy’s listed above had an influence on Perls, he was able to mesh all of what he had learned together...

Words: 1162 - Pages: 5

Gestalt Paper

...Gestalt Psychology Reflection Paper PSY/310 Desirèe Ray 2/1/16 Melody Thompson The word Gestalt means a unified whole. Based on that understanding, Gestalt psychology looks at things as a whole versus in pieces or parts. The thoughts of Gestalt psychology is that we are processing the world around us, we don’t just focus on the small, seemingly insignificant things. Instead our mind perceive our surroundings as parts of a greater whole. The Gestalt psychology school played a major role in the study of human perception and sensation. The guiding idea behind Gestalt psychology is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt psychology was found by 3 principle psychologists. Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Kohler. Max Wertheimer initially studied law, but took an interest in perception after noticing flashing train lights at a train station gave the illusion of motion. From there he went on to change his focus from law to psychology. While at the University of Frankfurt's Psychological Institute, he began to work with two assistants named Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka. The three colleagues and would go on to form the school of thought known as Gestalt psychology. Thanks to his work during his time at the New School for Social Research in New York City, it became one of the leading schools of psychology during the early part of the twentieth century. Psychologist Solomon Asch wrote of Max Wertheimer the “thinking of Max Wertheimer has......

Words: 746 - Pages: 3


...Thaliya Dublin Counseling and Theories MS D, Zack Introduction Gestalt Therapy was developed in the 1940's and 1950's by Frederick Peer’s a to the United States. Gestalt is German word that refers to completeness and the concept that a whole unit is more than the sum of its parts like person-centered therapy, Gestalt therapy tries to make the individual take responsibility for their own lives and personal growth and to recognize their ability for healing themselves. However, Gestalt therapy is being willing to use confrontational questions and techniques that help the individual to express their true feelings. The basic assumption for this model is that the body and its total developments are in some way bigger than the mind. The Gestalt therapy perceives the mind to be a way of blocking the total drive of the individual in some way. According to Perl's for most individuals the mind and the creations of the mind work against the body. They work against the best interests of the total individual. Therefore the mind is not the center of the individual on the contrary it is the center of the dishonesty that the individual has about himself. As a result, in order to come of age, to become somewhat dishonest about him/her the individual then becomes cast out of his/her own of defense he/she is cut off from reality, and the individual doesn’t see the real world as it is because he/she perceives it as a risk in a distorted way. Furthermore it may have in fact all started at......

Words: 880 - Pages: 4

My Beliefs, Values and Clinical Gestalt

...My Beliefs, Values, and Clinical Gestalt with Individual’s and Systems Jerra K. Roberts University of Phoenix CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY: I certify that the attached paper, which was produced for the class identified above, is my original work and has not previously been submitted by me or by anyone else for any class.  I further declare that I have cited all sources from which I used language, ideas and information, whether quoted verbatim or paraphrased, and that any and all assistance of any kind, which I received while producing this paper, has been acknowledged in the References section.  This paper includes no trademarked material, logos, or images from the Internet, which I do not have written permission to include.  I further agree that my name typed on the line below is intended to have, and shall have the same validity as my handwritten signature.   Student's signature (name typed here is equivalent to a signature):  ___Jerra K. Roberts ________________________ ___ My Beliefs, Values and Clinical Gestalt with Individual’s and Systems’ Clinicians working in the Human Service field have extremely challenging jobs. They must learn to balance their own beliefs with the client’s beliefs. This involves taking the clinicians’ personal values and experiences and putting them aside to determine what is the best treatment approach for the client. Recognizing my own identity will help me see how I fit in the community and with the clients who I interact......

Words: 1317 - Pages: 6

Pushbullet PRO v17.7.1 patched apk | All Popular | The.Walking.Dead.S08.E12.WEBHDRip.GERMAN.AC3D.5.1.x264-PRETAiL