Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman in the 1940s, ‘Gestalt’ is the German word for ‘form’, ‘shape’ or ‘figure’. However, in English usage the word has come to mean ‘as a whole’ or ‘holistic’.
Gestalt therapy is used to deepen our awareness of ourselves and our feelings. The main principle in Gestalt therapy is that within all of us we have aspects of ourselves which we have repressed or surpress because in the past they were either rejected or not supported. It is precisely these aspects of ourselves that remain hidden in the background but can be the drivers to compulsive responses and behaviour. Once we shed light on these aspects or hidden feelings we are then better equipped to then decide upon action or inaction where choices are concerned.
The most used technique is classed the Empty chair technique which is used if a client experiences deep rooted emotional problems from someone or something in their lives.
The client is asked client sits opposite an empty chair and then mentally places into that chair someone significant, who has caused them pain or trouble. The client then tells the ‘person’ in the empty chair what they have been unable to express before. On occasions the client is then invited to sit in the empty chair and to answer the accusations placed on that person.
Techniques from Gestalt may be used alongside other approaches as part of your treatment programme.
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