What is Gestalt Therapy?


Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy focused upon the individual’s experience in the present moment, healing through the therapist-client relationship, environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation. Gestalt therapy also emphasizes personal responsibility in a gentle and nurturing way.

“Gestalt” is a German word, which roughly translated, means the whole; it implies wholeness, or as a verb, to make whole or complete. Gestalt therapy can help clients to bring to completion areas of their life that feel unfinished. Gestalt therapy can help you attend to “unfinished business”.

Modern day Gestalt therapy is both holistic and relational in its approach. What does this mean? It is a form of therapy that focuses on all parts of you, body, mind, emotions and spirit.

A key focus of Gestalt therapy is self awareness and self growth. This form of therapy supports clients to begin to live with present centred awareness which helps them to embody and begin to live in the here and now.

The relational aspect of Gestalt Therapy is of primary importance as the therapist holds the perspective that we are always in relationship with others and our environment and works with the client with this context in mind.

Gestalt therapy is a collaborative form of therapy. Healing often occurs for clients by experiencing what it’s like to be in a therapeutic relationship with someone who is genuinely committed to understanding them at every level.
Gestalt therapy through the use of dialogue can be described as having “an attitude of genuinely feeling/sensing/experiencing the other person as a person (not an object or part object) and a willingness to deeply “hear” the other person’s experience without
prejudgement. Furthermore, it is the willingness to “hear” what is not being spoken, and to “see” what is not visible (Hycner and Jacobs 1995)

Change in Gestalt therapy occurs by being with the client exactly where they are and being with them as they are rather than trying to get the client to be something they are not or be somewhere they are not ready to be. Gestalt therapy is not about forcing change. In this way the client experiences what it’s like to be with another human being, who is accepting of them exactly as they are and not requiring them to change. From this place then change occurs organically.