Gestalt therapy is based on humanistic ideas. The founder of this therapeutic method is Fritz Perls, believed that people’s problems often creep-ed from hiding important parts of their feelings from themselves. If a part of a person’s personality, for example, is in conflict with what society says prescribe as acceptable, the person might hide that aspect behind a false “mask” of socially acceptable behavior. (Perls, 1951, 1969).
What to expect?
Gestalt therapy does not look forward to a “goal-oriented” methodology per se. The six methodological components are considered vital or integral to Gestalt therapy are: (i) the continuum of experience, (ii) the here and now, (iii) the paradoxical theory of change, (iv) the experiment, (v) the authentic encounter, and (vi) process-oriented diagnosis. In-spite of not being focused on predetermined goals for their clients, Gestalt therapists clearly attend to a basic goal—namely, assisting the client to attain greater awareness, and along with it, a greater choice. Enriched and increased awareness, by itself, is seen as curative.
How it works?
The Gestalt approach helps clients to take note of their own awareness and process responsibly, selectively and discriminatingly make choices. Awareness usually emerges out from the context of a genuine meeting between client and therapist, or from the context of I/Thou relating (Jacobs, 1989; Yontef, 1993). The existential p respective is that we are continually engaged in a process of remaking and discovering ourselves. We do not posses a static identity, but discover new facets of our being as we face new challenges. Gestalt therapy is fundamentally an essential encounter out of which clients tend to move in certain directions. By employing a creative involvement in the process of Gestalt therapy, Zinker (1978) expects clients will do the following:
- Move toward increased awareness of themselves
- Gradually and slowly assume ownership of their experience (as opposed to making others responsible for what they are thinking, feeling, and doing)
- Develop skills and acquire values that will allow the clients to satisfy their needs without violating the rights of others
- Become increasingly aware of all of their senses
- Learn to accept their responsibility for what they do, including accepting the consequences of their actions
- Be able to ask for and get help from others and be able to render others help when required.
When it is used?
Gestalt therapy focuses on the denied past. Gestalt therapists do not talk about the unconscious mind and instead focus on conscious. According to them, though everything is conscious, yet it is possible for some people to simply refuse to “own up” to having certain feelings or to deal with past issues. By observing the body language, feelings both stated and unstated, and the events in the life of the client, the therapist gets a gestalt—a whole picture—of the client. Thus it can be used in treatment of most of the psychological disorders.
Role of Gestalt therapist:
Gestalt therapists are quite directive, often confronting clients about the statements they have made. This means that a Gestalt therapist does much more than simply reflect back clients’ statements; instead, a Gestalt therapist actually leads clients through a number of planned experiences, with the goal of helping clients to become more aware of their own feelings and take up responsibility for their own choices in life, both now and in the past. These experiences might include a dialogue that clients have with their own conflicting feelings in which clients actually argue both sides of those feelings.