Friday, August 12, 2011

What is Gestalt therapy?

A 'gestalt' is a form, a shape, a pattern that is more than the sum of its parts.
Human beings continually organise what they experience into gestalts.
In this way we make meaning.
The aim of Gestalt therapy is to explore the gestalts we make.

This is an exploration of how you are in the world in the here and now.
Rather than speculation about why.

In this exploration there is the invitation to accept that you are how you are.
...and build from there.

The best support for change is to first stand on the solid ground of how you are now.

Character is a fixed gestalt. (Perls, 1992, p.9) It is when we have a fixed way of organising the world and an inflexible way of being. The goal of Gestalt therapy is to loosen this fixedness so that we can choose a more useful way to respond to the challenges of the present moment.

When we don't recognise the gestalt there appears to be no meaning. Life makes no sense, is absurd.

Gestalt therapy sees human health as a natural forming of gestalts, one after another, each related to the most important need in the moment.

A possible goal of Gestalt therapy is the restoration of this natural process.
In which needs arise and we organise our experience into gestalts in order to meet them.

Needs might be for water, for sex, for comforting, for beauty, for fun, for challenge, etc.
Gestalt therapy assumes that in health humans evolve these needs in a way that is compatible with living in community with others.

When we are stuck, feel ourselves to be at an impasse, some people seek therapy.
Gestalt therapy invites clients to explore the impasse in the here and now so that alternatives become available and change becomes possible.

'The task of therapy is to develop sufficient support for the reorganisation and rechannelling of energy.' (Perls, 1992, p.149)

The Gestalt therapist offers care and interest in how the client forms gestalts and responds to the world in the present moment. He or she has no agenda. (e.g. that the client be different.)
The Gestalt therapist offers observation and invitations to experiment with other ways of responding to the here and now.
Attempts to meet the client where they're at, offering a fully human relationship in which the client is valued for who they are.

Quotes from
Perls, L. (1992) Living at the Boundary, Gouldsboro: The Gestalt Journal Press

Rubin vase: What gestalt do you make? What meaning? Is it a vase or 2 faces?

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