Gestalt therapy is a holistic, relational, psychodynamic approach, founded in the 1950s by a German psychoanalyst Fritz Perls (Gestalt ‘is a German word for ‘whole’ or ‘pattern’). It corporates ideas from psychoanalysis, gestalt psychology, existential philosophy, Reich’s body psychotherapy, Moreno’s psychodrama and even Buddhism.
It’s very similar to other kinds of psychotherapy, with an emphasis on your moment-to-moment experience. While we may talk a lot about your past and work to come to an understanding of it, the past is experienced now, and learning to be really present with your sensations, feelings, and thoughts, is so key to healing. Recent discoveries in neuroscience on the benefits of mindfulness align with the gestalt approach.
It was the first approach to psychotherapy which prioritised an authentic relationship between the therapist and client, as oppose to the therapist being a ‘blank screen’. Gestalt therapists see everything as a co-creation and always bear in mind the impact of the environment on you at any given time. To explore your patterns in life, we’re really interested in how you are currently relating to us, and if this supports you meeting your needs. We’ll often give feedback of our experience being with you, to support your own awareness. Gestalt therapy can be very lively and spontaneous with experiments encouraging your awareness and emotional expression, to help you discover, fully embody and strengthen different parts of you.
Fundamental to the Gestalt approach is a deep trust in what is currently expressing through each of us.