Gestalt Therapy has developed into a form of therapy that emphasizes medium to large groups, although many Gestalt techniques can be used in one-on-one therapy. Gestalt Therapy probably has a great range of format than any other therapy techniques. It is practiced in individual, couples, and family therapies, as well as in therapy with children.
Ideally, the patient identifies the current sensation and emotions, particularly ones that are painful or disruptive. Patients are confronted with their unconscious feelings and needs and are assisted to accept and assert those repressed parts of themselves.
Gestalt comes from the German meaning “an organized whole”. Frederick Perls was the first person to formulate application of Gestalt psychology in the area of psychotherapy. Gestalt Therapy rose from its beginning in the middle of the twentieth century to rapid and wide spread popularity during the decades of the 1960s and early 1970s. During the 70s and 80s Gestalt Therapy training centers spread globally, but they were, for the most part, not aligned with formal academic settings. Later Gestalt Therapy became an applied discipline in the field of psychotherapy, organizational development, social action and eventually coaching.
Gestalt Therapy was co-founded by Frederick Perls, Launa Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940s.It is an existential and experimental psychotherapy that focuses on the individuals experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social context in which these take place, and the self-regulating adjustment people make us a result of the overall situation. It emphasizes personal responsibility.
Gestalt Therapy focuses more on process (what is happening) than content (what is being discussed). The emphasis is on what is being done, though and felt at the moment rather than on what was, might be, could be or should be.
Gestalt Therapy is a method of awareness by which perceiving, feeling and acting are understood to be separate from interpreting, explaining and judging using old attitudes. Distinction between direct experience and indirect or secondary interpretation is developed in the process of therapy. The client learns to become aware of what they are doing psychologically and how they can change it. By becoming aware of transforming their process they develop self acceptance and the ability to experience more in the “now” without so much interference from baggage of the past.
The objective of Gestalt Therapy, in addition to helping the client to overcome symptoms, is to enable him or her to become more fully and creatively alive and to be free from the blocks and unfinished issues that may diminish optimum satisfaction, fulfillment and growth. Thus, it falls in the category of humanistic psychotherapies.
Edwin Nevis describes Gestalt Therapy as “a conceptual and methodological base from which helping professionals can craft their practice”. Joel Latner asserted that Gestalt Therapy is built around two central ideas: that the most helpful focus of psychology is the experiential present moment and that everyone is caught in webs of relationships; thus it is only possible to know ourselves against the background of our relation to other things. The historical development of Gestalt Therapy shows the influences that have resulted in these two foci. Expanded, they resulted in the four chief theoretical constructs that comprise Gestalt Theory and guide the practice and application of Gestalt Therapy.
AIMS OF GESTALT THERAPY
Gestalt Therapy focuses on the present. Living in the present is the more central than dwelling in the past or imagining a future discovered from present. Described by its founder Frederick .S. Perls, as the therapy of the obvious, it starts from what is in front of us , the surface and examines a persons experience, staying with what is present and aware in the here and now , looking for the totality of the awareness, and including what is being left out.
Gestalt Therapy approaches the person who has come to therapy. Whether, it is an individual, a couple, family or an institution in a deeply respectful manner. This greatly influences the therapist’s attitude towards change and resistance to change.
C)Emphasis on Experience:-
A person’s experience is more than just ideas and memories, though they are certainly important. Experience also includes emotions, perceptions, behavior and body sensation. Therapy aims to support all of these experiences in the vivid present.
D)Creative Experiment and Discovery:-
Therapy’s experimental methodology requires that therapists constantly test their hunches against the client’s experience and modify them accordingly. The therapist is both highly creative and flexible, while concentrating on the client’s process.
Gestalt Therapy acknowledges responsibility for oneself and for others and its principles extend into the border social realm. In asking for respect for all people and for the difference among them, it reflects a humanistic, egalitarian approach to social life encourage people to live out these principles in the community at large.
Being involved with others is central to human experience, and so it is it in Gestalt Therapy. One becomes fully alive when one is congruent with oneself and fully aware with oneself and involved with others, vigorously and directly, with intimacy and love. These also characterize the therapeutic relationship in Gestalt Therapy.
DEMERITS OF GESTALT THERAPY
Lacking a distinct clearly defined and fully elaborates theory of human development.
Lack of advanced research in the field.
It is a philosophical underpinnings.
In compatible with are empirical research.
It is powerful mean for facilitate and nurturing the functioning of human feelings.
At the end of the therapy the client is not necessarily ‘cured’ but able to access tools and equipments to deal with problems encountered.
Gestalt Therapy is a humanistic therapy technique that focuses on gaining an awareness of emotions and behaviors in the present rather than in the past.
1.Guidance and Counseling
2.Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the human personality
-Frederick Perls, Paul Goodman.
3.Gestalt Therapy Verbatim
-Frederick. S. Perls.
4.Ego, Hunger and Aggression
-Frederick. S. Perls.
PREPARED BY – PRIYA. P. P