Gestalt therapy

Gestalt therapy is highly efficient existential experimental psychotherapy. The process is based upon the relationship between the therapist and the patient and the experience in the current moment or as it is called in Gestalt theory - «Here And Now». Gestalt therapist has a little different role than traditional psychotherapist. Being only an assistant in the course of the treatment and having deep understanding of Gestalt perception, Gestalt therapist manages to obtain necessary result with full involvement of the patient looking for improvement. The mutual work of both parties forms the behavior which eliminates the problem. At first it happens within the frame of the group session, and then the same behavior is transferred to the usual environment of the individual. The main accent is not on words, but on direct experience of the person.

Gestalt concept

Gestalt therapy is based upon a number of perceptions and developed thanks to the works in psychoanalysis (William Reich), followers of field theory (Lewin, for instance), existentialism and experimental approach of Gestalt specialists. Different principles merged together or at least produced certain influence upon the Gestalt theory and shaped it the way we have it now. Conception of the whole, holism made the person self-regulating and independent entity and the Gestalt therapist regards the client as a functional whole striving towards maturity. The whole is more important than its separate parts taken together. Awareness conception came from the works of Reich and field theory influenced the Gestalt theory greatly too demonstrating that every individual should be taken in context of his environment.

Gestalt approach

Different approach to previous experience of the client determined the methods which Gestalt therapy employs. The past of the patient is of no particular importance and Gestalt therapy does not concentrate on it, but uses it to solve the problem. As the past influences the decisions of the individual here and now, Gestalt therapist shows it to the person through the dialogue and experimental methods thus expanding the awareness of the person. The patient learns self-regulation and methods to tackle the load of the past, which is in the way of adequate perception of present events. One should accept oneself completely. The relief comes with full awareness. It will help to be free from the burden, which keeps the person captivated and directs the individuality. The development starts after the individual acknowledges pain of the past and only when the person becomes free from fear and nervousness. Patient is completely responsible for what he does and the alternative he or she chooses.

Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy

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Frederick or Friedrich Salomon Perls (July 8 1893, Berlin - March 14 1970, Chicago) entered the history as Fritz Perls, a famous psychiatrist and psychotherapist, the founder of Gestalt therapy, co-founded the Gestalt school of psychotherapy.

Fritz Perls developed absolutely new approach in psychotherapy. According to this theory, one of the primary objectives of Gestalt therapy is the ability to restore the self-awareness which is lost when a psychological disorder becomes evident. This is accomplished by restoring the individual's ability to differentiate, which helps the individual to identify what is and what is not a true part of the self, what provides the individual with a sense of self-realization and achievement and what leads to frustration.

Thanks to him the term of Gestalt therapy came into view. It is based on Gestalt psychology and Hans-Jurgen Walter's Gestalt Theory Psychotherapy. His wife Laura Perls also contributed to the development of the Gestalt psychotherapy.