Gestalt Therapy is a holistic approach to working with psychological, emotional and relational difficulties. The process can be applied to anything from working with people with mental illnesses to helping those seeking a more meaningful way of living.
This therapy focuses on you, and the way you live, now and can help you identify your capacity to live in more self-sustaining and satisfying ways. Gestalt Therapy theory describes the relationship that we all have with our complex, ever changing interpersonal environment. So, rather than exploring how you are in isolation, we work with the particular ways that you relate to, are affected by, and affect the world around you.
In trying to get a fuller picture of ourselves, and how we got to be the way we are, we often review our lives in terms of our personal history. Understanding our developmental trajectory, the narrative of our life viewed over time, can highlight patterns and help us gain insight.
Gestalt Therapy also has a perspective on the way we develop, in that how we have learned to be is evident in the ways we behave and relate in the present. This perspective highlights the same patterns and dynamics but with a relevance and immediacy that allows opportunities for those dynamics to change within the sessions themselves.
We all live within a web of relationships: with our families; with our bodies; with our thoughts and emotions; with different aspects of ourselves; with our social and work environments; and with your therapist if you have one, etc. Attending to your experience of any of these relationships allows for those dynamics to be explored with support from your therapist.
Your therapist will balance your need for a safe and supportive environment with your need for the right kind of possibilities for you to learn and develop. You can just turn up, bring your difficulties, frustrations, concerns and longings, and see what happens. The process can support you to develop an original, creative and sensitive connection to the world you live in, as well as responding more directly and robustly to your difficulties.
Although we often start with what you think, this therapy is also about what you do, how you feel and what you imagine and create. Our focus is on the present, looking at what happens without interpreting, supporting you to become aware and active rather than relying on insight or understanding. Where it is clear the past has had an impact on your present experience, we attend to the current situation rather than focusing on your history.
This experiential learning; attending to and reflecting on, what is happening here and now, is a key aspect of this therapy. In this way we learn to be guided by our awareness, rather than by our habits or assumptions. Although we start by attending to what is obvious and immediate, this kind of exploration often leads to surprising and profound realisations.