Moving Towards a Happier and Healthier Life with Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is a popular form of psychotherapy that’s designed to promote mindfulness and help people focus on the present state of their mental and physical being through a variety of techniques. This is a therapeutic approach that highlights real humanistic experiences in the present moment. Rather than simply focusing on discussing past experiences and how they’ve impacted your life; we’ll work towards bringing those experiences to the forefront in the here and now. Ultimately, the goal is to bring awareness to unresolved emotions and past experiences by reliving them in the present moment and achieving a sense of self-actualization.

What Is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt Psychotherapy was first introduced in the 1940s by Fritz Perls, Paul Goodman, and Laura Perls as an alternative form of therapy to help people cope with their emotions, traumatic experiences, anxieties, and uncomfortable situations in general. The idea is to provide people with the tools needed to face uncomfortable situations head-on, whether it’s having a difficult confrontation with someone they know or coming to a sudden and unexpected realization about themselves.

“Gestalt” is a German word that roughly translates to “whole” in English. Humans are whole beings that have many unique moving parts that differentiate us from one another. Gestalt therapy is a form of personal growth therapy that helps us recognize exactly how those moving parts (experiences relating to the mind, body, and soul) contribute to the whole being in its present state.   

Who Can Benefit from Gestalt Therapy?

Anyone can benefit from Gestalt therapy. Humans are complex beings and we all have emotions, fears, and anxieties within us. From time to time, it’s important to tap into these visceral feelings to acknowledge and fully understand them so that they don’t take over our lives. Whether you’re on an individual path to improving your mental health, your relationship with yourself, or if you’re seeking Gestalt couple’s therapy to improve your external relationships, this can help you find greater meaning in your life.

Gestalt Therapy Methods and Techniques

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment method when it comes to therapy. Everyone must forge their own path to enlightenment and self-discovery. However, there are certain universal techniques that therapists may employ to aid in this process. The way these methods are implemented is determined on an individual basis. Popular methods include:

  • The empty chair technique: In this exercise, your therapist will place an empty chair in front of you and ask you to envision yourself talking to someone (a friend, relative, acquaintance, or version of yourself) and say exactly what you’re thinking in any given moment of your life. This is an opportunity to reflect on a life moment from the past, present, or future, and express exactly how it makes you feel at that exact moment, say whatever comes to mind.

  • Exaggeration technique: Here, you’re encouraged to exaggerate certain movements, facial expressions, and physical reactions to help you better understand the emotions associated with them.

Consult a Registered Gestalt Therapist

My name is Rick Defoe. I’m a registered Psychotherapist-Q in Ontario. My practice, Growth Counselling Services, operates under the belief that therapy should be a unique treatment that fosters healthy self-awareness by focusing on the needs of each individual person, and this perspective includes the Gestalt approach. To learn more or schedule your first session, please contact me today.