Gestalt therapy is a form of humanistic and existential psychology initially created in the 1940s. This form of therapy can support individuals experiencing symptoms from depression, anxiety, relationship issues (friends, family, and romantic), attention problems, chronic pain, and many others.
A central aspect of this therapy technique is the belief that people are constantly striving to achieve some form of balance, or homeostasis, through their behaviors. These actions can include seeking rewards or diminishing suffering. Many of us are not even aware of what our bodies and minds are focused on and discover ourselves trapped in a pattern of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that cause pain and difficulty. When someone becomes used to functioning in a particular manner, and has found that way to be useful at one point in the past, even unconsciously, this pattern can feel difficult, sometimes impossible, to break. Gestalt therapy aims to increase clients’ awareness, allowing them to see their patterns, the origins of these patterns, and choose their reactions to experiences in an authentic manner. The more authentic an individual is, the more they feel balanced and able to navigate life’s challenges.
For Gestalt therapy to be effective, the client should feel comfortable with their psychotherapist and, over time, trusting of the therapeutic relationship. This way, the client can explore their immediate reactions and experiences in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.
When utilizing this therapy, context is highly important. Each experience and belief is shaped by the world in which a person exists in a complex and interactive manner. Gestalt therapists recognize that no individual can be utterly objective, particularly when looking into the life of another. Thus, we accept the clients as experts on their own lives and offer our psychological expertise to augment clients’ existing tools and strategies.