Gestalt

Gestalt

Gestalt therapy was developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman during the 1940s and 1950s, it was first fully outlined in the 1951 book Gestalt Therapy.
There are a number of elements and interventions used in the therapy outlined below are three key concepts –

Phenomenological method

Fritz Perls

Fritz Perls

One of the goals of Gestalt therapy phenomenological exploration is awareness. The therapist may share observations to the client such as “I notice than when you talk about your husband you kick your leg.” This use of observation may help the client link Phenomenological experiencing to ontological reactions. Or how we experience a situation or person in the ways we physically express it. Client reactions “Yes, when I think of what he did I want to kick his backside!” In this example the client has completed a cycle of awareness by connecting he leg kicking to her husband’s behaviour.

Dialogical relationship
Is the quality of the client -therapist relationship, with an emphasis on both parties being present and being able to create and sustain and relationship based on meaningful communication – hence the term ‘Dialogue’. It also relies on the therapist being present enough to work with a client who may be trying to ‘escape ‘from here and now ‘by retreating in to the past or escaping to the future. As Pearls once remarked ‘sharing equal and present time’.

Field-theoretical strategies
“The field” can be considered in two ways. The first is what know at ‘ontological’ a term used in philosophy to describe the ‘the nature of human existence or being the second is phenomenological meaning how individuals uniquely see experience their world view.
Gestalt theory combines the (‘ontological’) how we physically experience the world through sensory inputs such as sight, sounds, touch and how we link those senses to our reality of the world know as the phenomenological field.
For example, how we experienced the ride on a roller-coaster, both from a physical point of view and the mental picture we constructed from the experience

Experimental freedom
This is a distinct movement from a client talking about change to implementing it. The entire therapeutic relationship could be described as ‘experimental’, as clients ‘try out new’ or experiment with new ways of being.