Gestalt therapy was founded in the 1940s and has become a major therapeutic approach world-wide. Gestalt therapists use experiential techniques to help clients become more aware of their needs, so they can take responsibility for satisfying those needs in a transparent way. Some of these techniques include attending to our senses in the Here and Now, guided fantasy, role-playing (empty-chair), body language awareness, and numerous other methods. The Gestalt process works through our layers of persona, allowing us to make contact with our aliveness, our inner-knowing, and our truest essence.
The idea in Gestalt is that over the course of our lives we’ve had to suppress aspects of ourselves, because those aspects were not accepted by others. These aspects remain hidden, and we are never granted a full view of who we really are. Gestalt therapy can help shed light on the parts of ourselves we’ve hidden, allowing us to understand a fuller version of self and, as a result, to choose whether we want to make changes or not.
Basically, any change we want to make is guided by what we know. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of Gestalt therapy is awareness. Awareness occurs when habits, such as paying attention, are developed. This involves paying attention to one’s environment and to one’s self in the present moment. The Gestalt therapeutic approach follows the belief that each unique person has an inner urge toward survival, growth, and wholeness. And it supports the idea that each person has an inner wisdom that may be heard through the voice of personal truth.
Gestalt means “the whole,” and it implies wholeness. In any experience or interaction, there are feelings in both the foreground and background which sometimes will conflict. For this reason, Gestalt therapy focuses a great deal on polarities. This concept suggests that each of our personality traits has an opposite. For instance, some moments we are kind and other moments we are not. When we are able to recognize all parts of who we are, we are able to find acceptance and appreciation for the whole.
In addition, Gestalt therapy holds the view that people are endlessly remaking or discovering themselves. Thus, individuals are in constant transformation. Who we were yesterday can be completely different from who we are today. Striving for an identity is something we all do. We desperately need to feel that we are somebody. And the confusion of not knowing who we are and not having a solid sense of self can lead to depression. Gestalt works with the idea that there is no solid self at any time. This realization leads to a deeper form of personal awareness and acceptance.
Gestalt therapy is used to deepen our awareness of ourselves and our feelings in a less intellectual manner than some of the more traditional forms of therapy. Through Gestalt therapy, many of my clients have gained the personal insight they needed in order to discover the peace and freedom they desired. Contact me today to schedule an appointment in my Longmont or Boulder, CO, office.