Many people have psychological problems for which they need psychotherapeutic help. A Gestalt therapy is suitable for clients who want to focus primarily on the present and are willing to take on personal responsibility.
Gestalt therapy sees itself as a form of therapy that goes beyond soul, body and spirit and also includes socio-cultural and ecological contexts in the therapy.
Gestalt therapy is one of the holistic, integrative and experience-oriented procedures of humanistic psychotherapy. It was founded by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman and has largely developed from psychoanalysis.
Perls took the view that everyone is responsible for their actions and is also able to use their potential. Gestalt therapy mainly deals with emotions and experiences in the present, even if they may be related to the past. The central concern for gestalt therapeutic work is "I and you in the here and now". The therapeutic work is intended to promote psychosocial abilities that serve to live a self-determined life with personal values and to be related to one's environment.
Gestalt therapy has a wide range of applications and is suitable for all ages. It can be carried out as individual, group, couple or family therapy and helps with various problems:
It sees itself as a form of therapy that goes beyond soul, body and spirit and also includes socio-cultural and ecological contexts in the therapy. She would like to achieve a more humane relationship between people and encourage more environmental awareness. That is why it is not just a psychotherapy method, but also a philosophy of life and worldview. Fritz Perls saw mental disorders as the result of contact disorders between people.
All people need social contact and closeness to other people, but some people develop defense mechanisms out of fear of rejection and cannot indulge their feelings. In gestalt therapy, the goal in such a case would be to be able to allow living emotions back in and to enliven them in the therapy in the here and now. The past is also important and formative, but unlike psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy does not see its task in rummaging around in the past, because coming to terms with the past does not necessarily help with problems in the present. It works with 3 principles:
In order to be able to experience, people and the environment must be consciously perceived. People with neurotic problems are afraid of engaging in arguments and contacts because they fear rejection. Their defense mechanisms prevent them from feeling, experiencing and perceiving. In order to become internally freer, it is necessary that they let go of the symptoms and problems with which they force others to act and instead take responsibility for themselves.
In the classic course of a gestalt therapy group session, the group members move through the room in which there is an empty chair ("hot chair"). If you want to work on a topic, sit on this "hot seat". The therapist gives subtle suggestions, the group gives support and feedback, while the person in the "hot seat" allows all emotions and does not suppress anything. In this group experience the whole range of feelings can be experienced, from appreciation and security to being at the mercy and being criticized.
Dreams and fantasies also play a role in Gestalt therapy. They are used with creative methods. Individual therapy can last from 20 to 200 hours, group therapies are offered in open or closed form.
Gestalt therapy can be an effective form of therapy for various problems, but so far there is no scientific research that can provide evidence that gestalt therapy measures have a positive effect and that they guarantee lasting success.
Because dramatic techniques are used, it is less suitable for people who tend to have a hysterical personality structure, because working with the "hot chair" can encourage people to just act out their feelings. This can lead to emotional overwhelming reactions. Experienced therapists are needed who deal responsibly with the group experiences and help the clients to then appropriately place these experiences in their mental life. Sometimes there are insufficiently trained therapists who practice a very confrontational style and thereby frustrate clients even more.
The alternative scene also makes use of techniques with which feelings are provoked and a voice is given to the various parts of emotional conflicts in a "voice dialogue". These should then come into conversation with each other. For people with social fears, the group experience in the hot seat can be counterproductive, because in the group, where they are under constant observation, they certainly do not dare to let their feelings run free.
That way they can shut themselves off even more. Responsible therapy must always keep an eye on the individual shame boundaries of the group members and should not want to override personal boundaries. Everyone has emotional protective mechanisms that are justified. It is therefore very important that Gestalt therapists have completed a serious training and proceed accordingly cautiously and carefully so that they do not strengthen the client's defense mechanisms.