Gestalt therapy is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps the client focus on the present and what is really happening in their lives right now instead of what they perceive to be happening based on experience. Clients may be asked to re-enact past experiences rather than simply talk about them and through this, may become more aware of how their negative thought patterns are blocking their way to true happiness. Psychology Today notes that gestalt therapy has been proven effective for depression, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and even small physical ailments such as headaches and back spasms.
Gestalt therapy aims to bring people into awareness; the belief is that once a person is made aware of their problem, they can learn to deal with it effectively. California State University states that therapists often ask “what” and “how” instead of “why” because they want to promote present awareness. Becoming aware means making connections with emotional and physical needs – activities often help us recognize our true feelings regarding a situation or may help us understand others.
A 2016 study explored gestalt therapy’s effectiveness on a client with substance use and bipolar disorder. This person was a part of an in-patient program and was facing an open criminal charge, was regarded as having antisocial personality disorder and he stated that he also had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After 18 sessions of gestalt therapy, the researcher found that the patient could more closely connect with himself and his environment. This ultimately contributed to his success in rehabilitation, reintegration with society and decreased his relapses, both with drugs and criminal activities.
Gestalt therapy helps people become more connected to themselves and their feelings, and gestalt practitioners heighten and illuminate each person’s experience of life, self and others. A variety of techniques are used in gestalt therapy. Good Therapy, an online therapist directory, notes the “empty chair technique” as a way for the client to engage in dialogue and explore their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Exaggeration exercise is another common technique, where the person is asked to physically exaggerate their emotions so that they can recognize how they feel a little more clearly.
If you are seeking a treatment program that incorporates gestalt therapy, call us today at 855-464-7849. Avalon Malibu is a home-like treatment center that helps people with mental health and addiction recovery. We believe in individualized, integrated treatment, meaning that we will work with you to best suit your needs and optimize your overall health and well-being. Our licensed, experienced professionals are ready to support your journey to recovery. Call us today.