According to Psychology Today, gestalt therapy is “a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience.” With gestalt therapy, clients are asked to re-enact or re-experience them rather than simply talk about them in therapy. Therapists who use this form of therapy try to increase their clients’ awareness and expect them to use their own seeing, feeling, sensing, and interpreting through their experiences.
The therapist emphasizes self-actualization, and self-respect, self-motivation, and self-growth can be added dimensions to the treatment. Gestalt therapy is process-oriented and client-centered, meaning that all focus is on supporting the client in realizing, learning, growing, making decisions, and more. Gestalt therapy helps to treat depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship issues, migraine headaches, back spasms, and more. Science Direct notes that gestalt therapy is holistic and experiential, and allows for increased choice and flexibility in every aspect of daily life. If you participate in gestalt therapy, your therapist may say:
- What’s going on in this moment?
- How does this make you feel now?
- How are you experiencing your anxiety?
- Where do you feel anger in your body?
- Become your leg and give it a voice.
The idea of gestalt therapy is to allow the person to experience, to feel, and to develop their own realizations through this method. Self-actualization can be reached in gestalt therapy through simply experiencing the senses in an environment, through being conscious in the present moment, and through taking responsibility for one’s life instead of blaming or placing responsibility on others.
According to a 2009 case study, one exercise that can be used in gestalt therapy is focus on phrases that uplift the self. For example, a client may say “I am responsible for my self-consciousness”, “I am responsible for my dependency,” I am responsible for my independence,” and “I am responsible for my decision making.”
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