What is Gestalt Therapy?


Gestalt therapy was developed initially as an alternative to standard psychotherapy. It is a type of experiential therapy that focuses on an individual’s experience in the present moment and emphasizes the importance of self-responsibility in the recovery process. The holistic approach of Gestalt therapy has been found useful by many therapists. The sessions do not have rigid structures and allow the patient to use creativity to understand their emotions. 

Key Concepts of Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy gets its name from the German word for shape and refers to the essence of something. The fundamental concepts of Gestalt therapy highlight the core of who we are; our experiences, our environment, and our emotions.


  • Awareness – This is one of Gestalt therapy’s most important aspects because it is seen as a hallmark of healthy living and a desire for recovery. Awareness is an integral part of most therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy or mindfulness-based therapies. Awareness helps people regulate their emotional responses and identify flawed thought processes.
  • Understanding – According to Gestalt therapy, context shapes our experiences, and there must be a recognition that people cannot always be an objective source. Therefore, practitioners accept the validity of their patient’s experiences to help them realize their context. A person needs to understand their perspective to understand their issues fully.
  • Empathy and Inclusion – Empathy is commonly cited as one of the essential abilities of a therapist. However, inclusion is often a forgotten quality that can be just as important. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and view the world from their perspective. On the other hand, inclusion is the ability to see what it is like for someone to see the world from their perspective. It may seem like an ambiguous distinction, but it is an essential concept for Gestalt therapy in order to emphasize the patient-therapist relationship.



Gestalt therapy allows a person to understand how they got to substance use and any possible co-occurring mental health disorders. This type of therapy gives control back to the individual and enables them to gain self-awareness that helps them understand themselves and their journey better. Gestalt therapy will help you focus on your individual experiences and understand the importance of self-responsibility in the recovery process. At Avalon Malibu, our staff is dedicated to helping you achieve that self-awareness and understanding. The exact approach we use will be based on your personality and the context of your emotions. We ensure that our therapists provide patients with both empathy and inclusion. If you are a loved one are struggling with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, Gestalt therapy may be right for you. For more information on Gestalt therapy and Avalon Malibu’s personalized treatment plans, call us today at (844) 857-5992.  

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