7 May 2007

Counselling Approaches 3

Yet again i have been lazy with my homework! Quick i need to show folks that my brain wasn't totally frazzled last night.
I am moving away from Person Centred counselling now and onto Gestalt Therapy which is still part of the Humanistic style of counselling. Gestalt Therapy is now one of the main Humanistic Psychotherapists.
It was developed in the 1950's and 60's by Fritz and Laura Perls.
Gestalt is a German word which is difficult to translate into English, it roughly means 'whole or complete'. It refers to the fact that people look for and create meaning (patterns and structures) in their lives, work and relationships.

Gestalt emphasises the importance of 'awareness of the here and now', the significance of the body. of movement, of gesture of feelings and insights.

Gestalt theories in a nutshell
  • Live now, stay in the present.
  • Live here, be with the present.
  • Stop imagining, experience reality.
  • Stop unnecessary thinking.
  • Express, rather than manipulating, explaining, justifying, or judging.
  • Give in to unpleasantness do not restrict your awareness.
  • Accept no "should" or "ought", other than your own.
  • Take full responsibility for your own actions, feelings and thoughts.
  • Surrender to being who you are right now.

    Gestalt therapists generally encourage their clients to stay focused on present experience, thoughts, feelings, sensations etc, rather than thinking about their past or the supposed origins of whatever their current issues might be. However Gestalt therapists also recognise and accept that the clients current problems and difficulties may reflect that they are carrying 'unfinished business' from the past.

    This is a good example of why it is important to chose your therapist carefully as you might want to go more into the root cause of your feelings behaviour.

    The Gestalt therapist encourages the client to 'finish' the business by providing them with 'experiments' and 'action techniques' which enable them to release blocked energy and address and complete the 'problem'.

    Gestalt counselling keeps open the option for experimenting in any creative way that appears like it might be useful.
    A therapeutic experiment might be:
  • Being different parts of yourself: Talking to a younger or older version of yourself.
  • Creating patterns with stones or shells: I have done an example of this myself and i found it very useful.
  • Writing
  • Drawing or painting
  • Shouting
  • Hitting Cushions etc.
    These are just a few examples of the many possible ideas.

    Gestalt therapy is suitable for most kinds of psychological and emotional difficulties including stress, depression and various forms of addiction.

    As i have said before, it is very important that you know what type of counselling you are going for, but also be open to techniques and experiments that you might not necessarily think will work. I was very sceptical myself, but doing a simple gestalt therapy in class open my mind to the way that i felt over certain things.

    Next time its TA, Transactional Analysis followed by question time!


  1. Sounds very interesting! Good Luck
    p.s. no "a" in Pearls; I think its PERLS; I could be wrong though.

  2. Pleased to see there's some homework time here too, I love these posts x x

  3. One of these days I'm going to have to pick your mind with the counseling studies as it's something I really want to get into. I just need a little motivation.

  4. Very interesting!

    I hope you plan on doing long distance counseling one day - I'm probably going to need it! :-)

    (Oh, and it's free too, right??)

  5. Gestalt approach was one of my favorites when I took psychology in college( loooooong ago). I'll be interested to read what you think of it copared to various other paradigms.


  6. There is some interesting thinking going on here. I have heard of Gestalt but knew not what it was