A few words about the Gestalt trend: The Word Gestalt is derived from German and means shape, form, figure or figure. Gestalt psychotherapy is a humanistic-experiential method. It was established in the second half of the 20th century, with Fritz Perls as its main founder. Today, it is one of the most popular methods in the world focused on working with mental difficulties. Its the main idea is to expand self-awareness, and this in turn makes it possible to deal with the crisis experienced, and in the long run, to take control of one’s own life.
Unlike behaviorism, which is characterized by the perception of stimuli from the environment, as well as psychoanalysis, which are both based on the existence of the unconscious, and that a person is determined by the history of his life. Gestalt is a trend that focuses on the awareness of one’s own emotions, feelings, desires and experiences flowing from the body, so that a person has a sense of agency. He begins to skillfully manage his life and make decisions.
Pillars of the Gestalt trend according to Gary Yontef
Gestalt Psychotherapy uses many techniques, such as body work, dream work, experimentation and psychodrama, but for psychotherapy to be fully called Gestalt psychotherapy, 3 important conditions must be met simultaneously. Below we list the 3 pillars of Gestalt psychotherapy according to Gary Yontef.
- Phenomenological method – showing the situation as it is, which expands the client’s self-awareness. The therapist does not impose or judge the client’s perception of the world.
- Existential dialogue – Focusing on what is “here and now.” Appreciate the differences in dialogue rather than similarities, which will allow for deeper communication and facilitate the creation of a unique relationship. “I am I, You are You.”
- Field theory – everything we experience takes place in two planes, called the figure and the background, which constitute the whole. The fulfilled need goes to the background and gives place to another figure.
About the Gestalt trend and the goals of psychotherapy:
- unblocking the natural process of self-regulation
- restoring a sense of responsibility and agency
- “a person becomes what he is, not what he wants to be”. – Fritz Perls
- emotional and bodily sensation – the philosophy of the holistic approach
- Creating relationships based on openness, dialogue and respect
Gestalt trend – with reference to the assumptions of Jerzy Mellibruda:
- The therapist is not authoritative with the client. He does not lead, he does not direct. It gives the client a sense of freedom, agency, self-responsibility.
- A person has a sense of self-importance.
- The therapist does not interpret or explain “why” someone behaved in one way or another. It is in the I-Thou interaction. He is observant and respects the customer’s right. He fully accepts the customer’s experience.
- Gestalt therapy is based on experimentation. Clients experiment with each other, but also explore their options. They learn to make informed decisions and make the right choices.