Gestalt Therapy has increased in popularity in recent years because it is often the best option for treating serious psychological problems . It is a tool that goes beyond concepts such as psychology and psychiatry. It could be said that it is a novel resource, because it maintains a broader perspective in relation to how the conditions that affect the mind should be treated.

Understanding that there are various psychological approaches , some may be more effective than others, but they have the same goal: to help the patient. In any of these cases, it is selected and an attempt will be made to have all the necessary therapeutic tools. It seeks to achieve self-realization, along with a greater understanding of the actions themselves.

Humanistic psychology takes an approach that considers the human being as an entity that has needs, but also potentialities. A is a resource ready to be applied beyond classical clinical psychology, with it new ways of intervening are found. This is how these therapy sessions focus on more concrete, dynamic, and organized endeavors.

Currently Gestalt therapy is often associated with the idea of ​​personal development, however it is not only limited to this area. Its application can be extended to any area, style or problem of life as a whole. This topic is discussed in more detail below.

What is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt therapy is a type of therapy that is associated with the branch of humanistic psychology. It is identified because it is used not only to treat diseases, but also helps to develop a greater and better potential. That is, it implements the use of various techniques which have been proven for these purposes.

The first time a public mention was made of this therapy was in the early 1950s. The publication is entitled Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality , whose author was the professor and psychologist at the University of Chicago named Ralph Hefferline together with Paul Goodman. It is based on the foundations proposed by Fritz Perls.

Its main characteristic is to maintain a process-oriented approach, downplaying the content. This means that different varieties of techniques and use of tools are carried out that place a greater emphasis on what the patient happens, feels and thinks . For this reason, it is common for sessions to talk about the present, avoiding mentioning the person’s past history.

The genesis of this therapy is also found in Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory . This theory states that the organism or individual is inseparable from its environment, therefore it will always be affected by it. Consequently, a treatment is obtained that treats the patient as one more element of the problem or situation to be faced. It is not an isolated element, but is the result of these events.

It is considered to be a highly effective therapy when it comes to helping patients become more aware of their actions and who they are . Likewise, it will provide you with the necessary tools to be able to choose any future option that allows you to face new situations in a better way. In this way, the field of possibilities is expanded, a renewed creativity that was believed to be lost is promoted.

What are its principles and foundations?

As with other types of psychological therapies, in this case it is observed that techniques and processes are used that, however, may vary. A particular treatment plan is designed for each patient, taking into account their needs and the problems to be treated as a priority. From this perspective there is a greater phenomenological approach.

Likewise, the so-called “awareness” method is often used , it is characterized by paying attention to the emotional impacts and perceptions of the environment. These indicators are the ones that allow us to better understand the way in which we act.

Thus, the therapist will put aside prejudices and adopt a more neutral position , his only purpose is to discern the responses generated. The topics covered during the sessions will stimulate the patient in a way that shows how he has adjusted to each situation and has learned to adapt.

Basically this therapy emphasizes how people mentally experience the situations they face. These same stimuli will modify your emotional state and behavior without you noticing. The purpose is to make them more aware of these factors, which is why the importance falls on the way in which something is experienced, thus, subjective sensations take on a more relevant role.

What are your techniques and processes? 

The techniques and approaches on which Gestalt therapy sessions are based are described below . They are as follows:

Here and now

This ended refers to the technique that focuses on how human beings perceive everything that happens to them and how they relate to their environment. According to this perspective, it is assumed that everything is part of a unified experience , in other words it is the idea that the past and the future are both projections of the present.

Therefore, work will be done in such a way that the present is analyzed with priority and an attempt will be made to intervene in situations that occur in real time. Subsequently, proposals will be made regarding the future, trying to reconcile ourselves with the past by making an analytical and reflective review .


This is a fundamental and essential resource for this type of therapy. It is about taking note of everything that has not been affected, from these it will be possible to detect new experiences, sensations and emotions. Consequently, the patient must be able to reformulate these experiences in terms that help him to move towards self-realization .

The patient is guided to deepen each of their experiences and thoughts, the recognition of these factors and how they have influenced our lives is essential. When we experience these situations, we learn to face them in such a way that we follow the same pattern in the decision-making process. It is likely that changes must be made, for this you must be honest which guarantees developing a better emotional intelligence .

The responsability

During this facet of therapy the patient will learn to be more aware of his own actions . You will be more aware that experimenting is also taking consequences. When there is a greater willingness to assume and accept mistakes, autonomy is gained, the range of options is expanded in all senses, for which a more realistic existential perspective is developed.

Occasionally irresponsible people do so because they maintain an illusory perspective on their reality. It could be said that they remain in denial, they have not become aware of the present. The need to assume long-term responsibilities will improve coexistence with other people , the patient will notice that he feels more free and layered. The goal is to value every aspect of our lives and give them meaning.

Gestalt Therapy Effectiveness

Gestalt therapy is often used to treat anxiety, personal crisis, self-esteem problems, anxiety, and generalized fears . In these specific cases, it has been shown to have a high degree of effectiveness. Several studies have been carried out that have shown positive advances in patients.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this therapy is to conceive the human being as an entity whose main gifts are his mind, body and soul . All of them converge to create a person who has needs but also potentialities. Therefore, the objective is to achieve balance and promote well-being, through responsibility, awareness and self-knowledge.

It has become more popular for treating addiction disorders eating disorders , and phobias for example. It is considered to be a widely recommended therapy due to its effectiveness in treating some of the most serious psychological conditions.

However, it is not exempt from receiving harsh criticism; especially in part because it does not have a specific unit of analysis. This means that some experts conceive it as an experimental therapy that does not have clear definitions .

This form of intervention for some is only an attempt to get to subjectively approach the problem. Ensuring the effectiveness of such therapy depends largely on the perspective presented by patients. Because their proposals are not presented from a systematic theoretical system , it is difficult to understand how it can be applied in some patients.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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