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What is Gestalt Therapy and How Can We Benefit From It?

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

By Gonzalo Rey, Gestalt Therapist & Creator of Natural Born Movement

- Aim to develop awareness in thoughts, emotions and perceptions.

- Aim to be aware of the present moment – the here and now!

Explaining Gestalt therapy in just a few paragraphs is an impossible feat but I will try my best to shed some light to help you gain a reasonable understanding of what Gestalt offers and how we can benefit for it.

Gestalt is a holistic body-centered psychotherapy with roots in psychoanalysis, Smuts’s holism, existentialism, phenomenology, Lewin’s field theory, Goldstein’s theory of the organism, Zen Buddhism, and Reich’s armour theory and body therapy. In other words; we could say Gestalt is a mix between classical western psychoanalysis, eastern philosophies and/or traditions and scientific facts regarding organism behavior.

Gestalt emphasizes a way of living and understanding existence with responsibility and self-regulation to achieve well-being, focusing on the individual’s experience in the “here and now”, the present moment, because that is the only reality that exists. Almost all of us perceive reality with our own lenses. Therefore, our sense of reality is constantly distorted by our fears, dreams, hopes, beliefs, expectations and so on. Gestalt helps you become aware, in any given situation, while being able to respond and adapt to it in the healthiest and positive approach without being affected by past traumas, core schemas, negative thinking patterns, social conditioning, power and/or mind games or any sort of obstacle that obscures our perception.

I like to describe Gestalt as a voyage of discovery in which client and practitioner share an equal journey of communication in order to become more fully and creatively alive, free from the blocks and unfinished business that may diminish satisfaction, fulfilment, and growth while experimenting with new ways of being. We will learn to use tools to detect and resolve old patterns of behavior (fixed Gestalts) and replaced them for creative adjustments, which allow you to live in the "here and now" experience with fluidity and understanding. These tools will help you integrate awareness, acceptance and the ability to express yourself freely into your everyday life while flowing into a lighter and more joyful way of living.

Dave Mann says in his book, “Gestalt Therapy. 100 key points and techniques”, that there are as many definitions of ‘Gestalt’ as there are gestalt therapists. This is because Gestalt is alive, it isn’t rigid. The “here and now” shared by client and practitioner draws the path for a life of awareness free from overthinking, stress and unnecessary suffering and pain.

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