If you are not familiar with Gestalt therapy, it is described by psychologists as a form of psychotherapy that has a more client-centred approach than traditional therapy. This way, patients can focus on the present and what is going on with their lives now, instead of trying to base those experiences on events that happened in the past.
When clients want to remember past experiences, instead of talking about them, a Gestalt therapist will encourage the client to re-experience them through exercises such as re-enactment. This way, clients learn to recognize negative behavioural patterns and understand how these affect their journey to self-awareness.
When is Gestalt therapy used?
Gestalt therapy is used to help clients suffering from a variety of issues, including:
Gestalt therapy is especially useful for individuals looking to develop their self-awareness, but have trouble understanding the important role they play in their own unhappiness. Because Gestalt therapy often uses techniques that combine mental and physical exercises, such as bodywork or dance, it can also help tackle some physical issues as well, such as back pain and migraines.
Other potential benefits of Gestalt therapy also include improved self-control, increased emotional understanding, better communication skills and an evolved ability to tolerate negative emotions.
Can Gestalt therapy be done over the phone?
In recent times, the interest in phone therapy has grown tremendously, as it is a great alternative for those who don’t have the time or means to go to a therapist’s office. Almost any type of therapy can be done over the phone, including Gestalt, but it does require a skilled and trained counsellor.
Just like in a traditional therapy session, the counsellor will help you relive past experiences using techniques such as role-play, language exercises or creative arts.
The good part about Gestalt therapy is that most exercises can be done without a therapist as well, so after your phone therapy session, the counsellor can give you “homework” to help put to action what you’ve learned in therapy.
Gestalt exercises to try
Gestalt therapists use a lot of exercises to help clients process their emotions and learn how to separate their physical and emotional experiences. Some of these exercises include:
Language and tone: the therapist will teach you how to use language in a way that reflects personal ownership, rather than how others make you feel. One example is using “I” statements when you speak about something.
Role-play: one role-playing technique that therapists use is known as the “top dog and underdog”. The client is encouraged to spike a dialogue between different parts of themselves, speaking as both the top fog (the more demanding side of themselves) and the underdog (the more submissive side of themselves)
Emotion localisation: when a client talks about their emotions, the therapist will encourage them to identify where in the body they feel that emotion. For example, when you feel anxious, you might feel a strange sensation in your stomach or chest, so identifying this will help you process your emotions better.