If your counsellor thinks that you will be a good fit for Gestalt therapy, they will show you how to truly experience what is happening rather than relying upon your understanding of the event. During your sessions together, your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and way of behaving will all be examined in depth, the aim being for you to develop a rich self-awareness and understanding of why you react to external stimuli in a certain way. With this strategy in hand, you will then be able to make different choices, changing your behaviour and getting rid of things that are having a negative impact on you mentally and physically. In this way, you will benefit by being empowered to reach your full potential.
Gestalt techniques and exercises
As you progress with the treatment, your therapist will bring into play a range of techniques and exercises. These will be developed by both of you working together and will be uniquely suited to you and your present condition.
Here are some of the most often-used methods:
- Role-play – this will enable you to experience and examine emotions and feelings, gaining a much deeper understanding of why you behave in a certain way.
- The ‘open chair’ technique – again this refers to role play and uses two chairs with the client in one, imagining someone else (often a part of themselves) in the opposite chair. You will then proceed to communicate with this ‘other person’ and engage, asking questions. Next you will swop chairs, taking a seat in the once empty chair. You will now continue but with reversed roles, so you will be imagining the ‘other person’s’ problems. You should find yourself getting in touch with parts of yourself that you had previously ignored, realising that conflict is a natural occurrence within everyone.
- Dialogue – your Gestalt therapist will talk with you, encouraging you to engage so that they can help you towards thinking or acting in a certain way. Don’t be surprised if you end up laughing or even singing or dancing!
- Dreams – you will be encouraged to understand your dreams and maybe even relive them whilst your therapist asks you what you are experiencing as you work through each element. This allows you to become far more self-aware.
- Body language – even though you may not be aware of it, your therapist will study your body language throughout each session. By examining these subtle guides to your emotions, they will gain great insight and may even ask you to exaggerate them. For example, if you are sitting with your arms tightly folded, they may ask you what you are trying to convey with this position.
Gestalt therapy will benefit you if you wish to gain a deeper understanding of how your physical and emotional needs connect and interact. You will become far more aware of your inner self and why you tend to act in certain ways. Taking you on an incredible journey of self-discovery, you should become less guarded when it comes to your emotions, particularly during times of difficulty. Those suffering from anxiety, stress, addiction, PTSD, depression and a range of other psychological problems should find that this therapy enables them to feel far more confident, peaceful and at ease with themselves.