Gestalt Therapy: What it is and what its principles are
Have you heard about Gestalt Therapy? It is a type of therapy which not only treats mental disorders, but also boosts human development.
What is Gestalt Therapy?
Gestalt therapy is a type of psychological therapy which comes under the category of humanistic psychology. It is characterised by not being exclusively focused on treating the patient and their psychopathologies, but being oriented towards the development of human potential, awareness and self-fulfilment through exercises in positive psychology.
Gestalt Therapy originated in 1942, with the publication of the book Ego, Hunger and Aggression: A Revision of Freud's Theory and Method (Durban, 1942), which was written by Perls and his wife. In 1952, the Perls opened the first Gestalt Institute in New York.
This type of therapy has a diversity of influences from psychoanalysis, oriental philosophy, existential philosophy and existential perspectives. By not being limited to clinical psychology, Gestalt therapy has extended into many social spheres, and for this reason, it is viewed as more than a treatment for a disease, but more as a tool for redefining our lifestyle. According to a 2012 study conducted by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, this psychotherapeutic focus is an effective treatment for conditions such as anxiety, fear, personal crises, and crises and problems related to self-esteem, but it is not effective for more serious disorders such as addiction.
Gestalt Therapy is viewed as more than a treatment for a disease, as a tool for redefining our lifestyle
Principles of Gestalt psychotherapy
Gestalt therapy is based on various principles. These are some of the most notable ones.
1. Here and now
Gestalt therapy puts a great deal of emphasis on the present time. The here and now is a very important factor, that is, if we work on how we think about the present, we intervene in the way we think about the future and the way in which we review the past.
In this therapy, it is important for the patient to be aware of what happens and to take note of it by being aware of how emotions and stimulation from our environment affects us and how we act towards them. Only in this way will we be able to detect new ways of formulating the experience of the here and now and become more self-aware.
Becoming aware of one’s actions also means accepting responsibility for their consequences. Autonomy is won from the moment we accept our mistakes. Irresponsibility is considered to be a negation of the present and a block towards becoming self-aware. Gestalt places a great deal of importance on responsibility with the objective of becoming freer and being able to give meaning to our lives.