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It appears here with the kind permission of the publisher, F. It is a slightly edited version of the chapter written jointly The gestalt approach Jim Simkin and myself for the third edition of Current Psychotherapies. The version was a complete rewriting of a version Jim did by himself for the second edition of Current Psychotherapies.
The revisions I made in the version were minor and were made after Jim's death. Overview Gestalt therapy is a phenomenological-existential therapy founded by Frederick Fritz and Laura Perls in the s.
It teaches therapists and patients the phenomenological method of awareness, in which perceiving, feeling, and acting are distinguished from interpreting and reshuffling preexisting attitudes.
Explanations and interpretations are considered less reliable than what is directly perceived and felt. Patients and therapists in Gestalt therapy dialogue, that is, communicate their phenomenological perspectives. Differences in perspectives become the focus of experimentation and continued dialogue.
The goal is for clients to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, to learn to accept and value themselves. Gestalt therapy focuses more on process what is happening than content what is being discussed. The emphasis is on what is being done, thought and felt at the moment rather than on what was, might be, could be, or should be.
Basic Concepts The Phenomenological Perspective Phenomenology is a discipline that helps people stand aside from their usual way of thinking so that they can tell the difference between what is actually being perceived and felt in the current situation and what is residue from the past Idhe, A Gestalt exploration respects, uses and clarifies immediate, "naive" perception "undebauched by learning" Wertheimer,p.
Gestalt therapy treats what is "subjectively" felt in the present, as well as what is "objectively" observed, as real and important data.
This contrasts with approaches that treat what the patient experiences as "mere appearances" and uses interpretation to find "real meaning. In Gestalt therapy insight is clear understanding of the structure of the situation being studied.
Awareness without systematic exploration is not ordinarily sufficient to develop insight. Therefore, Gestalt therapy uses focused awareness and experimentation to achieve insight.
How one becomes aware is crucial to any phenomenological investigation. The phenomenologist studies not only personal awareness but also the awareness process itself.
The patient is to learn how to become aware of awareness. How the therapist and the patient experience their relationship is of special concern in Gestalt therapy Yontef, The Field Theory Perspective The scientific world view that underlies the Gestalt phenomenological perspective is field theory.
Field theory is a method of exploring that describes the whole field of which the event is currently a part rather than analyzing the event in terms of a class to which it belongs by its "nature" e. The field is a whole in which the parts are in immediate relationship and responsive to each other and no part is uninfluenced by what goes on elsewhere in the field.
The field replaces the notion of discrete, isolated particles. The person in his or her life space constitutes a field. In field theory no action is at a distance; that is, what has effect must touch that which is affected in time and space. Gestalt therapists work in the here and now and are sensitive to how the here and now includes residues of the past, such as body posture, habits, and beliefs.
The phenomenological field is defined by the observer and is meaningful only when one knows the frame of reference of the observer.Welcome to The Gestalt Centre. Based in Camden, London, we’re the UK’s foremost provider of training in Gestalt: an enlightening and life-changing approach to counselling and psychotherapy.
Definition of gestalt theory: Psychology concept used in training. It proposes that what is 'seen' is what appears to the seer and not what may 'actually be there,' and that the nature of a unified whole is not understood by.
In an interview with Adelaide Bry, Perls refused to answer when asked what Gestalt Therapy was. He commented that he hated intellectualizing, and instead walked her through some exercises to demonstrate the integrative rather than the analytical nature of a gestalt-based approach.
Welcome to the Gestalt Institute of Ireland. We have been providing quality psychotherapy training & personal/professional development since Gestalt psychology did face criticism, particularly in that many of its central concepts can be difficult to define and examine experimentally.
While this approach may have lost its identity as an independent school of thought in psychology, its central ideas have had a major influence on the field of psychology as a whole. Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman in the s, is an experiential and humanistic form of therapy that .