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Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is a person-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps you focus on the present and understand what is really happening in your life right now, rather than what you may perceive to be happening based on past experience. Instead of simply talking about past situations, you are encouraged to experience them, perhaps through re-enactment. Through the gestalt process, you will learn to become more aware of how your own negative thought patterns and behaviors are blocking true self-awareness and authenticity.

When It's Used

Gestalt therapy can help with issues such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and even physical ones like migraine headaches and muscle tension. Good candidates for gestalt therapy are those who are interested in working on their self-awareness but may or may not understand the role they play in their own unhappiness and discomfort. Gestalt techniques are often used in combination with body work, art, drama, and other therapies.

What to Expect

A gestalt therapist focuses on what is happening in the moment and finding solutions in the present time. For example, rather than discuss why something happened in the past, the therapist will encourage you to re-enact the moment and discuss how it feels right now. In other words, you will be asked to experience your feelings, rather than simply talk about them. The therapist will ask you questions like, “What’s going on in this moment?” or “How does this make you feel now?” Your therapist may experiment with dream work, guided fantasy, role-playing, confrontation, and other techniques that can help bring past and current struggles to life in the therapeutic setting. Your goal, as you become more aware of yourself and your senses, is to take more responsibility for yourself, accept the consequences of your behavior, and learn to satisfy your own needs while still respecting the needs of others.

How It Works

The word “gestalt” means whole. Gestalt therapy was developed by psychotherapist Fritz Perls and his wife, Laura Perls, on the principle that humans are best viewed as a whole entity consisting of body, mind, and soul, and best understood when viewed through their own eyes, not by looking back into the past but by bringing the past into the present. Gestalt therapy emphasizes that to alleviate unresolved anger, pain, anxiety, resentment, and other negative feelings, these emotions cannot just be discussed, but must be actively expressed in the present time. If that doesn’t happen, both psychological and physical symptoms can arise. Perls believed that we are not in this world to live up to others' expectations, nor should we expect others to live up to ours. By building self-awareness, gestalt therapy helps clients better understand themselves and how the choices they make affect their health and their relationships. With this self-knowledge, clients begin to understand how their emotional and physical selves are connected and develop more self-confidence to start living a fuller life and more effectively deal with problems.

-Photo of Fritz and Laura Perls-

What to Look for in a Gestalt Therapist

Look for a licensed, experienced psychotherapist with a gestalt approach toward therapy. In addition to fulfilling their general education and licensing requirements, some therapists may take continuing education courses and training in gestalt therapy techniques. Once you have established that a therapist has the credentials and experience you are looking for, be sure you understand and are comfortable with the process as explained by the therapist.

I am a Certified Gestalt Therapist and completed a four year post-graduate clinical training program in Gestalt Therapy at 

Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy in NYC in 2022.


Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy

Psychology Today- About Gestalt Therapy

For quickest response, please use e-mail to schedule your initial appointment/phone consultation:

(917) 515-0200

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