Gestalt Therapy was developed in the 1940′s by Fritz and Laura Perls and further influenced by the likes of Kurt Lewin and Kurt Goldstein (Corsini & Wedding, 2000). It was developed as a revision to psychoanalysis and focuses on an experiential and humanistic approach rather than analysis of the unconscious which was one of the main therapeutic tools at the time Gestalt Therapy was employed.
Gestalt Therapy rejects the dualities of mind and body, body and soul, thinking and feeling, and feeling and action. According to Perls, people are not made up of separate components, this is, mind, body and soul, rather human beings function as a whole. In doing so, one defines who one is (sense of self) by choice of responses to environmental interactions (boundaries). The word “Gestalt” (of German origin) refers to a “whole, configuration, integration, pattern or form” (Patterson, 1986).
The form of Gestalt Therapy practiced today utilises ideas, data and interventions from multiple sources, as well as some of the original techniques known to be ‘Gestalt Therapy techniques’. It is noted that Gestalt Therapy has a history of being an approach which creates or borrows specific techniques that are focused on assisting the client to take the next step in their personal growth and development.
Read more about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
The following video incorporates a role play demonstrating the key techniques of Gestalt. Facilitator in this video: Yaro Starak (BA, M.S.W., Adv.Dip.SW., Dip. GT).