Gestalt is a German word meaning a Whole or a completion that is greater and different than the sum of its parts. An integrated person is aware of all the elements that unite to make them whole – their body, feelings, intellect, and senses.
When unaware, people may drift through life with some of those parts missing e.g. not feeling, which might cause them difficulty in relationships. Some people, through early childhood experiences, have a diminished sense of self and may develop relationships in ways that are habitual and limit the choices and contact that is possible for them in their current lives.
Gestalt Psychotherapy was developed by Fritz Perls, Lore Perls and Paul Goodman. They moved from the psychoanalytical school of psychotherapy to develop a humanistic and experiential form of therapy based on Existential Philosophy where people take responsibility for themselves and move from dependency towards interdependence and wholeness.
Gestalt therapy continues to develop as part of the humanistic and integrative movement in psychotherapy. It aims to encourage wholeness and integration through awareness in the ‘here and now’. Focusing on the present, the therapist explores with the client HOW spontaneous feeling and expression is blocked. Together they explore ways of releasing trapped energy which can be both liberating and exciting.
A Gestalt group involves a creative encounter between people. It enables individuals to obtain a greater awareness of their power and potential as well as their blocks and to experience richer contact in relationships.