While I work with an eclectic mix of therapy approaches, I often refer to Gestalt therapy as the “backbone” of my practice. To me it is as much a philosophy as it is therapy modality.
One of my favourite notions in Gestalt therapy is the assumption that health is the ability to respond to novel experiences spontaneously, authentically, and with natural excitement. This is assumed to be our natural state with which we are born, and towards which we innately strive.
As we experience ourselves in the world, we continuously adjust our responses to match what we encounter. If we encounter a recurring theme of unhappiness within ourselves or in relationship, chances are that we have gotten stuck in responses that no longer serve us.
The German word “Gestalt” roughly translates to English as “shape.”
"It takes great courage to live fully and BE who YOU ARE. Only when you accept who you are –here and now- do you have the opportunity to change"
- Jorge Rosner
Gestalt therapy explores how we "shape" our present experience. It asks: How am I responding to the current situation? What am I feeling? What meaning am I giving it?
The exploration can be purely verbal as you may know it from traditional talking therapy or counselling. It can also have experiential elements such as checking in with the body: Where in my body am I holding this feeling? Or it might be helpful to play it out: I am feeling small, but I would would like to feel bigger - how does it feel to actually take these poses? When being explorative in this way we can make astonishing discoveries about ourselves, because we have gone just beyond our normal scope of experiencing. We start to become aware of how we restrict ourselves, our bodies, our possibilities in any given moment. We then gain the option to shape the new experience differently, and grow the capacity to be present, flexible, spontaneous, and to feel "alive".
My job as the therapist is to support you and create the space for you to gain awareness, and we work together as a team. Gestalt therapy places a big emphasis on the relationship between client and therapist, and knows that it is essential to develop trust before anything new can be tried out.