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  2. INTRODUCTION A form of psychotherapy that was formed by a Germany psychiatrist, FREDERICK S. (“FRITZ”) PERLS, MD, PhD (1893–1970) in 1952 He develops the interest for gestalt psychology after he served as a medic in world war I for German army and his experiences with gassed frontline soldiers where he believes that individuals must be understood in the context of their ongoing relationship with the environment. Gestalt therapy is an existential, phenomenological, and process-based approach created on the premise that individuals must be understood in the context of their ongoing relationship with the environment OR Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on your present challenges and needs The initial goal is for clients to gain awareness of what they are experiencing and how they are doing it. Through this awareness, change automatically occurs. Sometimes its called “relational Gestalt therapy”
  3. Key Concepts View of Human Nature o The Gestalt theory of change posits that the more we work at becoming who or what we are not, the more we remain the same. o The therapists focus on creating the conditions that promote client growth rather than relying on therapist-directed change o According to the paradoxical theory of change, we change when we become aware of what we are as opposed to trying to become what we are not o Perls’s style of doing therapy involved two personal agendas: moving the client from environmental support to self-support and reintegrating the disowned parts of one’s personality o Therapy aims not at analysis or introspection but at awareness and contact with the environment. The environment consists of both the external and internal worlds o A basic assumption of Gestalt therapy is that individuals have the capacity to self- regulate when they are aware of what is happening in and around them.
  4. Therapist’s Functions And Roles Perls, Hefferline, and Goodman (1951) stated that the therapist’s job is to;  Invite clients into an active partnership where they can learn about themselves by adopting an experimental attitude towards life in which they try out new behaviors and notice what happens  Gestalt therapists encourage clients to attend to their sensory awareness in the present moment.  An important function of Gestalt therapists is paying attention to clients’ body language.  In addition to calling attention to clients’ nonverbal language, the Gestalt counselor places emphasis on the relationship between language patterns and personality.
  5. What Disorders Can Be Treated Using Gestalt Therapy? Since its introduction, gestalt therapy has become a proven and effective therapeutic approach in addressing and treating different mental health conditions. Some of these conditions include: • Depression. Since gestalt therapy focuses on self-awareness, it can help people with depression become aware of possible stressful situations that trigger their depression • Relationship difficulties. • Self-esteem issues. • addiction • Stress • anxiety
  6. Some Principles of Gestalt Therapy (Theories ) Basic principles underlying the theory of Gestalt therapy are: holism, field theory, the figure- formation process, and organismic self-regulation. Holism .Gestalt is a German word meaning a whole or completion, or a form that cannot be separated into parts without losing its essence. All of nature is seen as a unified and coherent whole, and the whole is different from the sum of its parts. Because Gestalt therapists are interested in the whole person, they place no superior value on a particular aspect of the individual. Field Theory Gestalt therapy is based on field theory, which is grounded on the principle that the organism must be seen in its environment, or in its context, as part of the constantly changing field. Gestalt therapy rests on the principle that everything is relational, in flux, interrelated, and in process. The Figure-formation Process Derived from the field of visual perception by a group of Gestalt psychologists, the figure-formation process describes how the individual organizes experience from moment to moment
  7. Organismic Self-regulation The figure-formation process is intertwined with the principle of organismic self-regulation, a process by which equilibrium is “disturbed” by the emergence of a need, a sensation, or an interest. Organisms will do their best to regulate themselves, given their own capabilities and the resources of their environment (Latner, 1986).
  8. Gestalt Therapy Techniques The different gestalt therapy techniques involve a series of experiments and exercises. Therapy can be done individually or in a group setting. Exercises and experiments help individuals increase their awareness and understanding of the here and now Different techniques of gestalt therapy work differently for different individuals since everyone's past experiences are unique. Here are examples of the different gestalt therapy techniques: • Paradoxical change. The theory of paradoxical change focuses on the need for self- acceptance. It helps individuals develop an improved sense of self-awareness. When an individual makes peace with who they are as a person, it helps them live in the present. This results in more positive feelings and mood. • "Here" and "now". This technique enables individuals to appreciate past experiences and how they influence their present thoughts and behavior. By being conscious of internal factors that influence their present lives, individuals can learn to let go of the past. This helps them focus on the here and now. The objective of this technique is to help them live for the present and make positive changes going forward
  9. • Empty chair technique. This technique helps individuals to open up and practice talking with an empty chair. The goal of this technique is to visualize yourself opening up to a particular person you needed to talk with. When you open up as if the person was sitting there listening, the therapeutic experience of opening up sets the stage for healing. • Exaggeration technique. This technique works by making an individual become aware of underlying issues that could be linked to their present problem. The therapist may request you to exaggerate a specific behavior or emotion. This helps in identifying and addressing the root of the problem • Dream Work Dream work is an element of Gestalt therapy that involves re-enacting a client’s dreams inside the therapy session. • Experimentation Methods It involves the use of different Gestalt techniques, activities, role-plays, and skills to help clients notice, interrupt, and change their patterns. These experiments are used creatively and are individualized to the needs and goals of each particular client. • Role Plays & Re-enactments Role plays and re-enactments are another common Gestalt therapy technique that involves helping clients practice certain skills in the present moment during a session. Role plays and re-enactments always involve constructing a “scenario” that the client (and sometimes also the therapist) acts out in the therapy session
  10. Gestalt Therapy Interventions Experiments can be useful tools to help the client gain fuller awareness, experience internal conflicts, resolve inconsistencies and dichotomies, and work through an impasse that is preventing, completion of unfinished businesses The Internal Dialogue Exercise One goal of Gestalt therapy is to bring about integrated functioning and acceptance of aspects of one’s personality that have been disowned and denied Making The Rounds Making the rounds is a Gestalt exercise that involves asking a person in a group to go up to others in the group and either speak to or do something with each person. The Reversal Exercise Certain symptoms and behaviors often represent reversals of underlying or latent impulses. Thus, the therapist could ask a person who claims to suffer from severe inhibitions and excessive timidity to play the role of an exhibitionist The Rehearsal Exercise Oftentimes we get stuck rehearsing silently to ourselves so that we will gain acceptance. When it comes to the performance, we experience stage fright, or anxiety, because we fear that we will not play our role well The Exaggeration Exercise One aim of Gestalt therapy is for clients to become more
  11. Staying With The Feeling Most clients desire to escape from fearful stimuli and to avoid unpleasant feelings. At key moments when clients refer to a feeling or a mood that is unpleasant and from which they have a great desire to fl ee, the therapist may urge clients to stay with their feeling and encourage them to go deeper into the feeling or behavior they wish to avoid The Gestalt Approach To Dream Work In psychoanalysis dreams are interpreted, intellectual insight is stressed, and free association is used to explore the unconscious meanings of dreams. The Gestalt approach does not interpret and analyze dreams. Instead, the intent is to bring dreams back to life and relive them as though they were happening now. The dream is acted out in the present, and the dreamer becomes a part of his or her dream
  12. Therapeutic process of gestalt therapy  Establishing contact Genuineness and self-disclosure of therapist Here and now orientation  Cultivating awareness Focus on body and somatic sensations Active exploration or experiment  Resolving conflicts Enactment (e.g. “empty chair”) Imaginary techniques and body work
  13. Gestalt cycle of change
  14. Application to Group Counseling Gestalt therapy is well suited for a group context. Gestalt therapy encourages direct experience and actions as opposed to merely talking about conflicts, problems, and feelings. If members have anxieties pertaining to some future event, they can enact these future concerns in the present NB: All of the techniques that were described earlier can be employed in a therapeutic group
  15. Benefits of Gestalt Therapy Gestalt therapy is a comprehensive therapeutic method that gives long-lasting benefits to an individual's mind, emotions, body, and spirit. Common benefits of gestalt therapy include but are not limited to:  Increased self-awareness  Ability to make peace with the past, and an improved sense of acceptance  Increased ability to deal and cope with stressful situations  Being more responsible, improved ability to own up for mistakes and behaviors without placing blames  Improved self-confidence.
  16. Limitation Of Gestalt Therapy .  The Gestalt approach does not place a premium on the role of the therapist as a teacher. The emphasis is on facilitating the clients’ own process of self-discovery and learning. This is experiential and self-directed learning process  It may not help with the psychological effects of hereditary behaviors  Ethical practice depends on adequate training and supervision of therapists, and the most immediate limitation of Gestalt or any other therapy is the skill, training, experience, and judgment of the therapist