Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is a therapeutic approach with a focus on personal responsibility that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is happening in their lives right now. Gestalt therapy aims to help clients focus on their current circumstances with fresh eyes to understand their situation. It is based on the concept that we are all best understood when viewed through our own eyes in the present. If working through issues related to a past experience, for example, rather than just talking about the experience, a Gestalt therapist might have a client re-enact it to re-experience the scenario and analyze it with new tools. During the re-enactment, the therapist might guide the analysis by asking how the client feels about the situation now, in order to increase awareness and accept the consequences of one's own behavior. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s Gestalt therapy experts today.

Meet the specialists

I am a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of New England. I have four years of postgraduate training in Gestalt psychotherapy.

— Cindy Blank-Edelman, Mental Health Counselor in Cambridge, MA

Gestalt therapy has a lot of focus in the 'here and now,' which I think is very important for people that struggle with chronic stress and anxiety. I also use this approach to help my clients stay grounded and to gain closure through unresolved issues.

— Andrea Russo, Counselor in Alpharetta, GA
 

My roots and foundation are in a Relational Gestalt Therapy practice. I was so relieved when I found this approach as it is non pathologizing, honoring of the whole person, and pragmatic in its focus to heal and grow. This approach and theory honors the coping strategies that folks have created for themselves as creative and necessary and helps to deconstruct them and create new, more healthy ones. Its emphasis on the mind/body connection helps to create sustainable change in one's life.

— Jami Winkel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

I am currently in the 2nd year of a 3 year program to achieve a certification in Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt therapy is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience.

— Olga Lomanovitch, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Philadelphia, PA
 

Gestalt Therapy is one of the first holistic styles of therapy. The word “gestalt” refers to the concept of wholeness and implies that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts; Just like we are much more than the individual parts of our personality. A typical session together might focus on your moment to moment awareness, including your thoughts, senses, feelings and fantasies. My job is not to explain or interpret, but to accompany you on this journey and to reflect to you what I notice. Our sessions are often active and might invite you to participate in awareness raising activities, experiments and movements.

— Pilar Dellano, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Gestalt therapy is a client-centered, existential approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience. Instead of simply talking about past situations, clients are encouraged to experience them, perhaps through re-enactment. Through the gestalt process, clients learn to become more aware of how their own negative thought patterns and behaviors are blocking true self-awareness and making them unhappy. Gestalt approach fundamentally recognizes that the "Self" is developed through relationship with others and is embedded in a social-cultural context. Gestalt techniques often incorporate somatics, movement, art, drama, mindfulness and other therapies.

— Sarwang Parikh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

Gestalt therapy is weird, and it helps people get un-stuck. Finishing old business and integrating fully into self helps us move into and live in the present.

— Emily Thomas, Therapist in Portland, OR
 

Sometimes just talking about a problem doesn't quite get the job done. By engaging in experiential "experiments" in session, Gestalt therapy helps us to release ourselves from the bondage of old emotional wounds.

— Jesse Cardin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Antonio, TX
 

Gestalt therapy is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience.

— Rosemarie Wheeler, Marriage & Family Therapist in Temecula, CA

Gestalt therapy is a relational, collaborative therapy where the relationship between therapist and client is a sacred tool towards understanding how you relate to yourself, others and the world around you. It brings into context the here and now of what's going on and works with you to process emotions as they come up in session. In this way, the client is becoming more aware of the their emotional experience and through that awareness, can begin to create meaning for their feelings.

— Karly Meola, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

Gestalt therapy is more of a lifestyle and an approach to holism. A Gestalt Therapist relies on a here and now protective of mental illnesses.

— Jeremy Allen, Licensed Professional Counselor in Boulder, CO

I use a lot of "in the moment" interventions. I may use psychodrama and role play within the therapy space. Somethings just can't be resolved in just talk therapy and it's important to use experiential modalities to move through stuck points.

— Samantha Grimes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Laguna Hills, CA
 

"Gestalt therapy, with its emphasis on immediate awareness and involvement, offers a method for developing the necessary support for a self-continuing creative adjustment which is the only way of coping with the experience of dying and, therefore, of living." ~ Laura Perls

— Victoria Julita Spiers, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

The focus is on what is happening in the present moment to assist individuals in better understanding self and how they make contact with others. Clients learn how to effectively deal with problems, begin to take responsibility for self, and start living a fuller life.

— Robin Leichtman, Counselor in Lyndhurst, OH

I have a post graduate certification in Gestalt Therapy from the Gestalt Training Institute of Philadelphia.

— Kelly Kampf, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Doylestown, PA
 

The past is important in learning how we got to the present. You can use that information to fix what is happening in the here and now, and to find peace by resolving unfinished business.

— Monique Phillip, Counselor in Colorado Springs, CO
 

I trained in Gestalt therapy at the Church Street Integral Counseling Center in San Francisco, with Gieve Patel and Debbie Stone. This approach incorporates mindfulness of one's own moment-to-moment experience with a belief in the individual's ability to act out of this awareness of self.

— Jessica Gioia, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Alameda, CA

Therapy is an experience for both the client and the therapist. The client needs to authentically be experiencing their emotions and being able to address their inner conflicts. They would get to the point where they would understand how their mind is connected to their body and what kind of messages their nonverbal behavior is sending to the world.

— Amy Huang, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Carson, CA
 

Gestalt is a way of understanding human experience and the process of change. According to Gestalt, change only happens when we accept ourselves exactly as we are. By paying close attention to the present moment, we discover both new and familiar aspects of ourselves and unlock new possibilities for choice and growth. I receive ongoing training through Gestalt Therapy Training Center Northwest, as well as regular individual supervision and consultation.

— Lucius Wheeler, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

Gestalt therapy hinges on these two essential questions: Now and How-- what is happening right now and how are you responding to it? The fundamental purpose underlying Gestalt therapy is to raise awareness of your own experience. It is a creative modality, and a very useful approach in slowing down your thoughts and reactions to anxiety and depression (which are infamous for having runaway thoughts!) For example, you see an email from your boss and next thing you know your thoughts are ten steps ahead of you-- thinking about the meeting in which you get exposed, humiliated, or fired. Through Gestalt therapy, we slow things down and find a lot more gradation in our thoughts and feelings than we previously knew existed. Gestalt therapy nicely complements Mindfulness and CBT, and we will use a variety of hand-selected tools to fit your specific needs and goals for therapy.

— Anna Lewis, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Gestalt Art/Drawing Therapy is one of my favorites to use with children. These techniques help children speak honestly and reveal difficult feelings that they often cannot do with conversation alone.

— Karen Harris, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Clackamas, OR

I received a year of training in this in graduate school.

— Todd Thillman, Counselor in Lafayette, CO
 

An existential/experiential form of therapy which emphasizes personal responsibility, and focuses upon the individual\'s experience in the present moment, the therapist–client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person\'s life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.

— Jor-El Zajatz, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR