The field of psychology can be characterized by the presence of a multitude of theories that represent versatile approaches to people’s development, behavior, and cognition. Among them, the one that resonates with me the most is the Gestalt theory.
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Gestalt theory presents a psychological perspective that is based on the understanding of the human mind as inclined to see and identify a connection between objects and events even when they are not visible. For example, a set of dots arranged in the form of a circle will not be seen as a cluster of random dots but as a circle; this is the case because our mind automatically connects the dots and recognizes the shape behind them.
According to Gestalt theory, this kind of perception is not limited to the recognition of visual shapes but occurs in social and economic behaviors, thinking, motivation, and problem-solving. As a result, Gestalt theory can be a highly useful analytical tool. The strengths of Gestalt in counseling include its provision of flexible and phenomenological diagnoses that are focused on the identification of patterns and themes that are specific and unique to an individual client (Joyce & Sills, 2009). Moreover, Gestalt diagnoses are process-focused which means that gestalt counselors notice not only the elements of the clients’ stories but also their behaviors, environments, perception, and reactions.
Counseling a client with depression could be very effective when Gestalt is used. According to this theory, depressed clients are approached differently than they would be in medical settings. Apart from the signs and symptoms of depression that are mainly considered by doctors, a Gestalt counselor will also take into account the environment from which the client originates and their relationship with it (Roubal, 2006). Symptoms of depression are viewed as the unique phenomena of the condition that the client tends to display; but working with depressed persons, Gestalt counselors will look for the processes that generate depression (Roubal, 2006). In that way, this approach can be very helpful.
Joyce, P. & Sills, C. (2009). Skills in Gestalt counselling & psychotherapy. New York, NY: Sage. Web.
Roubal, J. (2006). Depression – a Gestalt theoretical perspective. British Gestalt Journal, 16(1), 35-43. Web.