What are the important therapeutic goals of Gestalt theory?
Gelstalt therapy is an experiential type of psychotherapy whose main emphasis is on personal responsibility. In addition, the main focal point of gelstalt therapy is the client-therapist relationship, the client’s experiences in the present, the social contexts and the environment of the client’s life, as well as the self-regulating changes people make due to the overall predicament (Corey, 2013). Among some of the founders of the theory include Frederick Perls and Laura Perls.
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Gelstalt therapy enables a client to differentiate between feelings, actions, and perceptions. As such, patients can act to reshuffle their attitudes. The therapy process demands that patients and their therapist exercise dialogue in their actions.
This is aimed at enabling clients to comes to terms with their actions, what prompts them to perform them, and how best to improve the situation. The goals of the therapeutic process are to ensure that the process is more candid than the content. More emphasis is placed on what is taking place and what is being felt than what took place in the past (Bloom, 2009).
Gestalt therapy is highly reliant on the interpersonal relationship between a therapist and his client. Such a relationship develops and is nurtured as therapy continues. Gelstalt therapy could also be described as a form of experimental approach because it involves intentional and experimental actions. There are several ways through which the gestalt therapists’ function. For example, the therapist utilizes an exploration process, as opposed to use of behavior modification.
Unlike other forms of therapy, the gestalt therapist ensures that therapists meet their patients and guide them in active works to ensure that their awareness is maximized. The goal is to ensure that they help the patient grow and develop a sense of autonomy, in addition to increasing their conscious levels.
While conducting the process, the therapist is supposed to be active and exude excitement (Bloom, 2009). It is paramount that they are also direct and honest with their clients in their communication. This way, both the therapist and the patient have their own sense of judgment in regards to how they feel, what they can see and what they hear.
The patient is further able to determine the kind of person that the therapist is, as there is open and direct communication among them. This enables the patient to grow (Bloom, 2009). Moreover, the client is in a position to ascertain how he/she engages with the therapist, and this is a big step towards self-awareness. A therapist needs to fully understand the client’s situation. He/she can do this by assessing the client’s non-verbal as well as verbal communication.
As a matter of fact, nonverbal communication has been seen to offer more information about the true character of an individual. For this reason, the therapist must endeavor to read the client’s body language including posture, gestures, hesitations, and movements. This is because body language will enable the therapist to decipher what the client is undergoing.
It is important though to note that in this kind of therapy, the therapist does not offer a curative process to the patient but rather, a process of self-discovery and awareness. At the end of the therapy, patients will have developed a new label and sense of self-awareness. Therefore, they are left to grow by themselves.
Bloom, D. (2009). The Phenomenological Method of Gestalt Therapy: Revisiting Husserl to Discover the “Essence” of Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt Review, 13(3), 277-295.
Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th edition). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.