Gestalt Therapy Sydney

Gestalt therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping people become more aware of themselves in the present moment.

What is Gestalt?

Gestalt therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping people become more aware of themselves in the present moment. It emphasizes taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions, rather than blaming others or dwelling on the past. Through this process, Gestalt therapy aims to increase self-awareness, improve self-confidence, and help people develop healthier coping mechanisms. Here are some of the main points and benefits of Gestalt therapy:

Gestalt therapy uses a number of techniques to achieve its goals of present-moment awareness, self-responsibility, and personal growth. Here's a look at how it tackles each area:

Present Moment Focus

  • I-statements: The therapist encourages using “I” statements to describe current experiences and feelings. This helps clients stay present and avoid blaming others or getting lost in past narratives.
  • Body awareness: Gestalt techniques often involve paying attention to physical sensations. This can help clients ground themselves in the present moment and identify emotions held within the body.

Increased self-awareness

  • Unfinished business: Exploring past experiences that haven’t been fully addressed (unfinished business) can bring hidden feelings and patterns to light, leading to greater self-understanding.
  • The “empty chair” technique: Clients imagine a significant person from their life in an empty chair and have a dialogue. This helps them explore their own unresolved issues with that person.

Improved Self-Acceptance

  • “Owning” your feelings: The therapist helps clients move away from phrases like “you make me feel angry” to “I feel angry.” This empowers clients to take ownership of their emotional responses.
  • Experiments: The therapist might suggest experiments where clients try out new behaviors in the session. This allows them to see the impact of their choices and take responsibility for the outcomes.

Improved self-acceptance

  • Amplification: Clients might be encouraged to exaggerate a feeling or behavior they’re downplaying. This can help them become more aware of and accepting of all parts of themselves.
  • The “topdog/underdog” dialogue: Exploring internal conflicts by having a dialogue between opposing parts of oneself (e.g., the critical “topdog” and the inhibited “underdog”) can lead to greater self-compassion.

Better Coping Mechanisms

  • Dream analysis: Exploring the symbolism in dreams can unearth unconscious patterns and provide insights for healthier ways of dealing with current challenges.
  • Gestalt games: Role-playing exercises can help clients practice new ways of communicating and asserting themselves in relationships.

By using these techniques, Gestalt therapy aims to create a safe space for clients to explore themselves in the present moment, take responsibility for their thoughts and feelings, and develop healthier ways of being in the world.

Example

Chairwork (15-20mins)

  • Sitting in a calm, safe space, place an empty chair a short distance away from you.
  • Take some time to ground yourself in the moment.
  • Imagine a part of yourself or someone you have recently disagreed with. Now slowly begin a dialogue between yourself and the other or self in the room. Take time getting to know / understand what you or they wanted when the disagreement / experience occurred. Is there something you would like to say to the other?
  • At the end, thank the other or part for being open to sharing and spend some time now focusing on self and what you have learned about self.

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