What is it?

Gestalt therapy focuses on the whole self – your thoughts, feelings and actions –concentrating on the ‘here and now’, to allow you to become more self-aware.

The therapy, which was developed by Frederick (Fritz) and Laura Perls in the 1940s, concentrates on what you are doing, thinking and feeling now rather than what was, might or should be. Through analysing your behaviour, body language and what you say, and by using role-play and other techniques, the therapist can help you to bring previously repressed feelings and emotions up to the surface.

It can help if …

Gestalt therapy appears to be particularly helpful in those people who find it difficult to express their emotions. It has been effective in helping people with depression and anxiety, stress, addiction, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other psychological issues holding them back from enjoying a fulfilling life.

What happens?

When you visit a gestalt therapist, you will often see an empty chair. This is an important therapeutic tool! The ‘empty chair’ technique is often used in gestalt therapy.  This is where you sit opposite an empty chair and imagine another person – someone who has caused you pain or problems – sitting there. You can then tell that person anything that you have been unable to express before. You may swap seats and out yourself in that person’s place and answer from their perspective.  You may be asked to imagine yourself in the chair, too. Your therapist will use other techniques, asking about your dreams for example.

For more information, see the United Kingdom Association for Gestalt Practitioners