„The change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.”
Gestalt belongs to the humanistic psychotherapy modalities. It originally came from psychoanalysis, then evolved and integrated various approaches including psychodrama, physiotherapy in the Reich concept, phenomenology, existential philosophy, and Eastern philosophies. The creators of the Gestalt Therapy are Perls, Hefferline and Goodman, who in 1951 issued a classic but still not translated into Polish position – Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality. They made an extraordinary and creative synthesis of various disciplines, developing in a novel way the theory of personality, human functioning (organism) in contact with the environment, and the process of human development and etiology of mental disorders (disturbances in the contact of the organism/environment, the cycle of experience). Based on this theory, they created an effective method of psychotherapeutic work, which in subsequent years developed in different directions (experiential, relational, bodywork).
Gestalt is a psychotherapeutic method in which the most important are:
- Relationship between client and therapist – it is based on trust and therapeutic bond, allowing to maintain safe conditions for therapeutic work and experience of authentic contact in – between;
- „Here and Now” – experiencing emotions, desires, needs or difficulties in the present, focusing on the present moment;
- Holistic view of human – the connection and integration of the bodily, psychic, emotional and spiritual spheres; perceiving the whole environment – temporal, cultural, social as well as relational context in which person is located;
- Striving to broaden consciousness from various spheres: emotions, thoughts (ways of thinking) and bodily sensations; recognizing needs and desires, as well as mental mechanisms that block satisfying them;
- Paying attention to the uniqueness – the phenomenon of each person.
Gestalt therapy enables the overall experience of human existence by integrating sensory, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. In this modality we focus on the awareness of the present experience – being here and now. It is important to have real contact with other people and the possibility of creative adjustment of the organism to the environment. In psychotherapy we strive to become aware of the internal mechanisms that often force us to repeat, once necessary to live, but now blocking the development behavior. The Gestalt also seeks to increase awareness of our needs, shows how we stay in the cycle of their satisfaction, lets us see our evasions, illusions, fears and inhibitions.
In the process of psychotherapy we are not just trying to explain the source of our difficulties – we are looking for new solutions or other possibilities of experiencing ourselves. Gestalt Therapy assumes that each of us is responsible for our choices or lack of them. In this process You can use different methods of experiencing: psychodrama, energy work, breathing, body or voice work, emotional expression, work with dreams. However the core of Gestalt Therapy is not a method or a therapeutic technique, but a real and authentic encounter, meeting, the relationship between Me-You and the consciousness of the ongoing process.