What is Gestalt Therapy?
There is no exact translation of the word ‘Gestalt’ in English. The nearest explanation is “whole or pattern or form” One of the key goals of Gestalt therapy is that by integrating mind, body and behaviour the client will become more authentic .
Gestalt Therapy is an Existential / phenomenological approach. Meaning that each person’s perception and interpretation of the world is unique. It stresses that the client takes personal responsibility.
Gestalt falls within the category of Humanistic Therapies and believes that humans have an innate drive to develop and reach their full potential.
Gestalt therapy works in the “Here and Now” focusing on the clients’ experience in the present moment. Thus raising the client’s awareness to the possibility for change. Without awareness change is not possible.
Gestalt is recognised for its creative or experimental approach, a therapist may use many techniques such as dream work, working with metaphor and symbolism, chair work and visualization.
Fritz Perls was the main developer of Gestalt therapy in the 1940’s
What is Person Centred Therapy?
This approach is derived from the work of psychologist Carl Rogers.
As an approach to therapy it is non-directive, it is a theory that trusts the innate tendency of human beings to find fulfilment of their potential. Rogers suggested that a certain psychological should exist for successful therapy to take place. This is made possible when the client is in relationship with counsellor who is deeply understanding (empathic), accepting (having unconditional positive regard) and genuine (congruent).
It is a theory which holds that being human is to be sociable and in relationship with others, and to have a desire to know and be known by other people. It also asks that we are open to experience, that we can trust and be trusted, that we are curious about our world and about ourselves, and that we are creative and compassionate.
What is Existentialism?
Existentialism was at one time the ground of philosophical enquiry but later Binswanger in Switzerland began to use this in his work in psychotherapy. Rollo May amongst others was instrumental in maintaining this approach to engage with people’s ultimate concerns, their understanding of their position in the world and what it means to be alive. Existentialism holds that thought disturbance and health are two sides of the same coin, living satisfactorily means to be open to what life brings both positive and negative and involves coming to terms with life.
The goal of existential therapy is not one of cure or to change people but to support the individual to take responsibility for their own lives and to come to terms with the transformative process of life itself and in so doing find the meaning of their existence.