What is Gestalt Therapy?

The word Gestalt is German and can most closely be translated as meaning “whole”, “form” or “pattern”. It sees each individual as a whole or pattern made up of body, mind, emotions and spirit, all of which are inextricably linked to each other. Each person is unique and engages with and experiences the world in their own unique and individual way.

Gestalt always sees the individual in relationship to and as part of their environment, so part of a bigger whole, be that of a family or workplace or in a social, political and ecological context. It recognises that we are always in relationship with others and the environment around us and the actions of any one person or part may have an impact on the other parts, as the actions of other parts also have an impact on us. Gestalt is a highly effective and accessible tool for bringing about empowering change in individuals, teams, groups and organisations.

Gestalt and the individual

Gestalt therapy aims to create greater awareness within an individual and to bring that awareness to how we are in the world. It focuses on gaining awareness of the ways in which we function successfully, as well as exploring how we sometimes stop ourselves from getting what we need and want. If we are aware of how we are, then new choices and new ways of being in life and relationships may be opened up to us. Each person is considered within the context of their current environment or situation, while also holding awareness of past experiences and relationships and how these might affect current ways of being and relating. With this awareness, gestalt counselling can bring about change which is responsible and manageable and the possibility of living in a more satisfying and effective way.

Gestalt and organisations, teams and groups

In understanding the place of the individual within the bigger picture, Gestalt is a highly effective tool for creating and managing change in an organisational context. It brings clarity and understanding to how people communicate with and relate to each other, and in so doing can open up alternative and positive pathways. 

“If a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo today, a month later it may cause a hurricane in Brazil.”

The Collapse of Chaos, Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart