Gestalt Psychotherapy is a powerful form of psychotherapy that focuses directly on feelings to develop emotional depth and sensitivity and to resolve emotional pain . We focus on noticing and working with sensation in the body, allowing it to grow and develop naturally into a state of awareness of all parts of self. This deep understanding of our self leads us more easily into decisions and actions, even difficult ones, that we need to take. Patients don’t wonder if the therapy is working or not: they experience real differences in how they feel and what they can do or refrain from doing in the world.
In Gestalt, we develop the capacity to:
- BE–To live our lives fully and richly, not merely to endure repetitive patterns that keep us prisoner in an intellectual prison, bore us, limit us, and give us pain; To find what really nourishes us in this world, including the ability to find and enjoy our own authenticity, our real self.
- HERE–Right here is where the juice of life is, not fantasizing about the future or being trapped in the past. Can you see this person you are talking to or do you experience a grey overlay of people who have hurt you earlier in life? Can you hear what this person is actually saying and not change their meaning to fit what you think they should mean? Your body lives right here, telling you what you are experiencing, not just thinking.
- NOW–Now is all we have. Unless we stop them, our past and our future intrude into our now and steal our vitality and joy. Rules, relationships, and regrets from our past convince us that that is all we can hope for in life, that we have to continue doing and being the same as we were back then, when in fact, NOW offers us freedom and choice.
Gestalt psychotherapy is an emotion-focused, growth therapy that is different from cognitive behavioral therapies (cbt) which focus on how people are thinking and making decisions. Anyone who has ever looked at that piece of chocolate cake and said to himself “I’m not going to eat it” and ten minutes later is licking off the last of the crumbs and feeling shame, knows precisely that our smart brains are not what goes wrong in our life, but that it’s the “self” that doesn’t seem to be us, the “self” that ate the cake against our wishes, that powerfully affects how we feel, how we live, and how we conduct our relationships. To achieve wholeness in this world, we must explore and understand how all part of the self work, and bring them into a cooperative supportive whole.
I see smart people in my practice, and every single one of them has tried mightily to use their smart brain to solve their problems and haven’t succeeded. They come to see me because they are experiencing suffering and pain and want to experience satisfaction and joy in their lives. In Gestalt therapy, we pursue happiness by focusing directly on those painful feelings, understanding them at a deep level, and resolving them.