Just as there are many different types of mental and behavioral disorders, so too are there multiple therapeutic modalities, each one designed to help someone understand the origin of symptoms and overcome their challenges. Most forms of psychotherapy fall into one of two categories. The first one uses an introspective approach that seeks to understand how one’s past experiences have influenced present-day struggles. The second involves focusing on the here and now, instead of looking to the past to place blame. Gestalt Therapy is in the latter category as it focuses on gaining awareness of the present moment, in the present context.
If you struggle with anxiety, depression, relationship problems, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues, Gestalt Therapy may be able to help. At Blair Wellness Group, we specialize in treating a variety of conditions and disorders. We rely on various evidence-based treatment approaches including the use of Gestalt Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and more. If you need help and are searching for the best psychologist in Los Angeles, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment.
What is Gestalt Therapy?
The word Gestalt is a German word that has no direct translation but has come to mean “shape” or “whole”. With regard to psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy is a holistic approach that focuses on the entirety of a person as being more than just a sum of individual components or experiences. Within the realm of this therapy, people are viewed as beings that are intricately linked to their environments. It is only through achieving greater self-awareness and an understanding of how the choices one makes affect health, happiness, and relationships, that one can learn to address their problems.
There are several ways that Gestalt Therapy aims to help people achieve self-awareness. It is through these key processes and the collaborative relationship between psychologist and client that a person can achieve healing and balance.
Focus on the Present
People are encouraged to discover and discuss suppressed feelings. Acknowledging the emotions that are being felt in the moment, instead of ruminating on the events of the past can help promote a greater understanding of where they may have come from and how they might influence present and future choices.
Prioritize Current Interactions Over Past Experiences
Dwelling on past experiences may be the focus of some forms of psychotherapy, but with Gestalt Therapy, it is the present “here-and-now” that is most important. That isn’t to say that what happened in the past won’t have an impact on the future, but those experiences should be addressed within the context of the present day.
Most people are used to talking about how they feel, but talking and truly experiencing are two different things. A person who is depressed may say that they feel sad or isolated, but when asked how this emotion feels within their body, they might describe random aches and pains or a knot in their stomach.
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Conditions Treated Using Gestalt Therapy
Gestalt Therapy can be used alone, or in conjunction with other forms of psychotherapy to treat a variety of mental health conditions including:
- Self-esteem issues
- Relationship problems
- Personality disorders
In addition to being an effective therapy for these and other psychological disorders, Gestalt Therapy has also proved to be useful to people looking to identify the cause of a particular habit or wishing to develop new ways of thinking that will enhance their inner peace. It was traditionally just used to treat those suffering from anxiety and depression, but new uses and benefits are being discovered all the time.
Techniques Used in Gestalt Therapy
The goal of Gestalt Therapy is to promote greater self-awareness, release the past, and embrace the present through meaningful interaction with a psychologist. Clients are encouraged to talk about their emotions and experiences in a safe and supportive space without having to fear judgment. By bringing things out into the open they may not only be acknowledged, but they can be processed so they are no longer a barrier to health and fulfillment.
Some of the techniques used in Gestalt Therapy include:
During this exercise, an individual may be asked to play different roles, engaging different parts of their personality in order to become more aware of inner conflicts and learn empathy toward other people.
Engaging in Creative Arts
Sometimes psychologist look beyond traditional talk therapy methods and employ the use of creative activities such as drawing, painting, or sculpting. It is well-known that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being, and in the context of Gestalt Therapy, it can be used to help someone become more self-aware and stay present in the moment.
This is another role-playing exercise in which someone imagines being in a conversation with another person or another side of themselves. This technique can prove to be very useful for identifying perceptions and other information as well as thoughts or emotions that were forgotten.
Benefits of Gestalt Therapy
The improved self-awareness that one gains through Gestalt Therapy can prove to be very beneficial in many areas of life. For instance, this new awareness can promote:
- Better awareness of needs
- Enhanced tolerance for negative emotions
- Greater self-control
- Improved communication skills
- Enhanced ability to cope with stressful situations
- Better understanding of one’s emotions
- Ability to make peace with the past
- Increased self-confidence
Learn More About Gestalt Therapy at Blair Wellness Group
Gestalt Therapy may or may not be the right therapy for your particular situation, but it’s one of many proven and effective tools that are used at Blair Wellness Group. Dr. Cassidy Blair is a dedicated licensed clinical psychologist who is experienced in helping people who struggle with mental health conditions and the symptoms that accompany them. If you’re looking for the best psychologist in Los Angeles — one who can help you work through your problems and become your best self — we encourage you to make an appointment today. Contact Blair Wellness Group at 310-999-4996.
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