Gestalt Psychotherapy

What is Gestalt?

The theory of Gestalt therapy has three major sources. First is psychoanalysis, which contributed some of its major principles concerned with the inner life. Humanistic, Holistic, Phenomenological and Existential writings, which centre on personal experience and everyday life, constitute a second source. Gestalt psychology, the third source, gave to Gestalt therapy much more than its name.

Though Gestalt therapy is not directly an application or extension of it, Gestalt psychology's thorough-going concentration on interaction and process, many of its important experimental observations and conclusions, and its insistence that a psychology about humans must include the dynamic of human experience have inspired and informed Gestalt therapy.

Gestalt psychology, for example, is concerned with the nature and structure of perceptual experience. This work is unavoidably present-centred: By definition it is about what is perceived in the present moment.  This is also true of phenomenology.  Phenomenology takes as its subject matter the study of the objects and events we perceive and the development of thorough and comprehensive methods for observing and examining them.

The philosophical school called existentialism takes as its main concern modern (and present-centred) questions about the nature and meaning of living, death, and personal relations, and the nature of our relation to authorities, including God.

Present Centred Therapy

What does"present centred" mean?  In essence, it means that what is important is what is actual, not what is potential or what is past, but what is here, now. What is actual is, in terms of time, always the present; in terms of location, it is what is here, in front of us. Hence this familiar phrase: the here and now. Behind this idea is the conviction that studying, describing, and observing what is available to us now will allow us to comprehend it satisfactorily. Consider Kierkegaard's famous phrase, "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."