Monday, November 10, 2014

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy


■ The experiment in Gestalt therapy

  • o To assist clients self awareness of what they are doing and how they are doing it
  • o Expanding awareness of client
  • o Opportunity to “Try on” new behavior
  • o Experiments bring struggles to life, inviting client to enact them in the present
  • o Major emphasis on preparing clients for experiments though trusting relationship


  • o Imposing stance

● Therapist meets own agenda for the client
● Acts as expert, power and control in therapist

  • o Competing stance

● Therapist promotes rugged individualism with lots of negotiation compromise and confidence

  • o Confirming stance

● Acknowledging the whole being of client
● Client’s needs and experience center of relationship
● Ideal type of confrontation
● Invites client to look at incongruities in verbal and nonverbal language, in words
versus action.

■ Internal Dialogue o Identifies the struggle for control in a person, fragmented between controller and controlled, through Introjection of aspects of others

  • o Between top dog and underdog
  • o Between critical parent should and oughts and passive recipient without responsibility and with excuses
  • o Empty chair

● Shift client into two chairs for dialogue role lay.
● Experiences conflict

■ Reversal technique

  • o Role play the opposite of symptoms and behaviors client suffers
  • o Client tries the very thing fraught with anxiety, therefore submerged and denied
  • o Help clients to accept personal attributes that they have tried to deny

■ Rehearsal exercise

  •  o Behavioral rehearsal: role play a planned for new behavior with a person or people in client’s environment.
  • o Reduce stage fright, anxiety or fear
  • o Encourages spontaneity and willingness to experiment with new behaviors

■ Exaggeration Technique

  •  o Exaggerate movement or gesture repeatedly to intensify feelings attached by behavior to make inner meaning clear
  • o Trembling hands or feet, slouched posture, bent shoulders, clenched fists, tight frowning etc.

■ Staying with Feelings

  • o Keep client from escaping fearful stimuli and avoiding unpleasant feelings
  • o Encourage to go deeper into feeling or behavior they wish to avoid
  • o Facing, confronting, and experiencing feeling makes them able to unblock and make way for new levels of growth

● Takes courage and pain. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.