„My kind of therapy doesn’t want to ‘fix’ you – it wants to free you.“.
What is Gestalt therapy? – My approach
Gestalt therapy is an experimental, humanistic form of therapy. This means, first and foremost, that I do not claim to have a ready-made solution for each problem which is then forced on the client. Rather, it is a matter of enabling clients to help themselves, accept themselves and to develop their own solutions.
The decisive factor for me is always the individual psychological strain: If something is no problem for you, it is also no problem for me! I respect your perception and you decide for yourself what you want to work on and where you see the need for change.
The needs, freedom of choice and self-responsibility of the client are always the focus. Maybe I will suggest little experiments – trying a new method or a different reaction, for example. You decide for yourself whether you want to explore or whether it just “doesn’t feel right” at the moment.
Gestalt therapy is based on a resource-oriented idea of man: the trust in the ability of every person to bring forth creative growth and constructive change.
Gestalt therapy does not recognize any concept of disease – every “problem” is perceived as functional and as a solution to another problem. The client does not have to fear that his or her individual traits will be devalued or pathologized. Rather, they may explore for themselves what purpose their behavior or feeling serves. By experimenting in the safe environment of therapy, new ways are explored to experience oneself and handle situations.
Empathy and respect in the therapeutic relationship
The contact between the therapist and the client is best expressed as teamwork and co-operation, but with clearly defined roles: I accompany you with a lot of attention, make my perception available to you and secure the setting within which you explore, discover and develop.
People often ask whether therapists “know what they do “. In my opinion, this question can only be answered with “to a certain extent”. People are wonderfully complex and individual – so much so that no one could easily create a solution out of thin air. We work out solutions and ways together and as much time as needed.
The methods of Gestalt therapy are creative and almost unlimited.
It may be that we are mainly conversing while sitting comfortably. Depending on your needs, we may also paint, draw, sing, dance or express ourselves using instruments. If you like, we will try out movement meditations or classical meditations. We might also explore aggression or fight each other (with special, therapeutic foam weapons, which are safe to use even for children), improvise with our voice and bodies or try mindful or physical exercises.
A typical method of Gestalt therapy is the work with so-called internal parts: on our inner stage, various actors may appear, e.g. the inner mother, the inner child, or even the inner “lazy” part and the inner whip (Freud called the last two Id and Superego). By identifying with and/or confronting these parts of ourselves, we reach higher integrity and wholeness.
Classical methods of behavioral therapy are also used when the circumstances require it or when the client feels the need to.
Gestalt therapy is not esoteric. At no time will methods be kept secrets. On request, I am happy to explain what I just did on the theoretical or meta-level. For theoretically inclined clients in particular, this approach can prove beneficial to find an access to therapy and self-experience.
Building trust can take a long time, especially when dealing with issues of shame or guilt. You choose your own speed.
Of course, I do not exchange details about sessions and clients with anybody, not even people who are close to me. I take this responsibility seriously.
Anybody can work with me, regardless of age, sex, gender, sexual preference, relationship and so on. In the case of children younger than 14, I first have an intake talk with a parent or legal guardian.
More detailed information on Gestalt therapy and its background is available on Wikipedia in a well-written article.
For many subjects I have specialist literature, which can be borrowed by clients, if desired.