When I try to explain the gestalt approach, I experience a degree of stress – my shoulders and chest slowly tighten and my breathing goes shallow. I take a deep breath, pause for a moment looking for a supportive thought, saying to myself: “It’s okay to struggle“. This thought relaxes me, my shoulders drop and my breathing returns to normal.
I find the gestalt approach challenging to explain due to its creative nature. The core, however, is to really understand your process. As I outline above, my stress response is the physical impact on my body. Understanding internal and external processes is at the core of gestalt therapy, helping to raise awareness how we are in relationship with ourselves and others.
Relationship with Self and Others
As humans we are social creatures in need for connection for our survival. When we experience adversity our capacity for connection can be blocked off or reduced. The gestalt approach can help in gaining more self-awareness and finding choices in relating to yourself and others.
The gestalt approach emphasises that we are ‘whole’ selves and not separated entities of body, mind and soul. It is often the body that remembers psychological wounds. Understanding how your body responds can be helpful in managing embodied experiences like anxiety and stress.
Creativity & Experimentation
I value creativity and experimentation within the gestalt approach. Experiments have the potential to create immediate insights that helps to make sense of a situation, an event or a relationship. Experiments can be very simple, like saying something out loud that you have never said before.