Gestalt therapy is a holistic approach where the mind, body and soul an individual as well as their experiences and emotions are considered as a whole and works on the basis that we are best understood by the way we experience our present situation. In the 1940s Gestalt therapy was developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman. This experiential and humanistic form of therapy was initially formed as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis. Gestalt is a german word which has the meaning shape or form which refers to the character or essence of things. Within Gestalt therapy the therapists and their client uses creative and experiential techniques to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction. Gestalt focuses on the present, using self-awareness to identify emotions and experiences within the current moment.
This self-awareness is a fundamental mechanism for self-development. Gestalt works to assist individuals with re-building self-awareness where it may have become blocked by negative patterns of thoughts or behaviour which often feed a feeling of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Gestalt therapy recognises that forcing a person to change causes increased distress and loss of their essence. This therapy works on the premise of acceptance of how things are and the techniques assist individuals with learning increased self-awareness and acceptance in order to trust in their personal feelings and reactions as a way of reducing distress.