Gestalt Therapy

According to Corsini: “The only goal of therapy is awareness.” (Corsini, Wedding, p.345.) By this he means to emphasise the crucial importance of becoming truly self-aware. The goal is for clients to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, to learn to accept and value themselves. Positive change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not. From a relational (or field theory) perspective, change occurs when we change our relationship to the supports in our environment or increase the supports that are available in the environment. Attention is paid to a person’s whole life experience – physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal and spiritual. Each of these interconnected aspects of living is considered inseparable from a person’s immediate context, personal history, culture, relationships, hopes and aspirations for the future.

By learning to follow their own ongoing process, and to fully experience, accept, and appreciate their complete selves, clients can free themselves to make more appropriate, spontaneous and creative contact with the environment. Growth and positive change are a natural result of this self-awareness. The client is encouraged to take increased awareness of herself, to assume ownership of one’s experiences, to become more aware of all of one’s senses and emotions, and hence the way we come to view things. But how do we gain our views? We get them from the way the mind takes information from the senses and gives meaning to it. Gestalt theory talks a lot about foreground and background, where foreground is that information selected by the unconscious and which is bought to conscious awareness, background is all the other information available to the senses that is not chosen for our awareness, but interestingly, our subconscious can still respond to (this is vital to understand when we consider what we are trying to achieve with hypnotic suggestion work).

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