What is Gestalt Therapy? (Training and Courses)

Gestalt Therapy is an alternative way to address a range of emotional and behavioral issues. It works by allowing you to consciously explore the way you feel about situations and how they may have an impact on you. The technique often includes the empty chair technique, in which you are placed across from an empty chair and asked to imagine a person or part of yourself sitting in it.

The therapist will then encourage you to make a dialogue between the empty chair and you, engaging your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The exercise aims to help you become more aware of the whole situation, including parts of yourself that you may have forgotten about.

Gestalt therapy encourages present-focused living. It promotes self-awareness, accountability, and present-moment decision-making. Gestalt therapy helps patients make meaningful life changes by enhancing their awareness of their ideas, emotions, and behaviors.

The therapy involves working with a trained therapist to explore and understand how one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected and how they may be contributing to one’s current difficulties. Techniques used in Gestalt therapy include role-playing, dialogue, and visualization.

Gestalt Therapy Training

Gestalt Therapy Training aims to enhance an individual’s capacity to engage in good relationships. It is a comprehensive courses that focuses on developing personal awareness, making good contact and developing capacity for relationship. The training comprises two modules, Module One primarily experiential and Module Two more theoretical. The latter includes reading and discussion.

In this program, trainees learn about Gestalt theory and practice by working with a senior staff trainer. They also can practice the skills learned in the two-year training program. The advanced training program fosters theoretical inquiry, skill development and personal growth and integrates Gestalt theory into their own style of therapeutic practice.

Experienced therapists lead training in Gestalt. Dr. Gail Feinstein has over 40 years’ experience in psychotherapy. She is also an experienced trainer, supervisor and ritual consultant. She is deeply committed to awakening women and holding space for their spiritual and psychological growth. She is a practicing psychotherapist and the former president of the Association for Advancement of Gestalt Therapy.

Gestalt Processing

A Gestalt Therapist applies the philosophy of wholeness to the treatment of clients. Gestalt therapists believe that we cannot fully understand ourselves and our interactions with others unless we consider the whole person. A Gestalt therapist will consider the patient’s temperament, personality, family history, beliefs, and cognitive processes. This will allow them to work with the whole person.

Gestalt therapy originated in the 1940s. Paul Goodman and Ralph Hefferline authored the book, “The Gestalt Therapist,” in 1951. The title translates to “Excitement and Growth in Human Personality.” Perls and his wife Laura founded the Gestalt Institute in 1952 in their Manhattan apartment. The institute began teaching Gestalt therapy and focused on personal growth.

One of the quintessential exercises of Gestalt therapy is called the empty chair technique. In this technique, a person in therapy sits across from an empty chair and imagines someone or a part of themselves sitting in the chair. The therapist encourages this dialogue between the person in therapy and the chair, engaging the person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The technique allows the client to become aware of the whole situation and helps the person uncover the parts of themselves that they may have forgotten.

Gestalt Institute New York

Some of the world’s most famous and innovative therapists have trained at the Gestalt Institute in New York. The Institute was founded by Sidney Gershenson, a psychologist who developed the therapy in the 1960s. There are a number of different training programs for Gestalttherapists, including the Interdisziplinares Gestalt Training and the International Gestalt Training Community.

In addition to the New York campus, the Institute also has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas. The Institute also offers a free online video course for its students. The course covers topics ranging from the psychology of dance to the philosophy of movement. It also offers an APA Division 32 Continuing Education conference on Gestalt as an aesthetic philosophy.

Related Article: Humanistic Therapy

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