In this easy I will compare and contrast two methods of treatment that may be used by a therapist when treating couples. I have chosen to compare Gestalt therapy and Person Centred Therapy.
“A non-interpretative psychotherapy which emphasises awareness and personal responsibility and adopts a holistic approach, giving equal emphasis to mind and body”. Ref; Gregory (2010).
Gestalt therapy is a phenomenological-existential therapy founded by Frederick (Fritz) and Laura Perls in the 1940s. It teaches therapists and patients the phenomenological method of awareness, in which perceiving, feeling, and acting are distinguished from interpreting and reshuffling pre-existing attitudes. Ref;Yontef (1993)
Frederick or Friedrich Salomon Perls (July 8 1893 - March 14 1970) was born a Jew in Germany. He started his career as a psychoanalyst working under the influences of Wilhelm Reich, Karen Horney, Otto Rank and other specialists. He is known for developing a completely new approach to psychotherapy which became known as Gestalt therapy which he developed with his wife Laura Perls. Gestalt is a German word meaning whole.
Gestalt therapy is based on Gestalt psychology and Hans-Jurgen Walter's Gestalt Theory of Psychotherapy. It is guided by the principle that every individual is a whole including behaviour, Mind, Body and Soul. It focuses on the process of what is actually happening in the here and now, rather than the content, what is being talked about. Gestalt therapy recognises that sometimes self-awareness can be blocked by negative behaviour and thought patterns which impacts on the individual’s ability to be happy, satisfied and fulfilled. The therapist would give emphasis on what is being felt, thought and done in the present moment rather than what might be, could be or should have been. The therapist would promote a relationship that is non-judgemental allowing the client(s) to gain a new perspective on how they are feeling and to help restore the self-awareness which is lost when a psychological disorder becomes evident. Image; Ref zuni (2010)
By developing new thought patterns therapy could provide ways to alleviate current issues and frustrations to enable the client(s) to move towards achieving their full potential. It could be said the client is moving towards self-actualisation.
Gestalt is basically a method of awareness where perceiving, feeling and doing are conducive to interpreting, explaining and conceptualising. During therapy a distinction is drawn between a direct experience versus the indirect interpretation. For the client highlighting this brings into their awareness what he or she is doing and in turn triggers the ability for them to change. It allows them to become creative and alive, clear any blocks that may be affecting satisfaction, fulfillment and growth and move forward with new ways of being. With this in mind it seems to be under the humanistic umbrella. It could also be considered cognitive in its approach as it is reasoning, rational and applies thinking processes so the client becomes aware of what they need to change. It also seems to rely heavily on the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist that develops during therapy involving actions that are both intentional and experimental to facilitate change.
Gestalt therapy uses “Phenomenology. A term used in philosophy to denote enquiry into ones conscious and particularly intellectual processes, any preconceptions about external causes and consequences being excluded”. Ref; Gregory (2010). Simply put it is a discipline that helps people stand aside from their usual way of thinking so that