there are ways in which persons are similar,
in the Gestalt approach each
person is distinct, significantly different
from all others, and perceives
the world in unique ways. Each person
is valued and respected as
is; and any changes for that person are
dictated and limited
by what that person knows and wants.
The theory and practice of Gestalt
therapy is adaptable as a way of life, since
it describes basic processes
that are suitable for any person to live
by. It offers a set of constructs
that are useful but not prescriptive.
So, what are we talking about as Gestalt
persons and practitioners?
Awareness! And along with awareness,
habits that facilitate the paying
of attention, habits that enable clear communication
and interaction with
one's environment and with one's self in
the Now, the present moment.
This therapeutic approach does not include
imperatives other than:
BE AWARE; PAY ATTENTION. It rests
on the belief that each unique
person has an inner urge toward survival
and toward wholeness — that each
person has an inner wisdom that may be heard
through the voice of personal
truth. Thus, there is a spiritual foundation
for living and for practice,
a "numinous ground" in which loving energy
is available (in both client
and therapist) to support change and growth.
And what is the therapeutic goal? Fredrick
"Fritz" Perls (et al)
calls this "maturation," the movement from
is, child-like dependence upon, or neorotic
manipulation of, the environment
for necessary support) toward
health (that is, self-support
independent of, and interactive with, the
environment in healthy ways,
with awareness of distinctions and boundaries).
There are no set
formulas for that personal state of maturation,
nor for the activities
of a Gestalt therapist in enabling that movement.
Both the process
of living one's life and of doing Gestalt
therapy are creative acts.
Much of the material presented here has been
selected or derived from the
text, "Theoretical and Practical Foundations of
by Margaret ("Pat") P. Korb, Ph.D.
Here we have endeavored to present
a number of the fundamental aspects of Gestalt
therapy theory, wherever
possible using ordinary (non-clinical) language,
and in a manner which
might be most easily grasped. This
has included an extensive use
of hyperlinks: there is no prescribed
order to the above-listed headings;
in one way or another, each facet of Gestalt
therapy theory relates to
the others. The reader will therefore
note that, throughout the texts,
certain keywords or phrases may be highlighted
or underscored, indicating
a physical link to another section of related
should reiterate that this is presented as
a basic introduction. Readers are highly
encouraged to seek out other sources of information
on Gestalt, and some of these may be found
in, or by way of, the Bibliography &
Bookmarks section (above). Theory must
accompany real life experience, just as the
Gestalt experience must be grounded in theory.
Either one, by itself, is not a complete
picture. Here at The
Gestalt Center, incorporated into our various groups and
offerings, both merge under the rubric of
Gestalt Education. As we
often put it, "Gestalt is an Approach to
living one's life, and is a theory
of and methodology for therapeutic practice."
Have fun exploring.
Korb, Ph.D., Author
Davenport, L.M.T., L.C.S.W., Co-author
John P. Korb, Co-author, Illustrator and