Gestalt therapy is a type of psychotherapy which was developed in the 1940s and 1950s by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman. This form of psychotherapy has a strong focus on the existential and experiential. Gestalt therapy is a result of breaking away from the traditional psychoanalysis method as developed by Freud. The main difference is that, in Gestalt therapy, the patient is an integral part of the process. The patient must achieve self awareness and reach conclusions on his own, with the therapist serving as a guide. Since its inception, Gestalt therapy has evolved in many ways, but this basic premise of self awareness still remains.
Therapists who specialize in Gestalt therapy are particularly skilled in observing the body language of their patients. This is due to the fact that this kind of therapy is also dependent on the idea that the behaviors of a person determine his contact and interaction with others. Unwittingly, a person may have a set of behaviors that interfere with his relationships, and this is what Gestalt therapy aims to discover. The job of the therapist, then, is to observe keenly how the patient behaves relating to his relationships.
The term “Gestalt experience” has been largely used in the sense that therapists help their patients reach moments of enlightenment. That is, there are moments during the course of the therapy wherein the patient “suddenly” gains insight about himself or his situation. These moments are also called “Gestalts”.
There aren’t many therapists who strictly follow Gestalt therapy today. However, other forms of psychotherapy do use the idea of self awareness to a certain degree.