Gestalt therapy has become a common psychological technique used by therapists to treat depression, low confidence, anxiety, and poor communication skills.
As opposed to other types of therapy, gestalt therapy mainly focuses on current issues rather than talking about past experiences. It can also help to resolve relationship conflicts and family issues.
Let’s discuss a few different ways to find a gestalt therapist near you.
Gestalt therapy platforms
BetterHelp is an online platform that provides access to licensed gestalt therapists, while the GTIP Associates Directory is a website that can help you find a gestalt therapist located near you.
Below, we’ve reviewed each of these options for finding a gestalt therapist, to see which might be the best choice for your specific needs.
BetterHelp is an online platform that provides private, affordable gestalt therapy sessions anytime and anywhere – all you need is stable internet and a laptop, mobile, or tablet.
Before getting started on BetterHelp, you have to fill out a short questionnaire that will help the site match you with the right gestalt therapist. You can specify what you’re looking for in a therapist, such as their gender, and the fact that you’re looking for a gestalt therapist.
This information also helps your future therapist to learn more about the issues you want to overcome.
Once you answer all the questions, BetterHelp will help you match with the best available therapist for your specific needs. All the therapists available are accredited professionals with extensive experience in their field.
You can attend therapy sessions at a time that works for you, including outside of business hours, and you can contact your therapist via text messages, audio calls, video calls, or live chat. You’ll have one therapy session each week, typically over a video call, or over live chat if you’d prefer.
Moreover, you can change your therapist at any time in case you don’t feel completely satisfied with their service.
BetterHelp has financial aid options available for certain groups of people, including students and unemployed persons, which can make it an affordable platform for online therapy sessions. In addition, all the therapists who offer gestalt therapy on this platform are licensed and have thousands of hours of counseling experience, ensuring that they have the knowledge necessary to help you work through your issues.
The Gestalt Training Institute of Philadelphia (GTIP) has an extensive directory of licensed Gestalt therapists, that you can search on their website.
This directory includes not just mental health professionals who have graduated from the GTIP, but also therapists from other gestalt therapy training institutes who have achieved the right qualifications.
The biography of each therapist in the directory includes detailed information about the service they provide, making it easy to evaluate different counselors.
In addition to their client focus, you can also find the working philosophy of each mental health professional. Each therapist will also provide a bit of information about who they specialize in helping, and the types of issues they focus on in gestalt therapy.
You can find their address and other contact details from the therapist’s provided information. Moreover, you can see whether they offer virtual assistance or not, in case you’re looking for online therapy.
This directory also provides the fee range of each therapist, allowing you to see what counseling sessions will cost. This means that you don’t have to reach out to each therapist to see what you’ll end up paying, which is a nice touch.
What is gestalt therapy?
Gestalt therapy is a type of psychological therapy used to manage the symptoms of mental health conditions and their effects on the human body.
It is focused on improving interpersonal skills and self-confidence, and allows the patient to have improved interactions with their society, community, and surroundings, with the help of different techniques, especially role-play.
Gestalt therapy aims to help people to achieve equilibrium in their life. The sessions allow patients to concentrate and achieve a balance in different aspects of their life, for example between physical health and parental responsibilities.
Why might you need gestalt therapy?
You may like to see a gestalt therapist if you face problems linked with your mental health, including anxiety, depression or stress, low self-dignity or self-worth, and difficulties in relationships.
Gestalt therapy can also help with some physical conditions, such as migraines.
Focus of gestalt therapy
Gestalt therapy can help you deal with different mental and emotional health issues by focusing on the following aspects.
When you are disconnected from your emotions, worldly affairs, or immediate environment, you cannot identify or understand your body’s sensations. Healing is only possible when you are more mindful and self-aware.
Gestalt therapy focuses on self-awareness, so that you may be able to reduce your distress by knowing the cause of your emotional disturbances.
In addition, this type of therapy helps you understand that your physical and mental health are interrelated, so you may have a better quality of life by looking after yourself more holistically, allowing you to deal with your issues more effectively.
Significance of your personal context
Therapists may use different tools to help you become more conscious of your thoughts, experiences, and reaction to here-and-now situations. However, a therapist cannot understand you without knowing your context.
Your gestalt therapist accepts the rationality and truthfulness of your experience, no matter what you share with them.
Living in the present moment
Under the philosophy of gestalt therapy, living in the past or thinking too much about the future is not good practice – instead, you need to work hard to deal with the present affairs, which may be helpful as you can’t predict the future and can’t undo past events.
Focusing on present affairs instead of the past doesn’t mean the therapist neglects your previous issues or future probabilities.
You are asked to discuss your issues and memories in the present situation. Past experiences raised may be investigated to uncover what made a specific memory emerge in that moment, or how past experiences influence your current mental health.
Essentially, in gestalt therapy, you can tackle your past disputes when you become aware of your present affairs. Once you have become more aware in the present moment, you may tackle past conflicts or issues that you want to overcome.
Experiences influence perceptions
A therapist helps you to share your truth or experience without judging you, and allows you to gain a better perception of your own experiences. This in turn helps to stimulate your mental growth and development.
Gestalt therapy works for you when your therapist uses absolute acceptance of your experiences, compassion, and comprehension to improve your perceptions of your current self, giving you a greater sense of clarity in life.
Coping with painful experiences
People sometimes hide away hurtful memories to avoid having to deal with them. But gestalt therapy encourages you to share your thoughts and experiences openly.
Sometimes, these memories may not be immediately available at the beginning of treatment – instead they emerge over time as you open up to your therapist.
Your counselor understands that harsh experiences may come forward when you are ready for healing in that area. Importantly, this process should not be rushed in gestalt therapy.
Methods used in gestalt therapy
This type of therapy works in groups or individually and involves a number of different types of exercises.
In gestalt therapy, you will go through some of the activities explained below, to help you become more mindful and aware in the present moment.
This therapy technique involves visualizing and taking part in an imaginary conversation with yourself or another person.
For example, you might be sitting in front of a vacant chair while your therapist invites you to imagine someone you want to question sitting in front of you. Then you may talk with the person you imagine sitting in that empty chair.
This therapy exercise can help you to heal from your past traumas, give you greater awareness of your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and make you mindful of who or what is troubling you.
This is the same as the empty chair technique, but in this gestalt therapy exercise, you take turns and switch between the two chairs every so often. When you are in the other chair, you answer the questions you asked before, as the person you’re imagining yourself talking to.
This technique makes you more aware of the other person’s point of view, by having a pretend interpersonal talk with the individual with which you had a dispute. Of course, if the situation was bad enough that the other person was clearly in the wrong, your therapist will likely use other methods to help work through this.
During therapy sessions, when you talk about emotions, your therapist may ask you where you feel that emotion in your body. For example, you may show it as a feeling in the chest, tightness in the shoulders, or a lump in the throat.
By knowing this, you may become more aware of your feelings and how they affect you on a physical level, and you may uncover some emotions that were masked by other emotions. You may learn to better believe or understand your feelings by bringing them to the surface.
Focusing on “I” statements
The language and tone you use matter a lot in gestalt therapy. As you are motivated to take responsibility, you may learn to use language that shows personal ownership instead of emphasizing others’ experiences.
For example, gestalt therapy encourages you to utilize “I” statements to inspire personal accountability. Instead of saying, “it made me annoyed” you could say, “I feel annoyed.” The use of “I” enhances self-awareness according to the philosophy of gestalt therapy.
Activities such as drawing and painting can help to improve self-awareness in the present moment.
Sometimes, it’s more helpful to use these types of creative activities than sitting down and speaking with your therapist, in that it can sometimes allow the therapist to more quickly evaluate your mental state and mindfulness in the current moment.
Also, this gestalt therapy technique is beneficial for you as it aids in enhancing awareness about yourself, and your perception of previous experiences.
Body language analysis
Your therapist works closely with you during the sessions, observing gestures and facial expressions. For example, the therapist may ask, “I notice you put your hand on your belly when talking. Why do you suppose you do that?”
Your therapist may ask you to give your body parts or facial expressions a voice and talk from that place. Focusing on body language with your counselor gives you greater awareness of what you are doing and what it means, which your therapist can use to help you work through your issues.
As well as analyzing your body language in normal conversation, your therapist may ask you to overemphasize a gesture you made or repeat it many times during the session.
This may be particularly helpful when it is hard for you to explain the current situation or your feelings at the moment, especially when you are working through complex issues with your therapist.
If you’re looking for a type of mental health treatment that will make you more mindful and aware in the present moment, gestalt therapy can be a good solution when compared to other techniques such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
If you’re still not sure how to find the right gestalt therapist for your specific needs, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll respond as soon as possible.
About the author
When people experience mental trauma or face severe stress, their lives can unravel. My job is to help begin the healing process. I help my patients improve their mental health, strengthen relationships with others, and begin to overcome past traumas. I practice a large range of psycho-behavioral therapies, and have more than three years’ experience in clinical psychology and counseling.
In my spare time, I’m also a professional writer who spreads awareness about mental health issues. I have written many articles on this topic over the years for numerous different publications.
My educational background includes an M.B.B.S from the University of Health and Sciences, Lahore, majoring in Behavioral Sciences, and a Bachelors from G.C University, Faisalabad.