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How Holistic Approaches and Gestalt Therapy Fit Together

Updated on February 13, 2020
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Hi, I am Raymond. I picked up psychology after my banking career as a personal interest.

How Holistic Approaches and Gestalt Therapy Fit Together - Business Walk
How Holistic Approaches and Gestalt Therapy Fit Together - Business Walk | Source

In this article, I will focus on gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapeutic movement that originated in the 1940s. It wanted to offer an alternative or complement to approaches such as behavioral therapy, client-focused psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and systemic therapy.
One of the distinguishing principles of gestalt therapy is its holistic perspective: the human being is seen as a unity of body and mind.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy (100 Key Points)
Gestalt Therapy (100 Key Points)

Gestalt therapy offers a present-focused, relational approach, central to which is the fundamental belief that the client knows the best way of adjusting to their situation. By working to heighten awareness through dialogue and creative experimentation, gestalt therapists create the conditions for a client's personal journey to health.


Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is an effective form of therapy for people experiencing mental health problems related to themselves and their environment.
Examples include: symptoms of a depressive nature, burn out, or identity issues.
Gestalt is perfectly suited for anyone who is interested in him- or herself and wants to make more of his or her life
Gestalt focuses on restoring contact with yourself and your surroundings.
The point is that you get a sense of what is blocking you. An important part of Gestalt Therapy is detecting "unfinished business."

Holistic Approach

The holistic approach assumes that humans should be approached as a whole. A person is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual unity.

This means that if one of these areas creates a disturbance it will affect the other areas.

The healing of this disturbance would therefore also have to involve all the areas.

Gestalt promotes the idea that individual elements only become meaningful within the whole context.
Please take a look at the example below and you will see what this means. The B and the 13 are identical, but only have meaning within the context of the whole.


How Holistic Approaches and Gestalt Therapy Fit Together

The basic foundation of Gestalt therapy lies in three areas: humanistic, existentialism, and phenomenological components. How holistic approaches and Gestalt therapy fit together is based on working with an individual as a whole; that is, his or her physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, historical, and cultural experiences.

All of these areas cannot be separated as they are part of the individual's life experience, and utilizing Gestalt therapy in this way will lead to more awareness, responsibility, and fulfilment in the life of the individual undergoing this therapy.

Let's take a look at the components of Gestalt therapy in order to understand their meaning and why they are so effective when used in combination with a holistic approach.

The humanistic component allows for a dialogue with the therapist that is meaningful and proactive.

The existentialist component allows for focus on the here and now - that the individual is solely responsible for his or her own fate.

The phenomenological component is used to focus on the individual's perceived view of reality. It allows for increased awareness of self and the relationship with others.

The holistic approach is a combination of the individual, family, and culture. Thus, it is the whole, not specific parts of the individual, which is explored within the present, past, and future. Finding new ways to become more aware through learning and experimentation is the key to successful Gestalt therapy.

Indeed, the holistic approach is the embodiment of Gestalt therapy. It is based on the assertion that the whole is more important than the sum of the individual parts, and all parts are related to each other. It is this principal approach that is explored: the individual's need to understand the many complexities that arise from one's background, religion, feelings, emotions, family, and physical and psychological complexities.

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Fritz Perls: Gestalt Therapy

In an excerpt from the book "Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality", Gestalt outlook is the original, undistorted, natural approach to life, to man's and woman's thinking, acting, feeling with the criteria of therapeutic progress being measured against the patient's own awareness of heightened vitality and more effective functioning.

Thus, holistic approaches and Gestalt therapy fit together perfectly. This form of therapy is not viewed as a cure-all, but offers an individual the tools to encounter any situation and deal with it successfully.

Finally, what separates the holistic approach and Gestalt therapy from other forms of psychotherapy is that each individual is seen as unique. An honest and open dialogue that reflects the views of the therapist as well as the patient is used to create acute awareness through interaction, understanding, and self-discovery.

Entertaining video displaying specific therapeutic techniques within the framework of the Gestalt therapy theoretical orientation. This film was developed as pa

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy
Gestalt Therapy

Quotes by Fritz Perls

«I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.»

«We live in a house of mirrors and think we are looking out the windows.»

«Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge.»

Fritz Perls: Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality
Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality

The seminal text setting forth the theoretical foundations of Gestalt therapy. Originally published in 1951, The Gestalt Journal Press edition restores the work to its original editorial structure and includes a new introduction by Isadore From and Michael Vincent Miller. This is the only authorized edition of this classic text.

noun: gestalt therapy a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Fritz Perls (1893–1970). It focuses on insight into gestalts in patients and their relations to the world, and often uses role playing to aid the resolution of past conflicts.
noun: gestalt therapy a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Fritz Perls (1893–1970). It focuses on insight into gestalts in patients and their relations to the world, and often uses role playing to aid the resolution of past conflicts.


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    • nocomment profile image

      Ruby Jackson 

      5 years ago

      I have hear about it but that is as far as my knowledge goes. Thanks for elaborating on the topic.


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