What is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt Therapy was created and developed by Fritz Perls (1893-1970). It takes its name and is influenced by the German School of Gestalt, psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung, Rank, etc.), phenomenology, and existentialism. Perls also drew on W. Reich´s notion of bodywork, a defence mechanisms and characterological armour, for this reason Gestalt Therapy employs theatrical, expressive and psychodramatic techniques.

Gestalt Therapy focuses on present experience rather than concentrating on the past. The emphasis is on raising awareness of here and now, on a mental, emotional and physical plane. Recalling past events and projecting into the future are activities that occur in the present. There is no need to dig up the past given that any unfinished business and/or personality problems are in the present and are struggling to emerge. The task of the therapists is to raise awareness to facilitate the resolution or integration.

Gestalt Therapy relies on the principle of self-regulation of mind and body. Healthy individuals are able to identify their priorities and needs and satisfy them. Gestalt Therapy seeks to analyze how people react and interact with their environment in the process of satisfying needs under changing experiences and circumstances. People either live in harmony with the world around them or by experience a breakdown with other individuals and the environment that surrounds them, which can engender phobias that drain vitality, spontaneity, and the ability to communicate. The most effective way of integrating personality is to bring past events that have become fossilized to the forefront so they can be updated in the present. Thus, the therapeutic process fosters renewed contacts with certain personality aspects that have remained dormant in order to recover facets that have become alienated, that is, to reclaim one´s life and to actively participate in the world we live in.

As Perls would say, Gestalt Therapy is just too good to restrict it to neurotics or the mentally imbalanced. Thus the benefits of Gestalt therapy are twofold, it heals by enabling an individual to overcome symptoms and problems; and it provides techniques for personal growth and development that foster "a broad spectrum of healthy attitudes, and the feeling of self-fulfilment in life." In essence, Gestalt is a way of living your life with your feet firmly on the ground. In other words, it is the path to self-fulfilment by accepting personal responsibility.

Gestalt is therefore best understood as an “approach” rather than just “therapy” that is restricted to clinical treatment.

In short, Gestalt therapy aims to show you how:

  • to live your life here and now.
  • to stop fantasizing and come into contact with the world around you.
  • to stop pondering about things (navel-gazing) and to start doing them.
  • to stop pretending to be, so you can be what you really are, that is, be what you are, no matter what you are
  • to express your feelings and emotions and communicate them to others.
  • to take full responsibility for your personal actions, feelings, emotions and thoughts

Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Therapy

In the field of psychology there are a number approaches and techniques for dealing with personal problems. Some schools focus on the analysis of symptoms prior to seeking a remedy, others search for the inner conflicts that generate them. Humanistic psychology belongs to the latter school of thought and encompasses transactional analysis, bioenergetic analysis and Gestalt Therapy which have a holistic perspective.

Many thoughts come to mind when we hear the word “psychologist”. For humanistic therapy, both the therapist and the client are in harmony given that the psychologist is not the “expert” who dictates what happens in each session. The objective is to develop your awareness, to empower you by nurturing your personal skill and resources, and to improve your health and wellbeing.

The therapist focuses on your present life and tailors therapy to what you can cope with at a given moment in time. Taking into account your natural rhythm and personal needs, the therapeutic methods and tools are adjusted to meet your unique circumstances.

Transpersonal therapy embraces both western psychological thought, and oriental philosophy and tradition that emphasize the continuity of human beings in physical, mental and emotional dimensions. Hence, transpersonal therapy is the fourth dimension of psychology that breaks the barriers between behavioural-cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology.

The nexus between transpersonal therapy and oriental philosophy encourages an individual to come into contact with the most essential and absolute true self, the real “I” that remains hidden. The real “I” is the source of energy for healing and personal growth through self-support rather than by attempting to manipulate others and their environment. Therapy involves raising the levels of deep conscience using techniques such as sustained concentration, observation and integration. Regardless of our previous thoughts and beliefs, the therapeutic experience of introspection and the high levels of consciences enable people to contemplate and understand their own lives and the surrounding environment.

When should I speak to a therapist?

When you are ready and you feel like it.

Everyone has their own reasons for speaking to a therapist in order to understand and solve personal conflicts. Therapy through awareness of identity transcends the primary function of healing and provides feedback for one’s own personal development.

Transpersonal therapy is particularly beneficial for those who have undergone a traumatic experience that has shaken or transformed their view of life, for those whose identity is inconsistent with their lifestyle, and for those who wish to enhance their identity awareness and understanding to achieve personal fulfilment.

How can it help me to help myself?

Therapy seeks to explore your emotional territory rather than to intellectualize about it. Unmasking your face in front of others, and unmasking your face and facing the mask is taking the risk of sharing your experience of the present both in fantasy and reality. What you will discover is yourself, your mind should be transcendental and free from all kinds of desire; concentrate on yourself for ultimate realization. There is no greater voyage than the journey to the depth of your heart and mind where feelings and thoughts embrace in the calm waters of contemplation.

A fresh outlook and a new life

The essence of Gestalt therapy is the focus on here-and-now. Whether it be nostalgia, regret, resentment, and fantasy of past situations and events that were there-and-then or be it thinking, planning, imagining, hoping, anticipating, guessing, and dreading tomorrow, the present is now - yesterday and tomorrow are in my present imagination. Therapy seeks personal growth and wellbeing through a fresh outlook of life and in becoming me here-and-now.

I invite you on a journey to discover yourself. There are no fixed objectives on the path to gain personal insight. Your personal awareness will be the best companion.


José Antonio Marzoa Puga

17, rue J-B Fresez
L-1542 Luxembourg

+ 352 621 189 475