Gestalt Psychotherapy.

Gestalt psychotherapy is a an existential therapy, where conclusions do not come only from ones mind, but also from other centres such as the emotional and motor. This is very important from my point of view, as far as it may reach faster and further than other therapies where after long years of work, one comes to understand where it comes from, but not integrate it, let alone be happier or more responsible for such a thing.

Therapist work is about accompanying, supporting and confronting, by pointing out what is obvious, so that he does not interfere with his own interpretation about the way the other should carry his or her life, keeping aside of any judgment. Thus, it is the very person, who is responsible for his or her life and decisions through the process of awareness, facilitated by the therapist.

Gestalt Therapy can be worked, among other ways, through your mind, body, creativity, in a group, couple or one to one session.

Deepening into Gestalt Therapy:
Gestalt Psychotherapy was created by Fritz Pearls, Psychoanalyst, who bathed by the influence of merging humanist and oriental influences, created his own method, apart from psychoanalysis. Thus, we can appreciate in his work, the Existentialism, Phenomenology, Morenos Psychodrama, Reichs body work, Taoism and Zen, above all.

Let us try to make a short summary of something really long.

We say “existential” therapy because it revolts around the way the individual drives his own life, being therefore fully responsible for it. Awareness leads to a point of responsibility where the person does not complain about his life, bad luck or so, because he understands the way his own decisions have leaded him to this. For instance, there are people complaining about not being capable of finding a job or keeping a relationship stable. Thanks to therapy he realizes how many jobs he would not accept, and how much he is doing in order not to be hired, unconsciously, for whatever reason, or the way he sabotages his relationships, for some hidden reason, such as fear to intimacy, for instance. To see all this, leaves him in a place, where he is no longer a victim of live, but responsible for a great deal of what he undergoes.

Phenomenology is the key to this working method since it skips the interpretation on behalf of the therapist, who simply points out the obvious, what merges, as such is the actual meaning of gestalt. This, seeming very obvious, is not so much for the very person, who lives in the shadow, out of the light, that the rest of us, see so clearly (when it does not concern us). An example of such a thing is the person who speaks about the love he has for his couple, while tapping the table with his fist. The therapist would not interpret such body language, but would simply imitate him, so that he could see him self in the mirror. Looking from the our side, he may learn that not only love is within him, which is difficult to see, let alone reconcile.

Psycodrama is at the very essence of polarities work in therapy, which being experiential, leads the person not only to be aware from his mind, but also from his heart and soul. Coming to understand what the other person may have felt at a certain moment. The extent of this work is very powerful, because, the person can really step into somebody else’s shoes, (mother, father, couple, boss…), yet again without the interpretation of the therapist. “To see deeper from the outside”.

Bodywork from Reich, Lowen, Tai chi and so on, are also key to this, melted, where information often comes not only from the mind but also merges from the body. Beneath there might be an emotion or a trauma crystallized. When setting free this part of the body, this hidden information, pops up thanks to consciousness, and we may digest it with the support and confrontation of the therapist, who is a real travelmat through inner heaven and hell.

Then again, Tai Chi, not so much because of the body, but for the Taoist, providing a way of living and a series of very clear principles shared with Gestalt: non interference principle, work with polarities, sense of belonging to a Tao, a Unit, the overall, where we are all living, growing, meeting and breaking away. True spirituality undressed of any religion. In the same line, the meditative work from Zen not only calms down, but also approaches as from truth, from reality, as far as descending noise allows us better perceiving. In therapy, one gets rid of old structures, swallowed, not digested, occupying too much room, preventing from truly Being. This trip provides a fruitful emptiness where the person merges with clear thoughts of his own, reconciled with his own inner and outer reality.

To sum up, Gestalt Psychotherapy is an existential therapy, experiential, where conclusions do not always come from your mind, but from other centres, such as the emotional and the motor. This is very important from my point of view, as far as it may reach faster and further than other therapies where after long years of work, one comes to understand where it comes from, but not integrate it, be happier or more responsible for such a thing. Therapist work is about accompanying, supporting and facing, with obviousness, so that he does not provide his own point of view, about how the other should conduct his life, keeping aside from any judgement. Thus, it is the very person, who is responsible for his or her life and decisions through the process of awareness, facilitated by the therapist.

What can we treat with Gestalt therapy?
My experience is very wide, so that I have witnessed great therapeutic works, individuals and groups, in a large variety of fields: harassment at work, family problems, mourning, psychological complexes, sexuality, couple relationships, depressions, masculine identity, deep process of self knowledge…

Symptoms that have disappeared or at least very much improved, are, thanks to organism self-regulation, among others: anxiety, insomnia, depression, lack of vitality, lack of restrain, hysteria, muscle hyper or hypo tonus, etc.

What to expect in the first session?
The first encounter with a therapist helps the client explain what guides him there. Therapist listens deeply client speech and non mentioned needs, introduces himself and his work, and both decide what they can do together, if such is there will. In my case, my psychotherapy work is in the district of Moncloa.Aravaca, Puerta de Hierro-Dehesa de la Villa, Valdezarza underground station, line 7.

What is not the purpose of Gestalt Theapy?
To get a medical prescription. Gestalt Therapist is not a doctor, therefore, he is not entitled nor qualified to prescribe. For the very same reason, therapist do not diagnose or treat psychosis. However, therapist do cowork with Psychiatrists, supporting the person and his process of awareness, being the Psychiatrist the actual medical responsible for the patient. This, is by the way, more and more common, since bridges are joining both professions, getting a very good outcome, resulting from the medical and sciences severity and the therapeutic accompanying to the person, who in the past could be put aside, forgotten, and over-prescribed by non specialized doctors. Fortunately, now medicines are prescribed by an expert, specialists, with the least invasion effect, and patients often a have a weekly therapeutic support, to understand what is going on, and learn how to deal with it.

Gestalt Psychotherapy and Psychology are the same?
NO. Gestalt is a method you study in private centres, not regulated yet by the state, where they focus on the therapist getting to know himself profoundly, in order to be able to accompany the others. Gestalt considers the person to be a very complex being where no “wise” book can tell you how to treat everybody. Therefore, qualification provides therapists with a wide range of techniques in order to help the other to understand, heal, and become responsible for his own life. Also, to get your diploma in gestalt, you need to undergo a certain number of hours working yourself with a therapist, and being supervised once you start to work. This is made in order to guarantee that therapist are not only trained, but also do not project their personal issues on the patient-client. Finally we must say that attending the qualification to be a Gestalt therapist for 4 years and fulfilling the hours criteria, does not guarantee that the student gets a diploma, since, very often, the teachers would decline the authorisation if they do not consider that he is prepared to do it.

In Psychology, they try to develop a science, at university, out of cases, symptoms,

disorders, looking for protocols and normally based on behaviour. You try to study and work by the book, and normally do not attend any therapy in order to work.

In my personal case, I have been to university, and have a 5 year degree plus other studies, but not all therapist have.

How long does a therapy last?
It depends, a certain issue at work, or communication problems in the couple, for instance, may only take 6 to 10 sessions. However, most of us demand between 6 months and 4 years. Some with four or six months will realize what they were troubled, and healing so, they will be happy to leave and continue their path by themselves. Other people, may wish to get to know themselves more profoundly, tracing their personality map, in a process that usually takes from 2 to 4 years. If somebody sells you a miracle therapy, very expensive, but fast, beware! Those miracles do not exist, even if you pay a lot, not even with drugs or psychotropics. You run the risk of ending up crazy and poor, trying to shortcut and save money.