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Gestalt Therapy helps people focus on their thoughts, feelings and behaviour to better understand the way they are able to communicate and relate to other people. It offers support to help explore feelings and to deeply understand personal relationships so clients can begin to make practical changes.

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Counselling in the 21st Century

Counselling in the 21st Century

As technology develops so does the flexibility and the availability of counsellors.

The updated fourth edition of Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy features a chapter which explores virtual therapy.

Assessing Clients

Assessing Clients 

Use the sheet below to assess your clients using the Gestalt approach.

A Gestalt diagnosis is an understanding or assessment of all the ways the client makes meaning and contact with their world

Responsibility and Freedom in Counselling

Responsibility and Freedom
in Counselling

The first responsibility of any counsellor is to follow the Hippocratic dictum of ‘doing no harm’.

Gestalt Counselling in Action provides a solid footing in understanding that Gestalt is not so much an approach to counselling and psychotherapy as a way of life.


Book Content IconEnvironmental contact and neurotic mechanisms

The gestalt cycle of experience (or formation and destruction cycle) is another key concept in gestalt, and a useful metaphorical means of illustrating contact and loss of contact with the environment. It assumes that healthy human experience is based on the formation of figure (needs) against the ground (environment) in a responsive and free-flowing way. However, problems occur when this process is disrupted. Early human relational experience is assumed to be important in setting patterns in this process.

We can consider each of the ways in which contact with our environment can be disrupted:

  • Desensitisation is the way in which we can disconnect from both our environment and ourselves: not experiencing feeling, physical sensation, taste, sex, etc. We do not experience a healthy sense of our sensitised experience of our world
  • Deflection is the means through which we ‘turn away’ from positive contact with our environment
  • Introjection is where ideas, beliefs, attitudes or other negative aspects from our environment are taken in (‘swallowed’) without question or assimilation
  • Projection is the mechanism through which beliefs, attitudes, ideas or other negative aspects are attributed to others or other aspects of our environment
  • Retroflection is the process of turning ‘back in’ on ourselves, thus to avoid full contact – avoiding expressing our experience for the risks it might bring
  • Egotism is an excessive preoccupation with our own thoughts, feelings or behaviours (akin to an ongoing internal self-commentary)
  • Confluence is the loss of boundaries between self and environment, including other people.

Extract taken from An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy by Andrew Reeves (2nd Edition)