The meaning of Gestalt  

"Gestalt" is a German word, which roughly translated, means the whole; it implies wholeness, or as a verb, to make whole or complete. Gestalt therapy originally developed in the early 1950's by a group of avant-garde psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers and educators, as a reaction against the orthodoxy of psychoanlysis of the time, and as a model of human experience that values authentic living and relating.


Relational Gestalt Therapy is....... 


  • The therapist holds the perspective that  we are never not in relationship with our environment and with others and responds to the client in their context
  • The therapist works to understand how the client is, in relationship to others, while bringing to awareness their past, present and future hopes, and supporting them to see how this will also organise their current experience
  • The relational world view is informed by the philosophical systems of field theory, existential phenomenology and dialogic relating, and organsied with an attitude of holding complexity and bringing a hermeneutic sensibility


Present centred and focused on awareness

  • The therapist promotes self awareness and self and environmental support with the belief that growth occurs through awareness and authentic dialogue
  • A key focus is on supporting the client to relate, embody and live in the here and now


Grounded in the therapist/ client relationship

  • The client /therapist dialogue offers the opportunity for a healing experience where the emphasis of the therapy is, not only talking about what has happened,  but on fully experiencing what is, and allowing emergence of possibility and change
  • By holding a position of curiosity and cultivated uncertainty the therapist aims to assist the client to deepen their existential experience and co- create an emergent exploration of who they are and how they have creatively adjusted in order to self regulate and become more fully who they are in the world
  • The therapist trusts the client to guide the work by determining what matters to them
  • The working relationship provides an opportunity for an authentic and meaningful meeting where the focus is on the relationship and there is an acknowledgement of mutual influence and co-creation of the process


About viewing the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for the development of awareness

  • Awareness is developed through reflecting on their relationship and the unfolding process, on developing awareness of the clients experience in the present moment
  • Attention is given to how the past as remembered, and the future, as anticipated, may be currently present and shape the clients experience
  • The use of creative experimentation, through different ways of behaving and expressing, is  used as a vehicle to explore and heighten awareness 


About choice and flexibility 

  • The goal is for clients to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, to learn to accept and value themselves (“Change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not” Arnold Beisser)
  • From a relational (or field theory) perspective, change occurs when we change our relationship to the supports in our environment or increase the supports that are available in the environment
  • By learning to follow their own ongoing process, and to fully experience, accept, and appreciate their complete selves, clients can free themselves to make more appropriate, spontaneous and creative contact with the environment










A Taste of Relational Gestalt Workshop

Coming Events

Second Round Applications for 2014 Program Open Now!

Are you interested in being a part of a counselling and psychotherapy training program that values community and open-ended exploration into immediate experience and existing knowledge?


Do you want to take part in a dynamic and collaborative process that develops personal capacities such as awareness, curiosity and presence?


The holistic focus of GTA courses ensures that personal and professional development are valued as interrelated and inseparable dimensions of the curriculum


To find out more about the program and how to apply click on the link below.


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