Gestalt Therapy utilizes an empty chair to give a client a safe way to express previously unspoken feelings and emotions.
Developed by Fritz Perlz. Laura Perlz. Miriam and Erving Polster.
Stress is on placed on awareness and integration of the functioning of body and mind. The intention is to expand a person’s awareness of the present moment.
Gestalt therapy has developed over time and is currently supportive, accepting, empathetic, respectful, and challenging. It is an holistic approach to the personality in the present moment.
• During therapy, the client is encouraged to bring out hidden feelings.
• Much use is made of the ‘open chair’ technique.
• This is when the client sits opposite an empty chair and then mentally places into that chair someone significant, who has caused him or her pain or trouble.
• The client then tells the ‘person’ in the empty chair what they have been unable to express before.
• Sometimes the client is encouraged to swap chairs and to answer his own claims or accusations from the other person’s perspective.
• This technique can give rise to emotional scenes, and the previously buried emotions need to be handled carefully.