Gestalt therapy, founded by Fritz Perls (1893-1971), regards the human organism as a whole that cannot be divided into "body" and "soul". Only an organism that is in constant conscious contact with its environment is able to perceive and satisfy its needs.
The basic assumption of Gestalt therapy is that psychological symptoms are caused by disturbances in this "self-awareness". Gestalt therapy thus attempts to restore "self-awareness".
Shapes, forms and patterns are always perceived against a certain background. Our feelings and experiences also have their frame of reference in concrete life and family situations. Problems, conflicts and recurring unpleasant experiences are "unfinished business" that hinder personal growth and complicate appropriate behaviour in the present.
Gestalt work aims to re-connect the background to the problem in the foreground, so that this experience can now be understood and integrated. Then the "figure is closed".
Gestalt therapy focuses on the current perception of one's own processes and blockages, the bodily experience in the "here and now". Existential and individual experiences are reconstructed, re-experienced and worked through. The goal is the integration of feeling, experience and perception.
The starting point for this work is a clear and open encounter with the other person. The chance of healing lies in a new experience with this other person.
Gestalt therapy is growth-oriented and emphasizes the positive potentials of people. Discovering the unlived abilities happens, for example, in the "inner dialogue" between two feelings such as hate and love, in conversation with scary dream images, in role-playing with the "empty chair". This growth process is supported by perceptual and physical exercises, by creative media such as music, dance, painting and working with sound.
An integrated person can develop a healthy sensitivity for himself and others and take responsibility for his further personal growth.