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Gestalt therapy refers to a form of psychotherapy that derives from the Gestalt school of thought. It was developed in the late 1940s by Fritz Perls and is guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole (mind, body and soul), and that they are best understood in relation to their current situation as he or she experiences it.
The approach combines this relational theory with present state – focusing strongly on self-awareness and the ‘here and now’ (what is happening from one moment to the next). In Gestalt therapy, self-awareness is key to personal growth and developing full potential. The approach recognises that sometimes this self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behaviour that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy.
It is the aim of a Gestalt therapist to promote a non-judgemental self-awareness that enables clients to develop a unique perspective on life. By helping an individual to become more aware of how they think, feel and act in the present moment, Gestalt therapy provides insight into ways in which he or she can alleviate their current issues and distress in order to aspire to their maximum potential.