FAQHere are frequently asked questions (FAQs) about coming to therapy and the Gestalt model of delivering therapy.

How will therapy help me?

Counseling, or talk therapy is a time honored, empirically studied, and unique relationship between you and a specially trained, objective specialist.

Because I do not know you personally, I am not your friend or family member. I can respond objectively to material that may be emotionally sensitive to those who know you. Unlike friends or family, I have no expectations for your behavior, only a compassionate commitment to facilitate finding your true self.

My job is to facilitate increasing your awareness about the material you bring into the session. Together we create a space for slowing down enough to notice what is. You will begin by observing how you react and respond to things in your life, whether it is to your boss, your partner, co-workers, children, the dog. You will increase your awareness about what works for you and what doesn’t. You will learn about how intentional behavior will get you more of what you want. And you will decide how to implement the insights and awareness gained in therapy.

The therapeutic relationship is co-created, with each person contributing equally to the work being done. In other words, although I have the training and education to facilitate personal growth and change, I believe you are the change agent. You do the work, recognizing your unique insights, and then decide how to implement these in your everyday life.

The work we do in therapy is experiential, creative, and experimental. We will start by slowing down and noticing what is. This activity develops the muscle of staying in the present moment.

As we work together, we will focus on how our bodies manifest our history, our emotions, our mental state. As you become more aware of this, you will experience an integration of mind and body, and thus have more information than only your thinking to take action.

There is a large body of credible research on the connection between mind and body. A great many people have benefited from connecting mind and body to present awareness and experience. We will slow down and notice what your body is saying, and how this manifests in emotion. We do this together and to the degree which you are comfortable.

My therapy practice is informed by a wealth of personal experience in yoga, meditative running, guided relaxation, sitting meditation, and mindfulness practice. The advanced training I have in Gestalt therapy further instills my passion for Gestalt as a lifestyle. I truly live what I practice in therapy and I believe it is this passion that contributes to conscious presence in the therapy session and allows me to facilitate awareness, personal growth, and successful change.

What kinds of goals do we work towards?
Unlike behavioral methods of psychotherapy, which seek to achieve specific changes in behavior by identifying goals, we will work at your direction, pace and interpretation of goals. If you enter therapy with specific goals in mind, we will work towards facilitating the awareness and intention needed to achieve these. Sometimes, specific goals are not necessary to attain the benefits of increased awareness, insight, and growth.

Do you prescribe medication?
As a licensed professional counselor, I cannot legally prescribe medication. I can however, work with your doctor to help manage medications and keep her or him informed about your treatment, to the degree you wish.

When I googled “Gestalt therapy,” I found a video of Fritz Perls. He was very confrontive and intimidating! Is this the kind of therapy I can expect from you?

Fritz Perls is widely know as the creator of Gestalt therapy. Since the publication of his seminal work, “Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in Human Personality” (Perls, Hefferline & Goodman, 1951), many others have contributed to the compassionate, creative, experiential method it is today. So, if you have watched the youtube.com videos of Fritz Perls, do not expect this kind of therapeutic session from today’s Gestalt practitioners.

What we do take from Fritz Perls into modern-day psychotherapy, is the emphasis on you making your own meaning of your world. A Gestalt therapist does not interpret your experience for you. Although many people want to spend time on the “whys” of experience, in Gestalt, we focus on the “hows” of experience. How do you do yourself in such a way that you are, happy, distressed, overwhelmed, anxious, etc? More often than not, the answer is in the body, with the way you carry yourself, hold yourself, move your body. The body carries a historical knowledge of all of your experiences, positive and negative.

In agreement with Fritz Perls’ early thoughts on Gestalt, current practitioners also agree that you are the best person to make sense of your world. Your actions in the world are results of your creative adjustment to the opportunities and obstacles before you.

Other important principles of Gestalt theory include the cycle of experience, unfinished business, and intentionally paying attention to the body as part of informing present experience.

Today’s Gestalt therapists are far less directive and far more gentle, yet still place Perls’ emphasis on the now at the forefront of our practice.

If you would like to experiment with Gestalt, give me a call. I offer a 20-minute consultation. 512-593-0583.