Gestalt Therapy is an existential/experimental form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility and focuses upon the individual’s experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.

The objective of Gestalt therapy is to enable the client to become more fully and relatively alive and to become free from the blocks and unfinished business that may diminish satisfaction, fulfillment, and growth, and to experiment with new ways of being.  Becoming “unblocked” and “fully aware” is the key to its process of therapy.

Having said that, therapy is done with small experiments in session.  Empty chair technique or chair-work is typically used in Gestalt therapy when a patient might have deep-rooted emotional problems from someone or something in their life, such as relationships with themselves, with aspects of their personality, their concepts, ideas, feelings, etc., or to other people in their lives.  The purpose of this technique is to get the patient to think about their emotions and attitudes.  Common things the patients address in the empty chair are another person, aspects of personality, feelings, etc.

So how does one tie Gestalt work into Grief and Loss Therapy?  Being able to integrate the two has many benefits, for people of all ages.  In the process of recovering from grief, one will grieve in their own way and in their own time.   Some people recover from grief and resume normal activities within six months, even though they continue to feel moments of great sadness.  Others may feel better after about a year, and sometimes people continue to grieve for years without seeming to improve or find relief even temporarily.   Grief can be complicated by other conditions, most notably depression, anxiety, and dependency.  By utilizing “chair-work” in grief therapy, one can learn to develop a better sense of emotional integration in dealing with the feelings left behind from a loved one.  Whether the feelings were positive or negative, sometimes one needs to confront the feelings in order to process them and move forward in a more productive, functional way in life.  Loss is very hard on most people, our attachment to others provides many various feelings.  When we allow all aspects of how a loved one might have affected us, we learn to emotionally be responsible for all our feelings.  This integration helps one to move forward and enjoy life more fully.

Want to learn more about how Gestalt Therapy can help you?  Please contact Specialized Therapy Associates at 973-488-6678 to schedule an appointment.