How People Change
Change from a Gestalt perspective relates to first identifying “what is”, to discover “what can be”.
Change requires self-awareness. Gaining self-awareness requires courage, honest and authentic sharing and exploration in a supportive relationship. This requires commitment and a great deal of effort.
Self-awareness leads to change. A person cannot consider new options or even make new choices without first being aware of what they are doing (their software) and catching themselves doing it.
We live fuller and more satisfying lives when we are in touch with and accept ownership of what is going on inside ourselves as “me” (our body, emotions, thoughts and actions), separate from what is “non-me” (other people, places, things work etc.,). Being aware of what you are doing in concert with what is “you” and “non-you” helps you workout what fits you and your situation. This approach builds your confidence and agency.
How I Work
I am trained in many therapeutic modalities which I integrate into a Gestalt Therapy framework. Gestalt Therapy is relational, experiential and process oriented.
Gestalt Therapy is relational. Together we build a working relationship where you feel safe to be open and engage in the therapy process. Trust and safety is built on “experience over time”. My role is to support you while we explore your reactions, patterns of thinking, feeling, choices and needs. I bring my professional training, life experience, intuition, interest and humor to our work.
Gestalt Therapy is experiential. In session I am interested not only in your story but what is happening for you in the moment. What are your emotions (sad, happy, afraid, angry...), thoughts (“I am making a big deal of nothing” or “it’s hard to bring up difficult topics…”) and your behaviors (holding your breath or tightening your body…). Attending to your experience of what is “happening inside you” as separate and distinct from what is “outside of you” opens up your awareness. This awareness then leads to choices and options based on a coordination of your needs and those of your situation.
Gestalt Therapy is process-oriented. Process is the variety of ways or patterns of thinking, feeling and acting characteristic of an individual. These patterns may have developed in reaction to prior experiences and are now second nature. When applied to your current life situation these patterns no longer fit or are damaging to you or others.
You may be tempted to mistakenly assume that your identity is based on these fixed patterns. You may say to yourself, “it’s just me, or “this is how I am” or “this is what I do”. If not addressed you are more likely to make the same choices over and over which result in dissatisfying or painful outcomes. The goal of therapy is to bring these patterns into present awareness, work through them, gain clarity and restore choice(s) to fit present-day needs and situations.
Gestalt Therapy was originally developed as a way to facilitate “focus” and “mindfulness” instead of “avoidance”. In our fast paced world there are numerous pushes and pulls for your attention and resources. Taking time out of your routine to “tune in” to what’s going on for you is essential to recognizing and interrupting established patterns.