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Gestalt Therapy Can Teach You About Your Body and Mind

Gestalt therapy is a form of treatment where you pay attention to your feelings, your body, and how they interact or connect with each other. I have a friend who sees a Gestalt therapist, and expressed that she was experiencing pain in her side. The therapist told her to examine what emotion came with that pain. Once she started to explore what brought on the pain, she deciphered that it was arising from memories of childhood trauma. It was difficult for her to stay in the moment and sit with that pain, but her therapist encouraged her to explore the hurt, both mental and physical. It would take many therapy sessions, but eventually she was able to unpack the source of why she was hurting and process it in therapy. She began to realize that it was possible to heal, and her side no longer hurt.

How it works

In many kinds of therapy, the focus is on a person’s mind, how they think, and how those thoughts impact their ability to function. Gestalt therapy doesn’t just look at your mind, but also takes into account your body. A Gestalt therapist is not only looking at your psychological issues, but also at how they interact with your body. The mind-body connection is powerful, and if you pay attention to it, you may be able to heal in a very full-circle and profound way. Gestalt therapy is a holistic form of treatment that doesn’t focus solely on analytical aspects. Instead, it sees the patient and their being as a whole. Gestalt therapy recognizes how we exist in the world as a human being. It’s about how we perceive ourselves — mind, body, and soul — and how we connect to others around us.


One of the common skills in Gestalt therapy is the empty chair technique. It prompts you to perform a role-playing exercise where you speak to someone you pretend is in an empty chair in the room. The person could be a part of yourself, such as a younger version or yourself, or it could be someone you are having a conflict with that you wish to resolve. Gestalt is a very creative form of therapy, where you will use techniques that are experimental and outside-of-the-box. In looking at yourself in this holistic way, you are able to find strategies to connect with yourself and see yourself as a whole. You’re not just a brain or a diagnosis. You are an entire person with a story, and it’s important to remember that when you are in a therapy session. It can be challenging to recall that you are an individual when your symptoms are strong and you are in a lot of pain, but that’s what we’re here to remind you. You’re a person and you matter.

Online counseling

Getting help isn’t always easy, but it is possible. If you find that you’re a person who benefits from connecting with your body and seeing where your emotions impact your whole system, Gestalt therapy could be great for you. But don’t wait to seek help. You have many options when it comes to treatment. The most important thing is to get help. Whether you’re working with an individual therapist in your local area, a couples counselor, or you choose online therapy, Gestalt therapy is an option for you. If you’re looking for a holistic form of treatment not just talking about analysis, but integrating every part of yourself, Gestalt therapy could be a great choice for your mental health needs.

Getty photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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