Gestalt therapy is a process-oriented psychotherapy with the goal of improving one's contact in community and with the environment in general. This goal is accomplished through aware, spontaneous and authentic dialogue between therapist and client. In Gestalt Therapy we approach the meeting with the attitude that there is worth and truth in the other’s perspective and in his or her way of being. It is also an acknowledgement that essentially as a therapist I cannot know what is best for you, I can only engage with you in a dialogue about it. This approach does not come from a blind following of where the client wants to go, nor does it impose the therapist’s agenda, but it requires a letting go of control of where the dialogue will lead us. In a genuine dialogue both sides have valuable and needed perspectives to contribute and this is honored.
Through the explorations and observations into the way clients make contact with their environment they can become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, learn to accept and value who they are.
One way this is done is through Inclusion a technique that allows therapists to put themselves into the experience of the client without losing a separate sense of self. By imagining the experience of the client, in a sense, the therapist makes the experience real and confirms the client's existence and potential. By connecting to the client in this way and not aiming to change the client, the client is supported in growing by identification with his or her own experience.
The Gestalt therapist knows the client is the final authority on the accuracy of these re-flections. In Relational Gestalt Therapy therapists tend to believe that if the client says, “you don't understand,” then we don't understand. This form of Gestalt Therapy emphasizes respect, compassion, of the client’s full experience by the therapist.
In Gestalt Therapy with this relational emphasis, careful attention is paid to contact moments and also to overall character organization and development. The quality of the connection of therapist and client and the interruptions in contact are the subject of central attention, the relationship between the therapist and client in the session is a hologram that mirrors the client's life.
About Somatic Experiencing
Somatic Experiencing is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution of PTSD developed by Peter Levine. It is based on the ethological observation that animals who live in the wild utilize homeostatic mechanisms to regulate and neutralize the high levels of intensity associated with defensive survival behaviors. Humans possess regulatory mechanisms are virtually identical to those in animals. In humans, however, these systems are often overridden by the neo-cortex or rational brain. By utilizing a combination of fear and over-control, this complex and powerful part of the human brain can interfere with instinct. It is not the responses to fight, flee or freeze that are overridden, but the releasing of energy that helps the body return to normal levels of arousal after the threat is gone.
This overriding inhibition can cause the individual human to develop symptoms including pain, patterns of bracing and collapse, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, sleeplessness and an inability to properly analyze situations. Through focal awareness of bodily sensations, Somatic Experiencing helps the client access these restorative physiological action patterns which humans share with wild animals, thus allowing the highly aroused survival energies to be safely and gradually neutralized.
NARM is a therapeutic method used in the treatment of developmental trauma integrating both bottom-up and top-down approaches.