One of the questions I’m often asked is “So what does a Gestalt therapist do?”.
I think the best way to describe a G
estalt session is that it focuses on the HOW of your behaviour, rather than the WHY. Gestalt therapy can increase self-awareness by paying close attention to the ways a person avoids their feelings, the ways old patterns of behaviour keep us stuck and reacting along the same well-trodden pathways. In a session the work is in attending to what happens between us, therapist and client, as well. What happens in the therapy room is a reflection of the ways we interact in other relationships. How does it feel for you to be seen and heard, acknowledged in safety? Can you let that in? Even a little bit? Can you feel – each time you experience a warm sense of safety – that your ability to let it in grows? Watching this growth, celebrating it in those willing to do the hard work, is something I’m so passionate about. It excites me to know we can heal if we put the time and effort into ourselves and learn to trust that we are increasingly safe to be our true selves.
I find that many people are seeking a quick fix for their troubles. They want to feel better quickly, which is understandable. But the deep work of self-change is often a process that happens over an extended period of time. Our habitual ways of being were forged over many years – they can’t be reoriented overnight! Long term therapy is a concrete way to track your progress of settling into a stronger sense of safety and authenticity. I’ve been observing the truth of this phenomenon recently with a group of students who impress me deeply each time I’m lucky enough to be with them.
I’ve gone back to The Relational Institute of Australia (TRIA) since my studies in Gestalt finished to assist the training of students as an Intern and to consolidate my learning. I’ve been working with one group of postgraduate students for the last year and a half. Each time I sit with them I’m blown away by the changes and the growth I am witnessing. TRIA is big on experiential learning – where the students do their own self work as part of the requirements of the course. What I see is a commitment to self-improvement, to sitting with the messy, often uncomfortable feelings that come with healing. The students keep showing up. They keep doing the work and it’s a great privilege to observe them as they grow more solid in themselves and speak with more clarity and authenticity. They are also far more able to attend to their own self care, taking greater ownership and responsibility for themselves. This is something I wish for all my clients to experience. The warmth of acceptance, of being seen, heard and accepted just as you are can profoundly change how you connect with yourself. And in turn, impacts on the way you engage with the world and how others relate to you. Powerful stuff!
This is a guest post from one of our therapists.
Head on over to her website to connect with her: Home | Bec Wellard Therapy
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