Paradoxical theory of change

Gestalt therapy takes place from a position of creative indifference to any particular outcome. This means that, as your therapist, I’m not attached to you changing in any particular way; I don’t need you to change in order to feel good about myself as a therapist.

This is because the gestalt approach to therapy understands genuine change to be a paradox. Simply put, the paradoxical theory of change states that the more you try to be something you’re not, the more you’ll stay right where you are. Change is an organic process that takes place as a side-effect of organismic growth. Organismic growth is what happens when we make full contact with our experience.

In other words, we can’t truly change until we accept who we already are.

In practice, that means part of what I do as a therapist is accept you for who you are. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with you all the time; in fact, agreeing with someone all the time can be a great way of avoiding contact with someone! But it does mean accepting the differences. It also means not restricting you to who you are now but accepting the wide range of potential you have for being different than you are now. Accepting who you are includes accepting your potential for being different.

This is one of the aspects of gestalt I love the most because it is fundamentally about freedom; the freedom to be who you are, and to become whoever you need to be.

Here and now

Gestalt therapy focuses on the here and now. That’s not because the past and future are unimportant; they just don’t exist. When you and I meet in a therapy room, the experience takes place in the here and now. Every experience takes …

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Your experience

Gestalt draws heavily on an area of philosophy called phenomenology. Essentially, this means the study of experience. My concern as a gestalt therapist is the exploration of how you experience your reality. This is in contrast with psychoanalytical …

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Field theory

Gestalt therapy has a world view that is field theoretical. Field theories are world views that see reality as being essentially holistic and inter-related. It’s not that everything affects everything else, it’s more that everything exists …

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Contact and creative adjustment

Contact A critical concept in gestalt therapy is contact. This actually refers to a constant process rather than a specific state of being. At every moment of our lives, we are involved in the process of making contact with …

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Creative experimentation

Gestalt therapy is both creative and experimental. The creativity of gestalt is all about identifying support in the current situation. Blue Peter taught a generation of people how much support they could get from toilet roll tubes and double …

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Organismic self-regulation

Gestalt therapy focuses on organismic need. The founders of gestalt therapy spoke about people as organisms in order to get across the holistic nature of a person. Mental activity and physical activity aren’t separate, they are just two …

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About gestalt

There is no better way of explaining gestalt therapy than through demonstration. And the best way of demonstrating gestalt therapy is for you to meet me for an initial session. Of course, that doesn’t help you know ahead of time whether …

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