Simple questions, complex therapy
The most elaborate of complexities can arise from the most elegant of simplicities. In gestalt, simplicity is achieved and maintained through a rigorous attention to the present moment, the legendary here and now.
Gestalt therapy can be stripped back to three basic questions:
1. What are you aware of now?
2. What do you need now?
3. What does this mean to you now?
Really, if you wanted to strip right back to bare bones, you could stick to question one. The entire body of gestalt therapy literature is essentially an elaboration on the question, “what are you aware of now?”. And arguably so is human experience, which is why the question works.
There is a cyclical flow to human experience, driven by awareness and organised by need. The function of these three questions is to explore this cyclical flow in the context of this person who is in therapy with me in this place at this time. It isn’t about diagnosing what is wrong with the person I am asking these questions. It’s about using these questions to explore the contact possibilities that exist between us.
The common by-products of this exploration are insight, realisation, and healing.