Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice

Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice

Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice

Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice


The Gestalt approach is based on the philosophy that the human being is born with the healthy ability to regulate needs and wants in relationship with the environment in which she/he lives. Heightening of personal awareness and exploration of needs is enabled by the therapist who actively engages in supporting and assisting the therapeutic journey of the client.

Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice is a collaboration of some of the best thinkers in the Gestalt therapy approach. It offers a summary of recent advances in theory and practice, and novel ideas for future development. Each chapter focuses on a different element of the Gestalt approach and, with contributors from around the world, each offers a different perspective of its ongoing evolution in relation to politics, religion and philosophy.

Incorporating ideas about community, field theory, family and couple therapy, politics and spirituality, this book will be of interest not only to Gestalt therapists but also to non-Gestalt practitioners, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Counselling, behavioural science and psychotherapy students will also find this a valuable contribution to their learning.


This series focuses on advanced and advancing theory in psychotherapy. Its aims are: to present theory and practice within a specific theoretical orientation or approach at an advanced, postgraduate level; to advance theory by presenting and evaluating new ideas and their relation to the particular approach; to locate the orientation and its psychotherapeutic applications within cultural contexts, both historically in terms of the origins of the approach, and contemporarily in terms of current debates about philosophy, theory, society and therapy; and, finally, to present and develop a critical view of theory and practice, especially in the context of debates about power, organisation and the increasing professionalisation of therapy.

I have a particular association with gestalt therapy as my first two therapists, back in the early 1980s, were gestalt therapists. I then went on to train in gestalt therapy and contribution training with Peter Fleming at the Pellin Centre in London, UK, and in Montecorice in Italy. Although I went on to train in other therapeutic approaches, I remained – and remain – interested in gestalt and its developments. In continuing my professional development in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I attended various gestalt workshops at the Metanoia Institute in London where I met Talia BarYoseph Levine. I was struck then, not only by her knowledge, skill, and elegance as a trainer, but also by how she was able to bring and hold disparate people and groups together. When, more recently, I approached her with the commission to edit a volume on gestalt theory and therapy for this series, I was delighted that she accepted the challenge, and that she has brought her particular skills to bear to collect and complete this particular contribution to the series. True to gestalt principles, she considered and consulted with the field, and entered into dialogue with a number of people to contribute to the volume; and, indeed, the process of editing – of the book itself and of the book as part of the series – has been marked by continued dialogue. It has not always been an easy process, but has been one which, I think, has borne good fruit, with a result: a rich, eclectic volume which shows gestalt therapy looking back, in reconsidering some of its foundations (such as holism); looking outwards (for example, to neuroscience); and . . .

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