What is Gestalt? Gestalt is a German word meaning “figure” or “configuration” and is used in a number of different contexts, including psychology. Musical pieces are often described as Gestalt because each individual note has a different characteristic compared to the melody as a whole. A sentence is the same: words strung together in a sentence can have a meaning that the individual letters or words do not possess on their own.
What is Gestalt psychology?
Gestalt psychology originates from the work of Max Wertheimer and is a school of thought that examines the human mind and behavior, treating it as a whole, rather than separate parts. Gestalt psychology was influenced by great thinkers such as Kant, Ernst Mach, and von Goethe and was originally developed as a response to the structuralism work of Wilhelm Wundt, which studied behavior by breaking it down its constituent parts.
Gestalt psychology believes that human behavior should be treated as a unified whole because individual aspects of the consciousness or mind can have an entirely different meaning. Many of the theories of Gestalt psychology came about because psychologists and philosophers started to question the practice of studying various phenomena by breaking them down—if this could not be done, it could not be studied from a scientific viewpoint and was then left to religion or mysticism to explain.
What are the Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization?
One of the best known Gestalt theories is the Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization. This theory is based on the belief that the whole picture is greater than the sum total of the individual pieces, which helps to explain how flashing lights often appear to be moving, even though they are not: apparently our mind fills in the gaps in information.
What is Gestalt Therapy?
Gestalt Therapy is a type of existential psychotherapy that places primary focus on what the patient is experiencing at the current time. It is designed to help the patient take more responsibility for their situation. The therapist helps the patient by encouraging them to focus on what is happening as well as the things they are talking about, rather than concentrating on events from the past or what might have been. Its ultimate aim is to free the patient from the constraints of unfinished business and personal blocks so that they are free to move forward with their life and grow as a person.
Gestalt Therapy was developed by Paul Goodman, and Laura and Fritz Perls in the 1940s and 50s. Unlike Freudian methods of psychotherapy that relied on a therapist analyzing a patient and telling them what issues they have, Gestalt Therapy helps the patient draw their own conclusions about what might be the issue. Gestalt therapists use interactive observation, so instead of only listening to what the patient is saying, the therapist will also look at the person’s body language to gain a greater insight, which is why the term “gestalt” is sometimes used to mean a moment of sudden insight. However, modern therapists no longer rely on Gestalt, although many of the underlying principles of patient self awareness are considered to be very important.