About Us

The mission of the Gestalt Institute of Pittsburgh is educate, enlighten an excite individuals and trainees about the theory, integration and application of Gestalt therapy.  Our faculty and staff provide the highest quality programs to individuals seeking training, personal development and support for their professional and personal endeavors.  The Institute is guided by belief in the wholeness of human experience, adherence to the highest ethical standards and support of social justice values.

What is Gestalt

Gestalt therapy is a complex psychological system that stresses the development of client self-awareness and personal responsibility.


The goal of Gestalt therapy is to raise clients’ awareness regarding how they function in their environment (with family, at work, school, friends, etc.). The focus of therapy is more on what is happening (the moment-to-moment process) than what is being discussed (the content). Awareness is being alert to what are the most important events in clients’ lives and their environment with full sensorimotor, emotional, cognitive, and energy support. Support is defined as anything that makes contact with or withdrawal from with the environment possible, including energy, body support, breathing, information, concern for others, and language, for example.

In therapy, clients become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they change themselves, and at the same time, learn to accept and value themselves. Individuals, according to this approach, define, develop, and learn about themselves in relationship to others, and that they are constantly changing.

Gestalt therapy is “unpredictable” in that the therapist and client follow moment-to-moment experience and neither knows exactly where this will take them.

Applications and populations:

The current practice of Gestalt therapy includes treatment of a wide range of problems and has been successfully employed in the treatment of a wide range of “psychosomatic” disorders including migraine, ulcerative colitis, and spastic neck and back. Therapists work with couples and families, and with individuals who have difficulties coping with authority figures. In addition, Gestalt therapy has been used for brief crisis intervention, to help persons with post-traumatic stress disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, or anxiety disorders; with adults in a poverty program; with seriously mentally ill individuals with psychotic disorders; and those with borderline personality disorders.

Therapeutic process:

The relationship between the therapist and the client is the most important aspect of psychotherapy in Gestalt therapy. In Gestalt therapy, the interaction between therapist and client is an ever changing dialogue marked by straightforward caring, warmth, acceptance, and self-responsibility.

Gestalt therapy holds the view that people are endlessly remaking or discovering themselves; therefore, individuals are always in constant transformation. The therapist’s approach is to help clients: to increase or deepen their awareness of themselves and with aspects of themselves and their relationship with others, by attending and engaging with the client; to explore the client’s experience; and to describe what is. All techniques used within the therapeutic relationship help clients to work through and move beyond painful emotional blocks and is an ongoing process. This allows the client to explore new behavior, first, in the context of the therapeutic relationship and then, as appropriate, in the outside world.

Gestalt therapists now make use of the traditional diagnostic categories to obtain necessary information to help patients with serious mental illnesses (such as psychotic disorders and borderline disorders) and because of administrative and insurance reimbursement procedures. Despite these changes, it is believed that Gestalt therapy assessment techniques will continue to be varied since Gestalt therapists draw on other therapeutic systems.

In therapy, the Gestalt therapist is active and sessions are lively and characterized by warmth, acceptance, caring, and self-responsibility and promote direct experiencing of a situation or event rather than passively talking about the event. Events recalled from the past are explored and felt in the here and now of the therapy session. Clients can see, hear, and be told how they are seen, what is seen, how the therapist feels, what the therapist is like as a person, and how client awareness is limited by how they and the therapist interact with or engage each other— that is, make contact.

The Gestalt therapist has a wide range of active interventions (cognitive and behavioral) at his or her disposal and may use any technique or method as long as it is (a) aimed toward increasing awareness, (b) arises out of the dialogue and the therapist’s perception of what is going on with the client (sensing, feeling, thinking) in the immediate therapy session), and (c) within the parameters of ethical practice.
Read more: http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Gestalt-therapy.html#ixzz2qlMLu5lb


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