Gestalt psychotherapy is essentially a relational approach, mainly because it sees the person as part of his or her environment (that includes other people) and always as influencing it and being influenced by it. Gestalt focuses attention on the healthy, integrated functioning of the total person comprised of the senses, the body, the emotions and the intellect. Both autonomy and relationships are equally fundamental to a well-balanced living.
Another important focus in Gestalt is to help people to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, how they can change themselves and at the same time, learn to accept and value themselves. This is done by working with what is directly perceived, felt and experienced, which is considered more relevant than explanations and interpretations. This makes Gestalt a practical and positive approach to psychotherapy.
I see relationships as fundamental to the development of a sense of who we are; relationships between people throughout a person’s life are the basis of social and individual life and the difficulties people face are mostly of relational nature. To me, understanding the impact we have on other people is as fruitful and valuable as understanding the impact others have on us.
One of the purposes of a relational approach is to help people to examine their life through their interpersonal relationships and also through how they relate to experiences such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, anger, sexual behaviour and depression to name a few. As such, not only do we develop relationships with other people, we also develop relationships with our actions.