Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy is an existential therapy in which the “here and now” is emphasized. The present conflicts that create internal tension and blocked energy are the focus of the therapy, and experiential exercises are used to enhance self-understanding and awareness. For instance, one popular technique is the “empty chair,” in which the person alternately takes on their own role and that of another person who is associated wtih the unresolved issue; this helps to uncover unmet needs that can be satisfied during the exercise. Becoming more fully present in the moment is achieved through attention to emotional states and reactions, as well as physical sensations. The goal is increased life enjoyment and experience of peace through greater awareness, acceptance of personal responsibility, and integration of fragmented parts of the self.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been demonstrated by many research studies to be the most effective approach for a variety of psychological problems. This is an advantage compared to gestalt therapy, which has limited scientific documentation and has not been demonstrated to be reliably effective. In CBT, the therapy relationship is collaborative and goal-oriented, and the focus is on thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and behaviors. The goal is for a person to develop more realistic and rational perspectives, and make healthier behavioral choices, as well as to feel relief from negative emotional states. Specific techniques, strategies and methods (cognitive restructuring, relaxation exercises, exposure work, assertiveness training, and more) are used to help people to improve their mood, relationships and work performance.

Schema Therapy is essentially an integration of cognitive, behavioral, gestalt and psychodynamic approaches, using the best aspects of each in a unified therapy. It is similar to CBT (standard cognitive behavioral therapy) in that the person learns how to correct his or her habitual and problematic patterns of thinking and feeling, and the corresponding difficulties in behavioral coping style. The focus is on identifying and understanding, and then challenging and overcoming the long-standing maladaptive patterns in thinking, feeling and behavior that create obstacles for a person in getting needs met and attaining life goals. The goal is for the person to feel better and enjoy greater life satisfaction.

CTA is a network of experienced therapists in the NY metro area who provide Cognitive Therapy and Schema-Focused Therapy. To inquire about an appointment, please call us at 212-258-2577.

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