Phil has used Gestalt principals and practices in psychotherapy with clients for 15 years. He regularly participates in Gestalt training and consultation groups to add depth to the therapy experience with his clients. The following is an excellent description for understanding how Gestalt practices work.
Gestalt is a system for understanding human behavior, process, and experience. How do we get from the "blooming, buzzing confusion" of the onslaught of stimuli that surround us in the world to the kinds of coherent, integrated values, feelings, and beliefs that we use to make choices, make sense, and deal with our lives and our world? The goal of the Gestalt model, since its earliest beginnings a century ago, is to develop an approach that is close to the feel and reality of experience as we live it, and at the same time firmly grounded in empirical research. The result: a model that emphasizes active personal agency, experiment, values, meaning-making, and the integration of body, mind, emotion, spirit, and action in the world.
Our basic Gestalt insight is that we make our world. The life we live isn't given to us in a neat package, ready for application. We select, interpret, make choices, register feelings, set goals, integrate, and evaluate as active agents of our own lives—and we do all this in interaction with our own cultures, relationships, and personal histories.
Taking all this apart to find the old patterns that are not working is Gestalt therapy. Comparing and exploring our own experience with another person or group at a deep level is Gestalt process work.
This emphasis on our active construction of experience, meaning, and action is what has made Gestalt perspectives so influential in other systems of psychology and psychotherapy—and so successful cross-culturally—making Gestalt-based methods perhaps the most widely applied approaches for intervening with individuals, families, organizations, and groups across the globe today.*
* George Woodman; Esalen workshop catalog