Counseling and Psychotherapy

The quality of therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist in Gestalt psychotherapy is related on the level of feedback and immediate in the dialogue between the two. The therapist is seen as a tool of change, and combined the confrontational, supportive and empathetically attributes. The therapist uses the I–Thou relationship experienced directly by the client to foster contact and catalyses the here and now feelings in the client toward self awareness.

The therapist challenges the client when they avoid contact with the therapist by bringing the disturbance to the client’s attention (Fall, Holder and Marquis, 2003, p. 232). The therapist responsibility is to ask the question how and not why because the latter sounds judgmental to the client’s issues. The therapy session in Gestalt begins with an exploration of both the client and the clinician experiences as a whole then cumulatively narrows down to the clients own experiences (Rogers, 1980).

This is basically for the purpose of establishing contact and building rapport so that both parties feel comfortable to open up more without inhibitions or hiding behind facades. Unlike the psychoanalysis approaches which also acknowledge the importance of therapeutic relationship with the client, Gestalt psychotherapy uses a phenomenological approach to help the client freely explore the important events in their life as well as experiment with the specific events to that they are more aware of the things that happens in their lives and their response to these events (Joyce and Sills, 2001).

This phenomenological approach in turn ensures that the client develops a ‘let–what–is–stand–out–in-the-open’ approach to life that essentially acts as a mirror to reflecting personal convictions and truth hence leading the client to self-awareness in life. This aspect goes on until it becomes part of the daily life of the client, and beyond the therapy session, and at such a point, it can be said that the client has experienced healing (Rogers, 1980).

Conclusion The client-therapist relationship in gestalt psychotherapy is exhaustive and goes deep into fostering an environment where the clients are able to freely express their thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Such a process of awakening and awareness is very important for an individual to come to terms with the experiences that have shaped him into the person that is.

In the end, it is all about revealing the feelings and thoughts of the client and how they affect the person’s interactions with other people on a daily basis. By and large the relationship should be close enough yet still be sufficient to prevent any abuse by the clinician or the client.


Adams, J. (1986). Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling. Zondervan. Clarkson, P. (2004). Gestalt Counselling in Action.

Sage Publications Fall K. A. , Holder J. M. and Marquis, A. (2003). Theoretical Models of Counseling and Psychotherapy. New York: Brunner-Routledge. p. 232 Joyce, P. and Sills, C. (2001). Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy Sage Publications Inc. Rogers, Carl (1980). A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Woldt, A. L. and Toman S. M. (2005). Gestalt Therapy: History, Theory, and Practice. Sage Publications Inc.

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