Gestalt therapy

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The Gestalt therapy is a humanistic experience-based and experience-activating psychotherapy . The founders are Fritz Perls , Laura Perls and Paul Goodman . It developed to a large extent from psychoanalysis and from a criticism and demarcation from it. Sources of development are also Gestalt psychology as well as the holistic , phenomenological , existential and hermeneutic thinking of the 20th century . The goal is coherence and integration of psychological processes and differentiated maturation of the personality internally and externally.

Gestalt therapy is not to be confused with creative therapy .


The founders of gestalt therapy, Fritz and Laura Perls (then still Lore Posner) met in 1926 at an event organized by neurologist Kurt Goldstein and gestalt psychologist Adhémar Gelb . Fritz Perls was Goldstein's assistant at the time and was already in psychoanalytic training. Lore Posner was a gestalt psychologist, Gelb was her doctoral supervisor, and she began her psychoanalytic training shortly afterwards.

In 1933 they and their daughter Renate had to flee from the National Socialists. After a short stay in the Netherlands, they finally went into exile in South Africa. Here they began to work together on a book that marks the origin of Gestalt therapy, even if it does not yet contain the name Gestalt therapy: The I, Hunger and Aggression , which was first published in 1944. From the beginning, awareness or awareness (the English term is " awareness ") is a fundamental element of the therapeutic theory and practice of Gestalt therapy. Already in this book, exercises are designed to promote awareness and thus support the therapeutic process. Perls uses the term “concentration” here in the absence of a better alternative to the point in time and speaks of “concentration therapy” in order to take into account the importance of conscious perception. He deals extensively with the term “concentration” and distinguishes z. B. Interest, attention, and "negative focus," by which he understands the type of focus that leads to a narrow, strained perspective.

This is particularly noteworthy for the historical development of psychotherapy, as gestalt therapy thus has a pioneering role in recognizing the importance of awareness in the therapeutic process, since the subject of mindfulness , etc. a. through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn has taken a large part in the discussion of the effectiveness of psychotherapy.

Of Gestalt therapy can be (together with Fritz Perls and Paul Goodman since the publication of the book by the same Ralph Hefferline speak) 1951st
After the founding phase in the USA and based on this in Europe, different variants, currents and styles have developed within Gestalt therapy. First of all, the theoretically and practically very diverse and little canonized legacy of the founding phase contributed significantly to this. The different therapeutic working methods of Fritz Perls on the one hand and Laura Perls on the other were added as a result.
Fritz Perls separated from his wife Laura and moved to the west coast of the USA, while Laura continued her therapeutic work on the east coast. At first glance, Fritz Perls developed a rather hard, often confrontational “West Coast style”, while Laura Perls practiced a significantly softer and integrative “East Coast Style” of Gestalt therapy.

One of the prominent Gestalt therapists who worked with Laura Perls is Isadore From, who also helped found the Gestalt Institute in Cleveland.

On the west coast, after initially working with Fritz Perls, Jim Simkin founded his own training center near Esalen. Erving and Miriam Polster worked from San Diego and published in 1973 with "Gestalt Therapy Integrated" the first systematized overall Gestalt therapy presentation, parallel to Joel Latner's likewise systematized "Gestalt Therapy Book".

Barry Stevens , who in 1969 had spent several months with Fritz Perls in Perls' gestalt community at Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island, Canada, was the first in gestalt therapy to devote herself to the body aspect of the organism and developed her own form of gestalt therapeutic bodywork with an emphasis on Body awareness.

In Germany, Gestalt therapy became known through Gerhard Heik Portele and Hilarion Petzold , among others .

Today Gestalt therapy is used and further developed both by resident therapists and in clinics. Gestalt therapy is currently one of the non-billable forms of therapy in Germany, in contrast to Austria and Switzerland. The Psychotherapists Act , which came into effect in 2000, only recognizes psychoanalysis, therapy based on depth psychology and behavioral therapy. Recognition as a billable procedure is, however, also a political process that does not depend exclusively on the quality of the form of therapy. Since then, humanistic procedures such as gestalt or talk therapy have been struggling for legal recognition. According to Klaus Grawe, their effectiveness is similar to that of the other forms of therapy with the exception of behavioral therapy .

Basics of a theory of Gestalt therapy

The focus of the gestalt therapeutic method is the development and refinement of awareness. This applies to all currently available and accessible feelings, thoughts, sensations and behaviors of the client. Automated or unconscious behavior patterns should be made accessible to the consciousness and thus the decision-making options of the client. Direct and concrete work on current situations and on the relationship between client and therapist is the way to go. This is intended to encourage and support the patient's contact with himself and his environment. Existing disturbances should be overcome in this way. The therapist sees himself as a companion based on partnership. Techniques or exercises are developed together with the client or presented to him as an offer and suggestion. The therapist explains what he wants to achieve with a particular technique or exercise.

Gestalt therapy has its theoretical roots, among other things, in Freud's psychoanalysis . The idea of ​​unconscious processes that accompanies many psychotherapies is also expressed in gestalt therapy. However, Gestalt therapy differs in a number of different ways and very fundamentally in some aspects from psychoanalysis. In the self-understanding of Gestalt therapy, three main concepts of explaining human life are cited for a more detailed explanation: psychoanalysis , phenomenology and Gestalt psychology . Concepts such as holism , humanism , field theory and organismic theory according to Kurt Goldstein as well as approaches such as constructivism and cybernetics are assigned to these theories .

The work of Gestalt therapy by Perls, Hefferline , Goodman forms the theoretical basis of Gestalt therapy. It presents the position of early Gestalt therapy compared to the psychology and psychoanalysis of the time and develops its own profile. It becomes clear that Gestalt therapy makes a clear break with psychoanalysis.

Central terms and concepts

The central term for Gestalt therapy is the eponymous term Gestalt . Fritz Perls initially had the term existential therapy in mind, but saw the proximity to the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre as problematic and decided on the term Gestalt - another concept was concentration therapy .

The choice of name already shows that the other terms and concepts were just as essential for the theoretical conception. The important terms of Gestalt therapy can be derived from the terms just mentioned:

  • Shape - contact and field
  • Concentration - awareness and mindfulness
  • Existentialism - dialogue and the I-you relationship

These terms can in turn be assigned to certain theories and theorists:


Fritz and Lore Perls saw the concept of gestalt as the central idea of ​​their direction of therapy. Scientifically founded, they saw this thought in the thinking of Edmund Husserl and Ehrenfels.

The Gestalt term comes from the German verb make and said forming a meaningful whole. Closely connected with this term are the words meaning and structure, both of which also describe a whole that is coherent in itself. The creation of figures occurs on a so-called background, from which the actual figure or figure stands out. Gestalt therapy describes this process analogously to the explanation of the formation of perception within Gestalt psychology. For example, a white spot can only stand out on the background of a colored area, or lines are completed according to the background.

The edges of the cube are imaginary; they are generated by our brain according to the law of good continuation .

In principle, Gestalt psychology and Gestalt therapy deny the reality of isolated sensory qualities that are perceived as individual elements in isolation. In the perception, the individual elements are connected as wholes, "shapes" that are as meaningful as possible. Perception, social life and self-existence are always expressions of complex meaning. The "whole" is more or different than the sum of its individual elements. This is where the greatest difference between Gestalt therapy and empirically based therapies lies. This point can be called the actual paradigm shift .

The Gestalt psychologies of different directions derive historically from a single work by Christian von Ehrenfels from 1890. It is thanks to Fritz and Laura Perls to have transferred the term “Gestalt” to psychotherapy. Analogous to gestalt formation in perception - the gestalt is formed in the foreground against a background - gestalt therapy assumes that the most important need in each individual case moves to the fore of consciousness. This, in turn, is referred to as the figure / basic event or figure formation process. Expressed in the language of shape theory, as the need arises, an open figure emerges from the (background) ground and becomes a figure in the foreground, as long as it is not closed. The closed shape can plunge back into the ground and give way to a new shape. Gestalt therapy understands this as the ability of the organism to self-regulate.


The focus of the gestalt therapeutic method is the development and refinement of awareness (German translation often also: consciousness; the English term is " awareness ") of all currently available and accessible feelings, sensations and behaviors of the client. This should enable the client to recognize and experience his contact disorders, which prevent him from entering into a satisfactory exchange with his environment. The reactivation of emotional needs and the perception of them should enable the client to overcome his contact disorder.

Awareness or awareness can denote both an unintentional, active, inner attitude of attention / mindfulness as well as a more directed form of attention / mindfulness and can focus on all phenomena of perception and experience. From this follows one of the most important working principles of Gestalt therapy, the principle of the here-and-now: The current situation, including that between client and therapist, is seen as the decisive “place” where change occurs. Past and future also come into play in this current situation: e.g. B. as a reminder or as a planning. Methodologically, awareness is promoted and a. through direct feedback from the therapist or through the use of exercises or experiments that are developed from the specific therapy situation.

The dialogic principle

Through direct and concrete work on current situations and on the relationship between client and therapist, the patient's contact with himself and his environment should be encouraged and supported, and existing contact disorders should be overcome. In this way the self-healing powers of the patient are exposed and new insights, experiences and behavioral possibilities are opened up. Gestalt therapy regards the self-healing powers as part of the organismic self-regulation, i.e. the ability of the organism to maintain itself in its environment. Self-regulation should be promoted through various exercises and basic methodological attitudes.

The therapeutic relationship in Gestalt therapy - understood as Dialogic Gestalt Therapy - is based on the principles of Martin Buber's existential relationship philosophy , the 'dialogical attitude'. Buber differentiates between acting out of a so-called I-it-attitude (“factual”, related to an object, even if the other person is a person) and acting out of a so-called I-you-attitude, a turning towards the other People at the same level, where the person is valued in their uniqueness without pursuing a purpose. Both attitudes are interrelated and are chosen according to the requirements of the situation. This attitude, in which the therapy situation is understood as a special encounter in the sense of Buber, which requires a high degree of authenticity and truthfulness, is fundamental for Gestalt therapy.

Contact functions

The so-called contact functions include projection , introjection , retroflection, confluence and deflection. They are also understood as “contact disorders” or “contact interruptions”. Contrary to a common misunderstanding, they have two sides, one that is more disruptive and one that is "normal". a. at least temporarily has the character of a problem-solving function or is simply part of the organismic self-regulation. The current Gestalt therapy therefore usually speaks of “contact functions”.

In particular, the concept of “introjection” is not identical to the psychoanalytic definition. Fritz and Laura Perls oppose assimilation to introjection. During assimilation, the organism (as the totality of body, mind and soul) transforms new things from the environment into its own, which it needs for self-preservation and growth. In doing so, the new is tested at the contact boundary of the organism with the environment, "destroyed" and transformed so that it can be assimilated. For this, positively understood aggression is necessary. Unusable material will not be accepted. Fritz and Laura Perls see this in analogy to “chewing” in the process of eating.

In the introjection, the new from the environment is absorbed into the organism as a whole without examination and transformation, since at the contact limit u. a. awareness is reduced or completely absent, and "aggressive" destruction and checking to see what is useful for the organism and what is not, is not happening. The resulting introject remains a foreign body in the organism. This process is understood to be analogous to sucking or swallowing when eating.

Instead of contact with the new, “confluence” has emerged in the introjection. Confluence refers to a state at the limit of contact in which awareness is reduced or completely absent, and / or in which the limit of contact itself is no longer present.

On the level of everyday behavior, a person can be described as primarily confluent if he “always follows the expectations of others, avoids any conflict , wants to create harmony and closeness at all costs ...”

Contact disorder

A basic concept of the concept is that of the "incomplete shape", which means that the process of adaptation of the organism / psyche to the environment (and vice versa) as a contact process could not take place completely due to possible disturbances . The result is a contact disorder. This meant that a “complete (or“ closed ”) form” in the sense of a completed adjustment effort could not develop.

The term “gestalt” originally comes from gestalt psychology , a psychology of perception. Fritz and Laura Perls apply it to the whole organism and are mainly guided by the Gestalt theory of the neurologist Kurt Goldstein and his holistic theory of the organism. Nice examples of adaptations and thus closing of shapes can be found in the publications of Oliver Sacks .

Wholeness, field, process

The holistic approach of Gestalt therapy does not only consist in considering the human being (as an organism) as an inseparable unit of body, mind and soul, but it also refers to the wholeness of the organism in the field; d. This means that the individual can never be seen and understood in isolation from his environment. The Gestalt therapy speaks here of the "organism-environment field" as a basic category.

The “contact boundary” is located between the organism and the environment, which both separates and connects. Strictly speaking, it moves in the actual contact of the organism with the environment. Contact and contact boundary are processes with which the organism, i.e. H. the individual, in exchange with the environment, assimilates new things and grows.

In contact, awareness / awareness, movement, action, thinking, feeling, etc. flow together for orientation in the field. Contact is defined as "perception of the field or movement reaction within the field."

The contact limit does not only move when the organism is in contact with the environment. It moves equally in contact of the self with itself, i.e. within the organism, e.g. B. when the self is in contact with feelings, thoughts, etc. Perls speaks here of the "intraorganismic field".

The “self” is also understood as a comprehensive process in Gestalt therapy. Perls, Hefferline and Goodman define it as “the system of constantly new contacts”. The “I” represents only a partial function of the “self”: It differentiates between “belonging to me” and “foreign”. In this way, Gestalt therapy stands out fundamentally from psychoanalysis, which understands the psyche more as an “apparatus” with individual parts.

Therapeutic Practice: Techniques and Methods

Many gestalt therapeutic techniques are designed to promote the clients' awareness of their perceptions and their experiences in their respective subjective situation. This is the primary purpose that Gestalt therapists pursue when, for example, they ask their clients to repeat a certain statement or to say it louder that describes the essentials of the client's experience in a particularly concise manner. The same purpose, in a different situation, the invitation to the client can serve, his current state of mind non-verbally, e.g. B. to clarify with sounds or movement. One and the same method, when applied in a situation-specific manner, finds expression in two very different techniques. If a technique is not used in the sense of the method, it loses its real meaning, becomes mindless and degenerates into a trick.

The four central methods of Gestalt therapy


A technique can only be a form in which the therapist's authentic, personal response to the client's current situation is expressed. Since the therapist sees himself as a companion in partnership (and not as a producer of the change in his client), the techniques are developed together with the client or presented to him as an offer and suggestion. In addition, the therapists make transparent what they want to achieve with a particular technique, they reflect on the techniques together with the client and change the techniques if necessary or even withdraw them.

Field theory

Humans are in a continuous exchange with their environment in the form of constant mutual adaptation. It cannot be thought and understood without its particular field of which it is part. Gestalt therapy techniques have the task of supporting the client in researching his adaptation processes to his respective (um) - "field" or his adaptation of the environment to his own needs by helping him to change his point of view again and again. They promote the awareness of automated behavior patterns in order to enable the client to consciously decide for or against a certain behavior and, if necessary, to investigate what kind of inner support, what inner or outer resources he needs for it and how he needs it receive / learn etc. can.


In gestalt therapy it is important for the therapist to set aside all assumptions, assumptions and expectations about the subject of the investigation in order to be able to face the experience with open minds and without bias. Perception and description of what is obviously perceptible take precedence over interpretation or speculation. At the same time, the Gestalt therapists encourage their clients in one way or another to perceive and experience attentively and as holistically as possible and to describe the processes that take place from moment to moment. This strategy is based on the experience that awareness (mindfulness) can be beneficial per se.


Gestalt therapy as an existentialist method: from a gestalt therapeutic point of view, people are responsible for how they see the world (their attribution of meaning) and how they react to it, how they act (their way of life), even if they see it as if they have no responsibility . However, this does not mean that a person is or could be responsible for everything. A large part of his environment can hardly or not at all be influenced by him. Responsibility is not a moral category here, but merely indicates that we must respond to the “demands” of the field, whether we like it or not, and that our responses, decisions and actions have consequences for which we are “responsible " are. From a gestalt therapeutic point of view, this responsibility is an existential fact.

The techniques

The central methods of Gestalt therapy described must be expressed in all techniques. Five different types of techniques have become established:


Exercises are deliberately created situations that are structured by specific guidelines. Exercises are intended to encourage the participants to become more aware of how they shape themselves in the given “field” instead of instructing them how they should become through diligent efforts. They promote conscious perception, experience and action.


The experiments are about “trying out”, “experiencing” and “exploring”. An experiment is e.g. B. the practical experience of a new situation or behavior, or the review of an experience. In contrast to an exercise, an experiment is specially tailored to the situation or the person. At the end of the experiment there is neither “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad”, but new ones, etc. U. very meaningful information and a learning experience.


Homework is understood to mean experiments whose design is designed jointly by therapist and client during the therapy session, but which should be carried out by the client outside the therapeutic setting.

Situation-related interventions

The majority of gestalt therapeutic techniques consist of brief statements or questions from the therapist relating to the respective situation within the dialogue with the client. These techniques can be referred to as feedback or communications of personal responses, personal reactions, or impressions from the therapist.

Media and modalities

In addition to language, the medium of the body is also of great importance. A variety of modalities are possible: Gestalt therapists give their clients e.g. For example, they often receive feedback about their breathing, the sound or volume of their voice, their body movements and postures or ask them to pay attention to their body awareness or to experiment with body expression.

Example: the "empty chair"

A particularly well-known technique of Gestalt therapy is the “empty chair”. A so-called "empty" chair serves as a projection surface and placeholder for third parties who are not present. Such “third parties” can, for example, be caregivers who are significant for the client in connection with a certain topic, but also a part of the client's personality, a feeling or a need. In this "fantasy conversation technique" the client is asked to imagine in his / her phantasy that the absent caregiver, or the feeling etc. is sitting on the empty chair in order to then develop a dialogue with him / her. The empty chair can also serve as a spatial marker for certain aspects of the client with which the client is concerned. The client is invited to enter into a dialogue that is spoken out loud, as it already takes place in thought between contradicting sides of himself. With the alternation of speech and counter-speech, the therapists can ask their clients to actively change their outer seat and sit down on the chair on which the currently active side is anchored.

See also Parts Party (Satir) and Inneres Team (Schulz von Thun).

Problems of health and disease theory in Gestalt therapy

Gestalt therapy is an existential - phenomenological , experience-activating therapy method. It is aimed at personal growth and development of personality. Petzold is of the opinion that gestalt therapy, like other humanistic methods, shows salutogenic approaches, although at the time of the founders, such as Fritz and Laura Perls as well as Paul Goodman, no corresponding health and disease theory was formulated. There is no uniform theory or schools of Gestalt therapy that build on one another. The Gestalt psychology is an important theoretical reference point, as well as holistic and behavioral approaches. Frequently cited concepts are integration of personality and the contact cycle and its disorders. According to Petzold, Gestalt therapy is characterized by a rich fund of concepts and techniques, which, however, remain unclassified in an overarching theoretical structure.

In his opinion, the health and disease doctrine of Gestalt therapy from the first hour was accordingly oriented towards growth, but without clinical orientation.

From the beginning, the terms “health” and “disease” in Gestalt therapy have been viewed as problematic - for a variety of reasons. One important reason is that the terms never just state facts, but that cultural, historical, social and political norms and norms are always included in the terms. Blankertz / Doubrawa summarize the current position as follows: "Even Gestalt therapy has not yet found a completely satisfactory solution to the problem of the concept of disease."

The author Hartmann-Kottek takes the following definition: In gestalt therapeutic thinking, health is good internal and external contact between people. To do this, he must be able to delimit himself internally and externally in a manner appropriate to the situation and development. Boundaries serve to protect and perceive one's own identity. Being able to get involved serves to come into contact with the environment, with other people. The person is therefore in a dynamic equilibrium between delimiting and opening. A healthy person could consciously develop an “both / and” from an “either / or”. Accordingly, a condition is called a disease in which there is an involuntary lack of integration inside and / or outside the person. There are relationship disorders both externally and internally. Parts of the human being are no longer perceptible or distorted. The steady state is disturbed, the growth process prevented or impaired. If a clinical connection is sought in gestalt therapy, this mostly relates to ego psychology , self psychology , as well as concepts of object relationship theory, at least according to Petzold.

This has since changed. Newer authors try to combine the humanistic claim of the first hour with a clinical reference, to become more concrete and disorder-specific. Lotte Hartmann-Kottek writes: "Therapy goals are accordingly the integration of defended parts of the person, the re-establishment of contact with the here and now and with oneself, as well as the merging of 'either / or' , unconscious conflict situations and traumatizations identified. In Gestalt therapy, a twofold approach to the client's problem is typical. On the one hand, concrete methods are used to work on symptoms and disorders that have arisen from the lack of integration; on the other hand, an attempt is made to work on the lack of integration and its causes in a relationship-oriented manner. Both approaches, applied in parallel, are intended to help the client to grow, expand the scope for action and overcome symptoms.

Related directions

In addition to gestalt therapy, there are two forms of therapy to be named, which are conceptually or historically closely related to the Perls approach, but represent separate directions. The Gestalt theoretical psychotherapy founded by Hans-Jürgen Walter represents a completely independent development , which is based directly on Gestalt psychology or Gestalt theory . Also worth mentioning is the integrative therapy founded by Hilarion Petzold , which heavily includes gestalt therapy, but only as one of several therapeutic approaches.

Gestalt therapy research

The effectiveness of different psychotherapeutic methods was checked through individual investigations (experimental and statistical studies, case studies, meta-studies, etc.). In particular, Klaus Grawe should be mentioned here, who rated the behavioral / cognitive therapy forms a significantly higher effectiveness when it comes to the "benchmark" of around 60% therapy successes. However, the debate is by no means over. According to many of the large meta-analyzes on the effectiveness of psychotherapy, the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic / psychoanalytical and humanistic / conversational psychotherapeutic procedures for a large number of mental disorders is now beyond question.

In a more recent study (2013) of humanistic psychotherapy methods in the USA, the humanistic therapy methods are on the whole tied with cognitive behavioral therapy in terms of effect size. The smaller group of gestalt therapy / emotion-focused therapy according to Leslie S. Greenberg even performed significantly better statistically than cognitive behavioral therapy.

The studies by Willi Butollo and Leslie S. Greenberg should be mentioned in the effectiveness research of Gestalt therapy . Greenberg's investigations related to individual techniques and their effectiveness, Butollo investigated the effectiveness of gestalt therapy for anxiety disorders . Both come to the conclusion that gestalt therapy is highly effective.

Strümpfel (2006) provides an overview of the current state of research in Gestalt therapy. The systematization documents 432 empirical works, from individual case presentations and analyzes to complete studies. The content presented is 113 published scientific studies that go beyond individual case analyzes, as well as a further number of unpublished works such as dissertations and research reports. The data from a total of more than 4,500 people are included in the clinically relevant efficacy studies. The effectiveness of gestalt therapy is documented for various, even severe mental disorders, such as those found in psychiatric patients e.g. B. found with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, but also with more common problems such as depressive, anxiety, dependency and psychosomatic disorders. Studies comparing gestalt therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy show comparable improvements under both treatments for the groups studied for most symptoms, but stronger positive effects under gestalt therapy for the social skills of the patients, especially with regard to the resolution of interpersonal conflicts.

Hartmann-Kottek stated in 2014 that Gestalt therapy is now "internationally recognized as an evidence-based psychotherapy method".


As with most forms of psychotherapy, training to become a Gestalt therapist is organized through independent institutes, some of which are organized in associations (see below: "Gestalt Therapy Associations") that set training standards. It should be noted that there is no need to implement these standards as the term gestalt therapist itself is not protected. The DVG standard provides for 1,450 hours of time to be carried out over a period of 3 to 5 years, which are structured as follows:

  • Self-awareness - group 170 hours
  • Individual teaching therapy - 80 hours
  • Theory and Practice - 375 hours
  • Theory / practice seminars and congresses and collegial tutorials - 275 hours
  • Supervision - 130 hours
  • Individual supervision - 20 hours
  • Treatment practice - 400 hours

This fulfills the European standards of the EAGT ( European Association for Gestalt Therapy ). Only with this training can a Gestalt therapist use the additional designation DVG. The reasons for the regulations currently in force ultimately also lie in the anarchist past of the original gestalt therapeutic movements, which, not least, had formed as a counter-movement to the psychoanalytic establishment of the time. That is why today institutes that are not regarded as DVG training institutes are active in the training of Gestalt therapists and are generally recognized.

See also



  • Dan Rosenblatt: Open doors. What happens in Gestalt therapy? EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2013, ISBN 978-3-89797-000-7 .
  • Frank-M. Staemmler: What actually is Gestalt therapy? An introduction for the curious . EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2009, ISBN 978-3-89797-062-5 .
  • Albrecht Boeckh: Gestalt therapy - a practical introduction. Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2015, ISBN 978-3-8379-2515-9 .
  • Erhard Doubrawa, Stefan Blankertz: Invitation to gestalt therapy. An introduction with examples . Hammer, Wuppertal 2005, ISBN 3-87294-847-4 .
  • Erhard Doubrawa: Touching the soul. Narrated Gestalt Therapy . Hammer, Wuppertal 2004, ISBN 3-87294-908-X .
  • Bruno-Paul de Roeck: Grass under my feet. An unusual introduction to Gestalt therapy . Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg, ISBN 3-499-17944-X .

General representations

  • Stefan Blankertz, Erhard Doubrawa: Lexicon of Gestalt therapy. Hammer, Wuppertal 2005, ISBN 3-7795-0018-3 .
  • Lotte Hartmann-Kottek: Gestalt therapy. 2nd expanded edition, Springer, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-75743-6 .
  • Erving and Miriam Polster: Gestalt Therapy. Theory and practice of integrative gestalt therapy . Hammer, Wuppertal 2001, ISBN 3-87294-872-5 .
  • Reinhard Fuhr et al. (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Gestalttherapie . Hogrefe, Göttingen 1999, ISBN 3-8017-1286-9 .
  • John O. Stevens: The Art of Perception. Gestalt therapy exercises . GTB, Gütersloh 2006, ISBN 3-579-02278-4 .
  • Gary M. Yontef: Awareness, Dialogue, Process: Paths to Relational Gestalt Therapy . EHP-Verlag, Cologne 1999, ISBN 3-89797-001-5 .
  • Joseph Zinker: Gestalt therapy as a creative process. Junfermann Verlag, Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-87387-189-0 .

Special topics

  • Heide Anger, Thomas Schön (Ed.): Gestalt therapy with children and adolescents . EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2012, ISBN 978-3-89797-904-8 .
  • Jochen Waibel: I agree. The Stimmhaus concept for the balance of voice and personality . EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2012, ISBN 978-3-9804784-3-4 .
  • Josta Bernstädt, Stefan Hahn: Gestalt therapy with groups. Handbook for training and practice . EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2010, ISBN 978-3-89797-065-6 .
  • James I. Kepner: Body Processes. A gestalt therapeutic approach . EHP-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2010, ISBN 978-3-926176-07-3 .
  • Bernd Bocian: Fritz Perls in Berlin 1893–1933: Expressionism - Psychoanalysis - Judaism . Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal 2007, ISBN 978-3-7795-0086-5 .
  • Uwe Strümpfel: Therapy of the feelings. Research findings on Gestalt therapy . EHP, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-89797-015-5 . see also the book HP .:
  • Gordon Wheeler: Contact and Resistance. A new approach to Gestalt therapy . EHP-Verlag, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-926176-50-4 .
  • Gerhard Portele: Autonomy, Power, Love. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-38094-X .
  • Stefan Blankertz: Paul Goodman's critical pragmatism. On the political significance of gestalt therapy . EHP-Verlag, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-926176-21-0 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. German umbrella organization GESTALTTHERAPIE for approved psychotherapists eV DDGAP eV , accessed on March 28, 2014.
  2. ^ A trialogue between Laura Perls, Richard Kitzler and E. Mark Stern. (1982). In: A. and E. Doubrawa (eds.): My wilderness is the soul of the other. Laura Perls in conversation. Cologne 2005, p. 167 ff.
  3. F. Perls: The I, the hunger and the aggression. (1944/1946). Stuttgart 1978, p. 219ff.
  4. Hartmann Kottek: Gestalt therapy. Springer, 2002, p. 52ff.
  5. Fritz Perls: gestalt perception. Frankfurt 1980, p. 31.
  6. ^ FS Perls, RF Hefferline, P. Goodman: Gestalt Therapy. Joie de vivre and personality development. (1951). Stuttgart 1979, p. 36.
  7. F. Perls: The I, the hunger and the aggression. (1944/1946). Stuttgart 1978, p. 154 ff.
  8. F. Perls, R. Hefferline, P. Goodman: Gestalt therapy. Joie de vivre and personality development. (1951). Stuttgart 1979, p. 244 ff.
  9. Stefan Blankertz, Erhard Doubrawa (ed.): Lexicon of Gestalt therapy. Verlag Hammer, Wuppertal 2005, p. 175.
  10. ^ FS Perls, RF Hefferline, P. Goodman: Gestalt Therapy. Joie de vivre and personality development. (1951). Stuttgart 1979, p. 11.
  11. F. Perls: The I, the hunger and the aggression. (1944/1946). Stuttgart 1978, p. 286.
  12. ^ JB Enright: Thou Art That - Projection and Play in Therapy and Growth. In: Psychotherapy - Theory, Research and Practice. 2, 1972, pp. 153-156.
    FS Perls, RF Hefferline, P. Goodman: Gestalt Therapy - Revitalization of the Self. (1951). Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1979.
    FM Staemmler: Gestalt therapy methods and techniques. In: R. Fuhr, M. Streckovic, M. Gremmler-Fuhr (eds.): Handbuch der Gestalttherapie. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1999.
    JO Stevens: The art of perception. (1971). Chr. Kaiser Verlag, Munich 1986. The text is a summary and processing of a longer article on the discussion page (see also there).
  13. z. BF-M. Staemmler: What actually is Gestalt therapy? EHP, Bergisch Gladbach 2009, p. 32 ff.
  14. a b Petzold 1999, p. 310.
  15. F Perls 1976, p. 19 ff .; Polster, Polster 2003, p. 41 ff.
  16. L. Perls, pp. 25ff. Petzold 1999, pp. 311-312.
  17. ^ Polster, Polster 2003, pp. 105 ff .; Hutterer-Krisch, Amendt-Lyon 2004, p. 154; Strümpfel 2006, p. 39 ff .; Hartmann-Kottek 2008, (p. 156)
  18. Petzold 1999, p. 218.
  19. Blankertz, Doubrawa: Lexikon der Gestalttherapie, Wuppertal 2005, 184.
  20. Hartmann-Kottek 2008, p. 156.
  21. Petzold 1999, pp. 311-312.
  22. Lotte Hartmann-Kottek 2008, p. 156 ff.
  23. L. Hartmann-Kottek: Scientific supplementary data on Gestalt therapy. In: L. Hartmann-Kottek (Hrsg.): Gestalt therapy - fascination and effectiveness. Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2014, p. 350.
  24. ^ W. Butollo , M. Krüsmann , M. Maragkos , A. Wentzel: Contact between confluence and isolation: gestalt therapeutic approaches in anxiety therapy. Lecture given at the conference "Ways out of fear - possibilities and opportunities of therapy for anxiety disorders", organized by MASH (Münchner Angst-Selbsthilfe), November 1995.
  25. Uwe Strümpfel: Database for the book “THERAPY OF FEELINGS - Research Findings on Gestalt Therapy” . ( [PDF; 262 kB ; accessed on December 31, 2018]).
  26. L. Hartmann-Kottek: Scientific supplementary data on Gestalt therapy. In: L. Hartmann-Kottek (Hrsg.): Gestalt therapy - fascination and effectiveness. Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2014, p. 351.