Hence, it is crucial that we acknowledge and accept these feelings instead of avoiding them. It is only by bringing these emotions into the light, we learn how to let go of resentment, loss and suffering. In GT, this is usually conducted through a simulation practice. It is a mental process involving three stages –
We can recall the person in our mind and express our feelings honestly and openly. We can tell them exactly what we feel and unload our pain, bitterness, grief and guilt. Once we have expressed ourselves and recognize them in our minds, we can finally let them go and gain closure. This can help to close the circle and empower us to move on in life.
2. Taking personal responsibility
This is perhaps the most effective Gestalt therapy technique that can help you to improve yourself, strengthen your relationships and live a better life. Although it is a simple concept in theory, in practice, taking the responsibility on yourself requires a lot of commitment and dedication. This technique enables us to become more aware of our inner selves, our lives, our surroundings and the world we live in. The objective of this technique is to perceive responsibility and accept it in difficult situations. This perception is then used to bring about more active behavior and actions to make necessary changes in our lives.
When we blame others, we instantly become a victim of the situation and lose our sense of control. This leads to stress and anxiety and even depression. GT enables us to change this old behavior and take the onus on ourselves to better our lives. “Learning how to accept and embrace personal responsibility is a goal of Gestalt therapy, allowing clients to gain a greater sense of control in their experiences and to learn how to better regulate their emotions and interactions with the world,” adds Jodi Clarke.
3. The empty chair
It is a widely known dialogue technique in gestalt therapy. The empty chair technique can be highly beneficial in gaining important meanings and perceptions that can help us to become more aware of our emotions and how we can start the healing process. Jodi Clarke, LPC/MHSP writes “This is a role-playing exercise that allows a client to imagine and participate in a conversation with another person or another part of themselves.” This process involves you sitting across an empty chair and engaging in imaginary dialogue with someone you wish to talk to or a part of your personality
It is often used to meet and engage with imaginary projections of specific people we know with the aim of resolving past trauma or help with the mourning process. This can also be beneficial for personal growth as it allows us to start targeted internal dialogue with our opposite personality. “The empty chair technique can be especially useful for helping people become mindful of the whole situation and forgotten or disengaged pieces of their own self,” adds Good Therapy.
4. Focus on affirmations
Another effective Gestalt therapy technique is turning your insecurities, fears and questions into affirmations. This can be an incredibly valuable therapy tool that can enable us to communicate internal realities and assemble, organize and mobilize resources.
So the next time you find yourself asking – “Why do I feel so terrible lately?”, turn your internal enquiries into affirmations. Tell yourself – “Okay, so I have been a bit down lately, but I will intentionally bring about a change from tomorrow, lift myself up and make things better one step at a time.” Turning questions into self-affirmations can alter our perception, thinking, behavior and action which can eventually empower us to change our reality for the better.