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Gestalt Therapy

Different people respond to different treatments, and the myriad options for alcohol addiction can make choosing a rehab program a challenge. Finding out about each therapeutic method is integral to determining which is the best choice for you or your loved one. Gestalt therapy is concerned with the individual and their experience of the world, and aims to increase their awareness of thoughts, feelings and events. This seems hard to reconcile with alcohol rehab, but it is really focused on the person’s ability to identify the influence of their environment and feelings on their decision-making.

The underlying principle of gestalt therapy is that all human behaviour is based on the present circumstances. It is a phenomenological theory, in that it focuses on the perceptions and feelings occurring in the present, rather than using interpretations or leftover baggage from the past to define the events. The “naive” perception (which is raw emotional and objective information, un-coloured by rationalisation or interpretation) is highly prized, being seen as valuable data in the exploration of the person’s issues. This awareness of the present is nurtured, and the individual is shown how to become fully aware of their naive perceptions and what they do with them.

One factor which makes gestalt therapy difficult to define is the highly personalised element. It focuses on each individual, which means that the content of sessions can vary wildly. Gestalt therapists often have no idea where a session is going to lead, but instead focus on the present and experiencing events moment-to-moment. The therapist aims to increase the patient’s awareness of how their thoughts, feelings and actions are intrinsically tied to their immediate environment and how it influences their behaviour.

Gestalt therapy takes place through a dialogue. The therapist and his or her client are engaged in a process of increasing awareness of the “now,” and that process itself is also important. The therapist aims to determine the degree to which the person is aware of how their actions are affected by the present circumstances and events. The examination can take into account the influence of past experiences on present behaviour, but separates those from the immediate influences of the present. It examines how the client experiences the present, and as a result, a session is usually discussed within itself.

When used as a alcohol rehab program, gestalt therapy follows the same pattern, focusing on empowerment of the individual through awareness of their own decision making process and perceptions. The therapist makes the client aware of their decisions, and shows them the importance of external factors whilst still emphasising their own control over their behaviour. By focusing on decisions which take place in the present and all of their influences, the individual begins to naturally examine their own behaviour and voluntarily suggest a change. The next time the person is offered alcohol, they may realise that the social situation is pressuring them, and that their decisions have consequences. This increased awareness, as well as the awareness of other possibilities, allows them to say no.

The main goal of gestalt therapy is to empower the individual and give them a sense of responsibility over their own decisions. It doesn’t push them to change; instead it points out that the option of change is ever-present, and forces them to examine their own decisions in more depth. This process then makes them want to change. If you think this process could be beneficial to yourself or a loved one, please get in touch with us for some free advice on facilities available to you. We have a thorough knowledge of the alcohol rehab centres available, and can provide you with more information on the different models for treatment. If you’re struggling to decide which alcohol rehab program to choose, ring us up for some free, professional advice.


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