Philosophy/framework of Counseling

Published 18 Apr 2017

My thrust and belief consists primarily of a Gestaltist type of approach in counseling which is concerned with healing through dialogue and not merely the small-talk kind; it is an honest, open, and non-judgmental, comprehensive kind of talk where there are no inhibitions to the client or rules. This implies that the relationship between the therapist and the client is a dialogic kind of relationship. The major task of the therapist according to Woldt and Toman (2005) is to assist the patient to become aware of the unconscious way that he/she pushes others away from him them, or unawares cuts away human contact with themselves.

Gestalt therapy believes that human contact is what brings about healing and thus the therapist client relationship is of utmost importance. This means that the role of the therapist is basically to explore with the client the current state of affairs in his/her life and not to attempt to point out undesired behavior and modifying them. The healing comes out better when autonomy and growth through self awareness is fostered (Woldt and Toman, 2005). Of course this takes place through dialogue. The relationship here is that the therapist and client relate in a cordial and friendly manner and the therapist propels the conversation in an energized tone. This sets the pace for the client to talk about themselves, how the feel about anything and everything surrounding their lives. More to that, this intricate relationship and dialogue with the therapist assist the client to hear themselves and how they experience themselves, how the therapist experiences them, how they experience the therapist as an individual and friend and so on.

Needless to say this kind of therapy can be very tricky to use especially in the case of two opposite sex. It may yield a counter transference and the therapeutic distance. This may impede on the effectiveness of the therapy. It is therefore important that the therapist be very self aware of himself and objective through out the whole process of therapy. He should be in close monitoring of the evolution of the relationship with the client and on the look out for potential obstruction or abuse of power during the sessions of therapy (Rogers, 1980). This is not only a requirement in gestalt psychotherapy but basically in all psychotherapies. It is required by law that the therapist should always keep a therapeutic distance from the client because a breach in observing that distance is tantamount to abuse. This is because in therapy the client is usually vulnerable to the therapist and may feel pressured to please the authority (therapist) although in the real situation, this would be atrocious.

In gestalt therapy the most essential aspect is awareness and not dictating what behavior a client should or should not take. The therapist is merely a figure who takes the client through the many choices of behavior that he /she would like to adopt and help them in pointing out the orgasmic reactions as well as the consequences behind their choice and in accordance to their believes and values (Joyce and Sills, 2001). This means that if not in the jurisdiction to the therapist to choose for the client what is morally right or wrong since the foundational basic of gestalt therapy is that the client is response-able and are capable of charting their own course and behavior. Basically, in this therapy it is not about the ‘should’ and ‘should nots’ so to speak since this impedes on spontaneity and the integration of wholesome self awareness (Woldt and Toman, 2005).


  • 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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