Gestalt Coaching Approach

Gestalt, from the German, means, loosely, ‘pattern’. This concept of pattern, in Gestalt, is of a field of experience and action. Gestalt is an organic model that focuses on bringing into conscious awareness and choice one’s exterior and interior reality in order to achieve personal coherence and satisfaction (Perls, Hefferline & Goodman, 1951).

As a Gestalt orientated coach I work with clients to help them become aware of what is going on in the moment. As clients become more aware of themselves, others and the situations they are in, they have more choice in the actions they take and experience greater satisfaction with their achievements.

The Gestalt Cycle

The Gestalt Cycle of experience describes a change process that an individual or system (interpersonal, group or, organisation) goes through in any given experience. Being more aware of yourself and the world around you means you can achieve more by doing less.

Sensation is when you notice something is going on but nobody else seems to be aware of it. Awareness emerges when others are talking about what's going on but don't know what to do about it. Energy is Mobilised when you know what you need to do but nobody else wants to commit. The Excitement or emotional response affects your breathing before you finally take the decision but others aren't happy and there is no sense of achievement.

Contact is achieved when people are happy with the outcomes and congratulating each other. Some people will not be happy and closure will not be achieved as they have Withdrawn, perhaps because it doesn't feel right. New sensations will then stimulate the cycle of responses to repeat themselves.

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In any experience, the following present problems:

  • skipping stages (e.g. moving to mobilisation of energy before coming to full awareness, or whizzing from sensation to action)
  • skimping on work within each stage (e.g. skimping on closure will cloud and confuse further work)
  • sticking repeatedly on stages (e.g. habitually coming to full awareness but not moving into doing something about it = energy mobilisation and action)

Coaching can help overcome the blockages from experiencing the full cycle.

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“Change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.”
Arnold Beisser, The Paradoxical Theory of Change