Gestalt Therapy and Behavior Therapy

Different mental health care theories with a look at Gestalt Therapy and Behavior Therapy

Part One

How is Gestalt Therapy similar to Person-Centered Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Behavioral Therapy?

Part Two

Behavioral self-control

Discuss how you might use behavioral self-control procedures to help a client study more and Gestalt Theory’s empty chair technique to teach assertiveness training.

Part Three

Answer the following questions

  • Name and describe two ways people avoid contact with the here and now, according to Perls. Give client examples for each. 120 x 2 = 240
  • What did Fritz Perls mean by “unfinished business”? Give an example. 120 words
  • Describe the cycle of awareness. Create a client example. 2 x 100 = 200
  • Evaluate Gestalt therapy’s utility for clients who are of diverse backgrounds. What are its strengths and potential pitfalls? 2 x 100 = 200
  • Evaluate Behavior Therapy’s utility for clients who are of diverse backgrounds. What are its strengths and potential pitfalls? 150 words
  • Describe how you might use modeling procedures in helping a client learn a specific social skill. 100 words

Total around 1100 words total.

Sample Solution

Gestalt Therapy and Behavior Therapy

Part One

How is Gestalt Therapy similar to Person-Centered Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Behavioral Therapy?

Gestalt psychology attempts to provide knowledge of the rules behind the capability to gain and maintain meaningful perception in a world that is viewed as chaotic. “The whole/full is greater or bigger than the sum of its parts” is a statement given by Kurt Koffka (psychologist).

Gestalt therapy is described as a client-centered therapy. The major focus of the therapy is to help clients understand their present situation (what is actually happening their lives right now) and not on what they might perceive to be happening based on past experience.

In this therapy, the clients are encouraged to experience their past situations through the process of re-enactment and not merely just talk about it. Through the process of this therapy, clients learn to become more aware of how their own negative thought patterns and behaviors are blocking true self-awareness resulting in making them unhappy.

This type of therapy is employed to treat individuals facing troubles like depression, relationship difficulties, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and physical problems like back spasms, headaches or migraine. People who are willing to work on their self-awareness are considered good candidates for Gestalt therapy. However, these individuals may or may not be able to understand the role they in their own discomfort, stress, and unhappiness.

The major focus of the therapist in Gestalt therapy to emphasize the present happenings and finding solutions in present time. The therapist is likely to ask their client to re-enact a situation which caused distress in past but encourage them to discuss how it feels in the present moment (now). They might put forth questions like ‘What is going on in this moment?’ or ‘How does this make you feel now?’. Therapists are also likely to use methods including dreamwork like guiding fantasy, confrontation, role-playing, and other methods that help bring the past as well as current struggles to live in the therapeutic settings.

The goal of the client is to become more aware and mindful of their own self, their senses, bring about acceptance of consequences of their behavior, and learn to satisfy their own needs.

Gestalt means “whole”. The therapy was advanced by Fritz Perls, who was a psychologist and advanced the therapy on the principle that humans are viewed as a whole/complete entity that comprises of soul, body, and mind. Gestalt therapy emphasizes to alleviate unresolved resentment, anger, negative feelings, pain or anxiety by actively expressing in the present time and not just discussing through talking.

In contrast, Freud provided the most influential method of psychoanalysis which helped in treating psychopathologies. It is considered to be a deep talk therapy which aims at bringing unconscious or deeply buried feelings and thoughts of the client to their conscious mind. His theory of the unconscious is highly deterministic and held that the broad spectrum of human behavior is explainable only in terms of mental processes (hidden). The basic argument proposed by psychoanalysis is that conflicts in an individual’s personality occur through the interaction of three vital structures of the mind; id, ego, and superego. He stated that physical symptoms tend to be surface manifestations of repressed conflicts. Thus, when in a situation of conflict amid the goals of id, ego, and superego the ego tends to act as the referee and mediate the conflict.

Sigmund Freud is among the most regarded and famous physiologist, neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is defined as a clinical method that is employed in treating psychopathologies whereby a dialogue takes place amid the therapist (psychoanalyst) and the patient.

The psychodynamic view of psychology lays emphasis on psychological dynamics that underlie human behaviors, emotions, thoughts and feelings and their relation with early experiences. The psychodynamic theory comprises of the theories that view the functioning of the human personality as grounded on the fact that these are interactions of drives and forces within a person.

The supposition of the psychodynamic approach in psychology regarding the person’s personality is that the unconscious mind is composed of the mental processes that are inaccessible to the person’s consciousness. However, these processes influence the feelings, behaviors or judgments of the person. It can be understood in terms of an iceberg, the tip of which seems to be clear and small but the most important part of the mind is what one cannot see, like the part of the iceberg underwater.


Gestalt Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Cherry, K. (2019, June 24). What Are Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development? Retrieved from

Boundless. (n.d.). Boundless Psychology. Retrieved from

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