"Gestalt" is a German word meaning whole, shape or pattern. Gestalt is a holistic process that focuses on the individual as a whole. The person is never reduced to parts but viewed as an integrated whole with innate potential of growth and self-expression. The goal is to guide you into taking a deeper look at your true self and the way you express yourself in relationships with others and the environment and to help you re-own your full potential as well as your ability to self-regulate. The Gestalt theory of change believes that the more we try to be who and what we are not, the more we stay the same. In other words, change is inevitable when we accept who we truly are.
Gestalt counselling aims at integrating the sometimes conflicting dimensions within people. We believe that all individuals are capable of dealing with their life problems themselves, especially if they are fully aware of what is happening in and around them.
Gestalt counselling focuses on your "here and now" experience by bringing into awareness any unresolved issues, experiences and old patterns that may be causing you difficulty. By focusing on self-awareness and on what is happening in the here and now, and on patterns of relating to others, understanding your immediate thoughts, feelings and behaviour can lead to significant change. For example, in some situations, you may find it hard to express your emotions because in the past your need for emotional expression was denied by those around you; unconscious fears may interfere with your current thoughts, feelings and physical well-being. By gradually exploring and uncovering “how” those fixed patterns are still active and affecting your life, you will be able to become more self-aware and lead a more choiceful, creative and satisfying life with rewarding relationships in all areas.
Gestalt counselling focuses on “how” people do things rather than “why”. How involves finding out how you behave, how you make decisions, how you react to people, since by doing this, you are able to see what part or responsibility you have in how you organise your life which means that you have more opportunities to make different choices. Learning what we are responsible for and taking ownership of our feelings and choices is at the heart of gestalt.
Coming to counselling can be a journey into the unknown. This may be the first time you have been truly listened to without judgement or pressure. You may get in touch with thoughts and feelings that have been ignored, denied or pushed down for a long time and this can be a painful experience. Nevertheless, with time, patience and support, you will start to feel more in control, confident, centred and see things more clearly.
"Sarah has been an enormous help to me in terms of unpacking emotions that were too deep or complex for me to tackle alone. Sarah's consulting room has been a safe place for me to explore the roots of feelings that were affecting and hindering me in my daily life. Having that regular emotional outlet meant that my feelings did not overwhelm me. When necessary, I was able to "park" difficult emotional responses, knowing that I would have Sarah to accompany and guide me through the maze in our next meeting. Sarah has helped me to manage my emotions with her perceptive insight and non-judgemental support. I would recommend Sarah wholeheartedly and unreservedly."