Gestalt Therapy for Addiction Recovery & Mental Illnesses

Oak Forest Recovery's Mission

Gestalt Therapy is a very useful tool in a therapist’s arsenal. While most substance abuse treatment programs would agree that the support of others is most beneficial in helping one to stay sober,  it is through one’s personal journey that the change really starts to occur behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally. I have found that there are many modalities of treatment that help one to recover,  but very few stay focused on the emotional component that the Gestalt modality brings us.  It uses the “here and now” concept so that one can understand and gain an awareness of their feelings and learn how to manage them usefully.

Developed in the 1940s by Frederick “Fritz” Perls and collaborators Laura Perls and Paul Goodman as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy has been used today to successfully treat a host of addiction disorders and mental illnesses treatment, including substance use disorder, sex addiction, compulsive gambling, eating disorders, trauma, bipolar disorder and depression.The word gestalt comes from the German word shape or form, and can be defined as “unified whole.” It makes sense, then, that gestalt therapists use this technique to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction.

How Does Gestalt Therapy Work?

The goal of Gestalt therapy is to increase self-awareness in the present moment. Psychologists who use Gestalt therapy believe that when a person is genuinely self-aware, they will consistently improve their physical and psychological health and make improvements to their immediate environment, which will perpetuate future health and holistic growth.

Gestalt therapy uses guided visualization exercises that promote self-awareness and personal ownership. A key concept in Gestalt therapy is that the perceptions of past events are unreliable, and these misperceptions can have disproportionate effects on perceptions about the present. By becoming aware of the negative effects that memories can have while working to develop self-regulation and effective coping skills, people are able to free themselves from constricting ties to the past and move into a stage of growth and personal betterment

The Benefits of Gestalt Therapy

Generally speaking, gestalt therapy helps promote awareness of your thoughts, emotions and perceptions, and helps you better understand how these internal dialogues play a role in actions and behaviors. When used as an integrated approach to addiction treatment, gestalt therapy can also help you:

  • Monitor thoughts and actions in “real time”
  • Discover suppressed feelings or feelings masked by other feelings
  • Accept and trust your emotions
  • Provide a greater sense of freedom, control and serenity
  • Promotes conscious and thoughtful actions
  • Gain a new sense of self as overall awareness

Finding Treatment for Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, help is available. The Oak Forest Recovery at Agoura Hills CA, experts can give you a more explanation about Gestalt therapy and other forms of behavioral therapy. Please contact us today at 1-888-597-6257 or submit the form below to begin your journey.


Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice

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