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Gestalt Therapy

One of the most commonly-heard phrases in recovery is “One Day at a Time” and it’s also a good way to sum up gestalt therapy, a specialized form of counseling offered by American Addiction Centers. At our high-quality substance abuse treatment facilities, gestalt therapy has helped thousands of clients let go of the past and quit worrying about the future. A successful recovery is rooted in the “Here and Now,” and gestalt therapy encourages that state of mind.

Gestalt therapy was developed in the 1940s and 1950s, and has been used effectively to treat drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as many other emotional and/or psychological conditions. The Gestalt Institute of Rhode Island has called gestalt therapy “ideally suited” to addiction treatment, as it offers highly individualized care that encourages self-acceptance, while also strengthening the client’s ability make responsible choices long after drug rehab is complete.

A study published in the Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease examined nearly 5,800 adolescent addicts admitted into teen drug rehab, and found that gestalt therapy was an important component in “successful treatment of adolescent drug abuse.”

What is it, exactly?

The U.S. Department of Health defines gestalt therapy as a counseling technique that seeks to help clients “gain awareness of themselves and the world.” This is done, in part, through a focus on “living in the moment.” As human beings, our daily lives are filled with a host of different wants and desires, from getting hungry before dinner to seeking love and companionship. Gestalt therapy teaches us how to satisfy these immediate needs in healthy ways.

The cycle begins when we are at peace with ourselves, with no desires, a condition known as the “fertile void.” The following diagram designed by Inspirational Friends, a British self-help group, demonstrates the next steps in the cycle:

  1. Sensation: a feeling of want, such as hunger, begins.
  2. Awareness/Mobilization/Action: we become aware of our present need, and resolve to do something about it.
  3. Contact/Satisfaction/Withdrawal: we find the meal, or other thing, we were looking for, though over time our satisfaction may fade away.

Addicts, according to the U.S. Department of Health, often “do not achieve satisfaction of their needs and can remain unaware of what their needs are.” Gestalt therapy has proven to change these unhealthy behaviors. If you’re ready to get clean and stay clean, call American Addiction Centers today at 800-890-1956.