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Gestalt Therapy

Abstract: Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapeutic method, which aims at helping the patient becoming aware of and experience own feelings.

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Gestalt Therapy

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Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 02 Jun 2019.

What is meant by Gestalt therapy and how is it used in the treatment of eating disorders?


The fundamental idea in gestalt therapy is to experience oneself as intensively as possible, live in the present, act instead of theorizing, experience feelings as directly as possible and take responsibility for one's actions and symptoms so that one can function as a person where feelings, physical impressions, thoughts and actions are connected.

The patients becomes more aware of themselves and the inner world. By experiencing more clearly what is wanted, felt and perceived, the patient will be able to be assertive in relation to the surroundings. A contributory cause of eating disorders can be fear of showing feelings and suppressing them. The patient uses eating or starvation for this purpose.

Really unpleasant feelings are experienced, such as a compelling need for compulsive eating or starvation. Through therapy the patient can get acquainted with and understand the suppressed feelings and manage them more effectively.

A person who has suffered from an eating disorder but has gone through a successful therapy, eats only when physically hungry and stops when physically satisfied. This person is curious about real feelings and wants to investigate them instead of anaesthetizing them by overeating or starvation. More about psychotherapy.

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