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Gestalt Therapy

  1. Thomas A. Glass

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0387

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Glass, T. A. 2010. Gestalt Therapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Gestalt therapy is an existential and phenomenological treatment approach that emphasizes the principles of present-centered awareness and immediate experience. To discover how one blocks one's flow of awareness and aliveness, the individual in therapy is directed to fully experience current thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Gestalt therapy was developed by Frederick S. (Fritz) Perls and his two collaborators, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman. Originally trained in classical Freudian psychoanalysis, Perls incorporated various new cultural and intellectual movements of the 1940s and 1950s, and synthesized them into a new theory and method of therapy. Perl's broad interests in existentialism, Eastern religions, and Gestalt psychology led him away from the Freudian viewpoint to a new humanistic and experiential approach. Perls saw the human being as a unified organism, an integration of mental, physical, emotional, and sensory processes expressed in the present moment.


  • humanistic/existential psychotherapy;
  • gestalt psychology;
  • experiential psychotherapy;
  • psychotherapy