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What is Gestalt therapy?
Gestalt roughly translated from German means
Gestalt therapy emphasizes looking at the
whole integrated experiences of the individual rather
than dissecting them into analyzable parts.
The client is viewed as an integrated whole with innate
potential for growth and mature self-expression. In
Gestalt therapy the individual is the expert in himself or
herself, and therapeutic growth comes from the unique
relationship between the therapist and the client.
Gestalt therapy approaches life problems as
opportunities to grow. The focus is not on getting rid of
the old habits but on breaking the patterns that prevent
us from developing new behaviours. The best way of
doing this is in contact with your surroundings (other
persons). In Gestalt sessions we investigate those
relationships in the ‘here and now’.
An important element in Gestalt is becoming
conscious: conscious of your thoughts, your feelings,
your body, your desires, your emotions etc. Through
specifically designed exercises, one’s level of
consciousness can be increased. Once this process has
been initiated, the client, together with their therapist
takes a look at all these feelings/sensations/desires
from an accepting point of view. Becoming more aware
allows for more options to choose from in situations.
Gestalt therapy encourages experimenting with new
behavior in the ‘here and now’. This enables clients to
experience something new. Several techniques are
used, like drawing, role-play, exaggerating behavior
etc. The outcome of an experiment is never
predetermined; it is a search between therapist and
Taking responsibility is an important theme in
Gestalt. You are not always responsible for your
situation or circumstances but you do have the choice
how to deal with them. Gestalt therapy helps you to
take responsibility and guides in how to carry it.
Gestalt in groups
Because of the importance of contact with your
surroundings Gestalt works best in groups. This enables
interaction and gives room for experimenting with new
behavior. To make this possible the group works on
safety and trust, which are issues we all struggle with
in our life to some degree.
An important instrument is ‘feedback’. In the group
trainees learn how to give feedback and how to deal
with receiving it. Giving feedback to someone gives
insight into who you are and your own life values,
which stimulates consciousness. In Gestalt group
sessions we encourage feedback from your own
perspective, rather than from the ‘general norm’.
Although giving feedback in a neutral way can be
somewhat challenging at first, once you get the hang of
it, it becomes second nature. The hardest part is
learning to really receive the “gift” of feedback and
integrate it into life. Once a group establishes the
necessary safety and trust and learns the art of
feedback there are no limitations in what we can teach
During group meetings there will be room for individual
sessions. The group members will observe the process
and afterwards the person that was in the ‘hot-seat’
can ask for feedback. It is also possible that group
members get involved in an individual session by
playing certain parts in the persons story. This is a
powerful method to explore and release suppressed
If you are interested in participating in a Gestalt group,
please make an appointment for an intake session that
takes 1½ hour. When a Gestalt group suitable for your
situation becomes available, we will offer you a
commitment for at least 10 group meetings and one 2-
day workshop (weekend). The group size is 8-12.
The group meetings take place on a weekday-evening
from 19:00 till 21:00/21:30
An intake session costs R 350. For 10 group sessions
and one 2-day workshop the rate is R 2 100
I am Rob Baltus, born in
Amsterdamin 1963. My first
career was in corporate finance
and I worked as a financial
manager for several companies.
Much of the time I found myself
being a coach and so came to
realize that this is my real passion.
In the eighties I was introduced to
Gestalt and after being in a Gestalt
group for one year I entered the
Gestalt Institute ‘Kristallijn’ in
Amsterdamwhere I was trained as
a Gestalt therapist and got my
certificate in 1994.
I came toSouth Africain 2007.
After a period of settling in my
new country, I am ready to offer
my Gestalt expertise to the South
African community. I look forward to having the
privilege of working with you too.