Gestalt Therapy


Gestalt Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Addiction is one of the most difficult diseases to address due to its unpredictable nature.  There are symptoms that every addict will have, but there are also a number of them that will be unique for each individual.  A variety of treatment methods and therapies are constantly being developed to address the current and arising symptoms of substance abuse and addiction.  Many therapists have started using the Gestalt therapy for addiction treatment, and it shows promise as a viable alternative in the treatment of addiction.

Because every addict’s experience is unique, their experiences can only be truly explained through a dialogue.  In this dialogue, each addict discusses his or her current situation based on his or her own perspective.  Using Gestalt therapy for addiction treatment means focusing on what’s being done, rather than on what has or should be done.  The therapy or treatment approach chosen is based on the differences in perspective that arise in the discussion or dialogue.  Therapists put an emphasis on personal responsibility and the ways in which addicts can modify their current situation by being aware of what is happening within and without them.


Frederick and Laura Perls founded Gestalt therapy in the 1940’s to educate therapists on the theories of phenomenology and existentialism.  The use of Gestalt therapy for addiction treatment is based on the theory that addicts can instigate change within themselves through self-awareness with systematic exploration.  This systematic exploration is supervised by the therapist so one can gain insight, which is described as “a patterning of the perceptual field in such a way that the significant realities are apparent; it is the formation of a Gestalt in which the relevant factors fall into place with respect to the whole.”

There are various methods of addiction treatment used by different treatment centers, but the Gestalt therapy shows promise because it delves into an addict’s inner self in an attempt to determine the root cause of addiction.  It is in determining the cause of addiction that the healing process truly begins.