Abstract

“What's a Gestalt?” “What does ‘Gestalt’ mean?” Why is it called “Gestalt therapy?” When pressed to answer one of these questions, we often find ourselves tongue-tied, unable to give a simple explanation. There is good reason for that, as there is none. I have explored the history of this concept, tracing its etymology, its development in Gestalt philosophy and Gestalt psychology, and finally its application to clinical practice in Gestalt therapy. I could not give a simple definition and had to describe it in terms of nine different Gestalt qualities. These characteristics, when illustrated by concrete examples, can suddenly bring us to a realization of what this word really means.

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