The theoretical concept of “disequilibrium” is at the heart of the developmental theories of Dewey (1934), Freud (1957), Erikson (1987), and Piaget (1964). It is also at the heart of Gestalt therapy theory (Perls, Hefferline, and Goodman, 1951). In each of these theories, the concept of disequilibrium is used to describe the “destabilization” experienced by children as they move toward and into more complex levels of development. This article highlights the theoretical linkages between developmental and Gestalt therapy theory and, in so doing, provides further theoretical support for the “developmentally appropriate” work that gestalt therapists provide, particularly with children.

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