5306 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA  206-403-1148

Gestalt Therapy 


Do you feel disconnected from yourself and from the important relationships in your life?

Gestalt therapy is a holistic, whole-person therapy approach that uses special attention on the present moment (what’s happening in the therapy room) to explore the challenges faced in everyday life and ultimately increase self-awareness. From recounting dreams to reenacting meaningful relationships and processing the feelings associated with each, gestalt therapy is a powerful therapeutic approach. Healing with gestalt therapy comes from connecting more fully to your body, mind, and emotions in the present moment, and allowing that awareness to shape how you move throughout the rest of your life.

Are you ready to develop self-awareness and start guiding your own life?

In today's relentless pace of life, many individuals grapple with profound disconnection from their experiences, exacerbated by the weight of significant losses and smaller griefs alike. The profound impact of losing a loved one, grappling with a new reality, or navigating through smaller, yet poignant, griefs can intensify this disconnection. These experiences often evoke a sense of profound loneliness and alienation. In the wake of such losses, the tendency to numb oneself to the pain by burying it beneath distractions or busyness becomes all too common, further deepening the chasm of disconnection. As a result, individuals may find themselves drifting further away from their authentic selves and the richness of life's experiences, yearning for a sense of connection that seems increasingly elusive.

Gestalt therapy offers a way back to yourself, by leaning into the present moment with the richness of emotion, thought, and bodily sensation it offers, and applying those insights externally. For example, you might be asked to notice the thoughts that arise, the movement of your hand, or any feeling that settles in your body when discussing the challenges that brought you to therapy. By tuning into these experiences and exploring their depths, Gestalt therapy aims to help you gain insight into how you relate to yourself and others, uncovering underlying patterns or unresolved issues that may be impacting your well-being.

Embracing the present moment can be a powerful way to experience being in the world, as ”connecting to your whole self” allows you to move through life with a greater sense of who you are, what you can do, and how you can get your needs met. If you are looking to reconnect to your whole self—body, mind, and emotion—our skilled gestalt therapists are ready to help. We are here for you, ready to answer any questions you might have about gestalt therapy. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if gestalt therapy at Thrive for the People is the right fit for you.

What is gestalt therapy?

Gestalt therapy is a holistic, person-centered therapy approach that integrates role-playing and re-enactments, art, dance, body work, dream work, and visualization. It involves in-depth mindfulness exercises, asking you to regularly examine how you feel, how your feelings are showing up in your body, what your experience is in the present moment, and how that may stem from your past experiences. 

Gestalt translates to "whole" or "complete," and is a therapeutic modality developed in Germany in the 1940s. In this therapy modality, your whole self refers to the idea that individuals are viewed as complete beings, comprised of various interconnected parts—mind, body, emotions, and spirit—that together form a unified whole. This holistic approach emphasizes the importance of integrating all aspects of oneself into a coherent and authentic identity.

Gestalt therapy also considers your context in life as a key part of who you are and how you approach the world. With this in mind, you are treated as the expert in your life experiences, and your therapist will treat you with unconditional acceptance, regardless of the feelings and experiences you share.

Is Gestalt therapy effective?

Gestalt therapy’s efficacy lies in its holistic approach to individual counseling, where individuals are encouraged to integrate their real-time understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behavior in order to “see the bigger picture” and better understand the way they relate to others. A gestalt therapist will help shift the conversation into the “here-and-now,” and use insights from the present moment to build coping and interpersonal skills and increase your self-understanding at the same time.

Building self-awareness in Gestalt therapy

Gestalt therapy is an effective way to improve your self-awareness, as it encourages introspection in a variety of experiences and scenarios. Through that self-awareness, you become better acquainted with how you cope with emotion and conflict. You and your therapist can work to find ways for you to process feelings and interact with others that truly suit your life, goals, and personality. 

Emotional healing in Gestalt therapy

Gestalt therapy offers you space to work through unresolved interpersonal conflicts, as well as unresolved conflicts with parts of yourself, through role-playing and re-enactment. This work gives you a chance to create your own closure and encourages acceptance. Gestalt therapy can be a great source of emotional healing or dealing with the “unfinished business” of the past. 

Self-determination through Gestalt therapy

A main goal of gestalt therapy in individual counseling is a deeper understanding of your own role in your life and a greater handle on just how much self-direction you have in your day-to-day life. A Gestalt therapist believes that you are able to find the right ways to satisfy your needs, and you are ultimately responsible for your own actions. Embodying this mindset shift will help you find ways for you to cope with life’s challenges—ways that are healthier and more in line with who you are as a person. You'll be empowered to find your voice and take the reins of your life, instead of taking a passive role. This newfound awareness will bring motivation, self-esteem, and self-actualization to the forefront of your approach to life.

How does Gestalt therapy work?

Like many other therapeutic modalities, gestalt therapy begins with your therapist getting to know you, so they can understand your motivations for coming to therapy and your personal goals. Early sessions will also include building trust—a high priority for your Gestalt therapist. They will work to show you that you are respected, believed, and safe to freely express yourself in session. In later stages, your therapist may guide you through a gestalt therapy exercise using objects in the room or instruct you to draw as they take an active role in observing and reflecting with you on your motivations, feelings, and experiences. In this process, you may be asked to exaggerate a gesture, repeat or rephrase something you’ve said, imagine you’re speaking to someone or a part of yourself, recount a dream, or reenact a past experience. 

Gestalt therapy: a person-centered therapy

Gestalt therapy is a more free-form, person-centered therapy approach, meaning that while exercises will be used to help you explore yourself, you are ultimately the driver for each session. You decide what you explore and what helps you the most, and your therapist engages actively with you to discuss, process, and shed light on the various insights you develop as you work through Gestalt therapy. You and your therapist will work as a tightly-knit team to deepen your self-understanding.

The present moment holds the key to self-understanding and acceptance

Gestalt therapy focuses on your immediate experience. You’ll work with your therapist on exercises that reenact experiences or allow you to role-play through prospective interactions, and you’ll focus on the thoughts and feelings that are coming up for you in the present. This focus on the “here and now” encourages you to develop a whole-self mindfulness practice you can use consistently, outside of the therapy session as well as in-session, providing you with a powerful tool to cope with stress and reduce anxiety. 

You’ll use present-moment awareness to connect your mind to your body as well. Your body language speaks to your emotional state, and your therapist may ask you to explore how crossing your arms, sighing, or other body movements reflect feelings you're experiencing in the moment.​​​​​​​

Is Gestalt therapy right for you?

At Thrive for the People, our skilled gestalt therapists are ready to meet you where you are in life and want to work with you so you can dive into your feelings and how you embody them. If you’re in the Seattle area and struggling with feeling disconnected from yourself due to anxiety or depression, are having relationship issues, or are having a hard time understanding your behaviors and motivations, gestalt therapy can help.

We can provide in-person individual counseling in Seattle, WA, and can provide online individual counseling to any residents of Washington State. Contact us today, to see how we can facilitate your having a deeper, more connected relationship with your whole self.

In-Person and Online Therapy

Our office is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

5306 Ballard Ave NW,
Seattle, WA

Can’t make it into the office? We also offer online therapy for your convenience.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit.


We are excited to welcome Maricor Coquia, LMHC, as the newest member of our team. Mari has openings for individual and couples therapy.