Published by APA (American Psychological Association), Gestalt Therapy provides an introduction to the theory, historical evolution, research, and practice of this process-oriented approach to psychotherapy.
Gestalt therapy arose as a reaction to psychodynamism and behaviorism, the dominant approaches of the mid-twentieth century. Its major tenets — a rejection of traditional notions of objectivity, a radical (for the time) focus on building rapport between therapist and client as a relationship of equals, careful attention to the bodily sensations that accompany strong emotions, and a guiding belief in the therapy room as a problem-solving laboratory in which experimental approaches towards interpersonal relations can be attempted in a safe setting — have been widely incorporated into a broad range of approaches today.
Open-ended and inquisitive rather than a rigid, manualized set of techniques, Gestalt is a set of guiding principles that inspire an active, present-focused, relational stance on the part of the therapist.
This essential primer, amply illustrated with case examples featuring diverse clients, is perfect for graduate students studying theories of therapy and counseling, as well as for seasoned practitioners interested in understanding how this approach has evolved and how it might be used in their own practice.
Lena Axelsson, PsyD, was educated and received her Gestalt training in Sweden, moving to the United States in 2000. Following 4 years living and studying at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, she took her doctoral work at Ryokan College.
After serving for some years as clinician and a clinical supervisor at Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance Center, she entered private clinical practice with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. In addition to her clinical Gestalt training, she has also trained extensively with Peter Levine in Somatic Experiencing.
Dr. Axelsson lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she practices as a member of an integrative medical health team.
Gordon Wheeler, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with many years’ experience writing, teaching, training, and practicing out of a contemporary field-relational Gestalt therapy model. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the field, most recently, Co-Creating the Field: Intention and Practice in the Age of Complexity (with Deborah Ullman; Routledge Taylor & Francis).
Dr. Wheeler is on the visiting faculty of many Gestalt training institutes around the world, and is longtime president of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he also served for some years as CEO. Together with Nancy Lunney Wheeler he teaches Gestalt Relational Constellations widely around the world. His private practice of coaching, counseling, psychotherapy and consulting is located in Santa Cruz, California.