The question frequently arises about the interface of Gestalt therapy and systemic family therapy. The answer is predicated on a thorough understanding of the basic concepts and practices of each theoretical model. Both the Gestalt therapist and the family therapist view the family as a unified whole, an entity existing within a field, and creators of a “family field” with unique characteristics inherited from and influenced by a larger context. The conceptual framework of both Gestalt and systemic family therapies lead the therapist to be essentially, and almost exclusively, concerned with the interactional process in the family, rather than the content as spoken by members. Both modalities are nonjudgmental; they work with interactions as they occur in the present; and they are attentive to nonverbal expressions and family members’ responses and reactions. In addition, the hallmark of Gestalt therapy is the experiment, and in family therapy, the enactment is the same basic technique. The fundamental connection between Gestalt therapy and systemic family therapy emerges sharply when structural/systemic family therapy is performed by a therapist who is thoroughly grounded in Gestalt therapy and who brings this lens and internal process to the art and craft of therapy.
KeywordsFamily Therapy Nonverbal Expression Systemic Family Therapy Dyadic System Structural Family Therapy
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- Lynch E, Lynch B (2000) The principles and practices of structural family therapy. Gestalt Journal Press, Highland New YorkGoogle Scholar