Gestalt Blog

  • Not Your Typical Gift Guide for the Holiday Season

    by Page admin | Dec 11, 2017

    Holiday Gift Ideas

    The holiday season is upon us! This time of year can bring stressful to-do lists, including buying the perfect present for your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and more. We’ve all been there – frantically typing into search engines “gift ideas for coworkers” or “what to buy your boyfriend for the holidays.” Search no further. Recently, customers have purchased our workshops and books for others. We like the way they think, and decided to share the unique gift ideas we have to offer!

    1. Parenting From Your Heart – This book is our number one bestseller. The book, which includes questions and spaces for you to write in, is a guide to being the best parent you can be. The book provides parents with tools and skills they can use to help raise happy, successful children and build a healthy family.

    2. Heart to Heart: Learning to Love – This workbook is the perfect gift for a friend or significant other. It offers guidance to help improve communication, manage conflict, provide support, and more. Purchase it for your significant other, work through it together, and grow stronger as a couple. 

    3. Gift a workshop – Our workshops are truly one-of-a-kind. We consistently receive reviews from participants raving about the life-changing skills they learn. The workshops are interactive and go beyond basic ideas to help people achieve real change. Check out this list of our upcoming workshops and pick one for that special person on your gift list! They will be thanking you later.

    Want more? You can browse our entire list of books here.

  • Upcoming Workshops

    by Page admin | Dec 04, 2017
    We are excited to announce our upcoming workshop lineup for the first half of 2018! Stay tuned for more additions to the list as we prepare for the best year yet. 

    Upcoming Workshops

    February 13, 2018: Developing Your Child's Self-Esteem
    Through this workshop, parents, teachers, and professionals will learn what self-esteem is, how to help nurture it, and understand that without it, negative beliefs can take root, closing doors that otherwise would be open to opportunity for children.
    Learn more.

    April 10, 17, and 24, 2018: Parenting From Your Heart: Raising Successful Children
    Parenting from Your Heart is our parenting skills series, developed through the most current research, best practices and our collective experience working with children and families worldwide. We are proud to offer this comprehensive program to the community.
    Learn more.

    June 14, 21, and 28, 2018: Heart to Heart
    Whether you are single, dating, married, divorced, widowed or just looking, this life-changing workshop will provide information and insights you can use to build a stronger relationship.
    Learn more.
  • Norman Shub to Present at Upcoming Conferences

    by Page admin | Oct 27, 2017

    For years, Norman Shub has been presenting at conferences for school counselors, social workers, therapists, teachers, and more. This year is no exception. Norman will be presenting at the 2017 All Ohio Counselors Conference and the 2017 NASW Ohio Chapter Annual Conference this November. 

    AOCC Conference

    2017 All Ohio Counselors Conference
    The conference will take place from November 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in downtown Columbus, OH. The All Ohio Counselors Conference is the leading professional development conference in the state of Ohio for licensed counselors, counseling students, supervisors, and counselor educators who work in a clinical/community, school, college, addiction, private practice, or other related setting. 

    Norman is speaking on two topics:

    Thursday, November 9
    8:30-10:00 a.m - Developing and Leading An Effective Group

    Participants will:

    • Understand the process of group development, how to select group members, use the assigned group to build cohesion, or add people to an already existing group. This objective will include a demonstration by taking audience members and showing how to build a cohesive aligned group.

    • Learn about the role of the group leader, how to facilitate the engagement process, and how to help the group go through the process to become maximally differentiated and effective.

    • Learn the process of how to take the group through the stages of group development by watching the facilitator work with the audience. Although this will be a demonstration with participants, it will illustrate the changing role of the leader and how to move from leader-centric to audience and group engaged.

    10:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m - The Four Keys to Mitigating Student Anxiety

    Participants will:

    • Understand and explore the four parental behaviors that cause anxiety.

    • Learn specific interventions in the classroom and in the counseling environment that help diffuse this anxiety.

    • Explore their own developmental experience and use that experience to see for themselves how anxiety can develop in children.

    You can learn more and register for the conference here.

    NASW Ohio Conference

    2017 NASW Ohio Chapter Annual Conference
    The annual conference will be held on November 16 and 17 at the Quest Conference Center in Columbus, OH. The conference includes keynote speakers, breakout workshops, and networking opportunities for professional social workers. 
    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest and most recognized membership organization of professional social workers in the world. There are more than 130,000 members nationwide and 4,700 in Ohio.

    Norman will be speaking on both days:

    • November 16 - 11:45 a.m. - 3:00 p.m
      Being A Great Supervisor: The Core Skills

    • November 17 - 11:45 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
      Developing and Leading an Effective Group

    Click here to learn more and register.

  • Our Favorite Quotes About Love by Norman Shub

    by Page admin | Oct 18, 2017

    Relationships are challenging and take a lot of work. Norman Shub, Clinical Director of the Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio, has been working with couples for more than 40 years. Let's take a look at a few of our favorite wise words on relationships from Norman.

    1. Marriage is not 50/50. Marriage is 100/100.

      Marriage Quote

    2. You can’t come to a conclusion by being right; you come to a conclusion by coming to an understanding

    3. You change a relationship by changing yourself.

    4. Conflict is not about facts or being right…It’s about protecting the closeness between two individuals.

    5. Emotional safety is just as important as unfaithfulness.

    6. The problem is not that couples don’t love each other…the problem is that they don’t have the skills to sustain a relationship over a long period of time.

      Couples Quote

    7. In a long-term relationship, the excitement of the newness is replaced by the intensity of the closeness.

    8. Love grows by making the other person important.

      Love Grows

    Want more? Norman Shub is the presenter of Heart to Heart: Learning to Love, a workshop devoted to helping couples work through their struggles, build closeness, and sustain love and closeness over a lifetime. Click here to find out when the next workshop is and to learn more details.

  • Margie Mapes Celebrates 25 Years at Gestalt Associates

    by Page admin | Oct 02, 2017

    Margie Mapes Play Therapy

    It is not every day you come across a person like Margie Mapes. Margie is a warm and caring individual who is exceptional at her job and passion of Gestalt Play Therapy. Margie began working at The Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio in 1992, after training with Violet Oaklander, one of America’s highly regarded child therapists.  She received her Masters in Social Work from The Ohio State University in 1990, and is a graduate of the three-year postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio. Prior to her MSW, Margie co-founded and directed Little Tigers Preschool, which became the foundation of her dedication to the emotional needs of children. Margie is also a LISW-S and RPT-S.

    In her 25 years, Margie has worked with children, adolescents and their parents. She has strongly advocated for young people and instinctively relates to and understands children. Margie’s dynamic therapeutic skills in listening, melting, and supporting are known to engage young children and adolescents in exploring all parts of their selves. She finds deep satisfaction in helping parents learn to be the best parents possible by teaching them to be genuine, emotionally available, and consistent. Margie continues to be an inspiration to our team here at Gestalt Associates every day.

    “Margie has, and continues to, shape the way I do therapy with children, teens, and adults as well.  Her experience, warmth, and deep love for all children radiates whenever I am with her in supervision.  I have grown tremendously as a child therapist because of her wisdom and guidance and she has done a great job of helping me open my mind to the experience of the child in order to support them through therapy.  She’s even helped me become a better uncle to my niece and nephews.  My life would not be the same without Margie and I am grateful she has helped make Gestalt Associates a place that supports every child.”
    -Matt Dunatchik, Child, Teen, and Adult Therapist at Gestalt Associates

    Currently, Margie has moved into teaching the Oaklander Gestalt Play Therapy model to qualified clinicians. She also co-facilitates our Parenting From Your Heart workshop, in which she provides the unique “Voice of the Child.”

    “Margie is the heart of our Child Therapy Program. A protégé of Violet Oaklander, Margie has helped us create a world class child therapy group with wonderful child therapists. Margie is the warm heart of Gestalt Associates.”
    -Norman Shub, Clinical Director of Gestalt Associates

    Cheers to you, Margie! 

  • National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

    by Page admin | Sep 18, 2017

    Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

    September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Throughout the month, mental health advocates, organizations, and communities come together to raise awareness, tell stories, and educate the public on suicide prevention.

    Over 41,000 people die by suicide each year. These tragic deaths leave lasting impacts on so many, including family and friends. However, suicide and suicidal thoughts are stigmatized and not often talked about. It is important to discuss this difficult topic to inform individuals on prevention strategies, possible treatment, as well as provide resources to those left behind after the suicide of a loved one.

    You can make a difference and get involved this month by educating yourself and others on the warning signs and risks of suicideEngaging in conversation about suicide can help others open up and break down the stigma of even discussing suicide.

    If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

    #StigmaFree #SuicidePrevention

  • What is the Gestalt Post-Graduate Training Program?

    by Page admin | Aug 07, 2017

    Gestalt training

     What is the Gestalt Post-Graduate Training Program?

    The Gestalt Post-Graduate training program is for mental health professionals, organizational and business consultants, and all of those interested in learning how to use the Gestalt process in their professional work as well as apply it to their personal life.  The program attracts professionals from around the world and is known for its special hands-on approach to training, where actual clients volunteer, rather than students practicing with only students. This aspect of the program is boasted by alumni, who gain so much from working with real life clients.

    Who Participates in the Program?

    Past alumni have worked in essentially every field, including medical, mental health, business, government, and education. Participants range from students still in school to professionals who have been therapists for decades. Participants are looking to learn and go deeper with their work to be the best they can be. One of the most powerful aspects of training is that you get to learn and collaborate alongside a group of supportive, diverse professionals who share a similar passion. You will gain new perspective, develop relationships and receive personal and professional support.

    What Will I Learn?

    Through hands-on experience, lectures, practicum, experimentation, groups, and more, you will grow both professionally and personally. A few things you learn include:

    • How to use yourself more effectively in your consulting or therapy work
    • Understand the process of change and how it works with individuals, systems and organizations on a deep level
    • How to identify and manage resistance, work boundaries and understand transformational change and growth
    • The importance of the self in psychotherapy and leadership management
    • How to use Gestalt theory both clinically and organizationally to develop a methodology of work that promotes change
    • Learn to love your work and see that you can truly make a difference to individuals, couples, organizations, leaders, and more

    How Do I Apply?

    To begin the application process, click here. To learn more about the training, visit the training page here.

    What Students Are Saying

    "The first year of the Institute was life-changing for me. I have worked with Norman Shub in a variety of settings, but I never had an understanding of the depth of complexity of the process he and his team work through until I experienced the Institute. As an aspiring leadership counselor, I now have a framework within which to work."
     -Current Student

  • Practicing What We Preach

    by Page admin | Jun 14, 2017

    Gestalt Associates staff retreat

    Each year, our clinical team at Gestalt Associates devotes a full day to personal and professional growth at our annual Staff Retreat. This year, we gathered at the Columbus Athenaeum, where the team discussed goals, growth, and the future. One of the greatest benefits of the retreat was the discussion and feedback among colleagues. Clinical Director Norman Shub facilitated discussion where all members were able to participate, reflect, and really think about strengths, weakness, and ways to improve. The Gestalt approach focuses on awareness and encourages participation in lifelong growth, which is what our team is constantly striving to do; be the best we can be, for both our clients and ourselves. Overall, the retreat was a success and our staff is looking forward to implementing the experience into our work.

    “This was my first retreat at Gestalt Associates and the experience was inspirational. I have never worked in an environment that is so open for feedback, reflection, and growth. Occasions such as these help our staff stay connected and to strive for personal development,” said Jeannette Baker, our School and Community Liaison.

    Learn more about the Gestalt approach here.

  • 8 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

    by Page admin | May 24, 2017

    mental health tips

    Without good mental health, daily functions of life can be extremely difficult. Mental health touches almost all aspects of your life, including your mood, stress levels, and physical and emotional well-being. One in five adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime and almost all of us are impacted when friends and family experience mental health struggles. At Gestalt Associates, we’d like to provide a few tips to practicing good mental health.

    1. Get plenty of sleep. We’ve all been victim to late nights that lead to cranky, difficult mornings. However, we don’t always realize the lasting impact of inconsistent sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased depression and anxiety.

    2. Disconnect. Take time away from your phone, computer, tablet, or any screen that gets you comparing yourself to others on social media. Be in the present and get away from all of the noise and clutter.

    3. Exercise. A little bit goes a long way. Whether it’s taking a 30 minute walk or playing competitive tennis, you’ll find yourself feeling better and your mood boosted from the endorphin's. Exercise can also help relieve stress and improve your sleep.

    4. Focus on the positive. Recognize what your strengths are and be proud of them. Don’t spend time worrying about what you think you are lacking.

    5. Eat a balanced diet. You don’t have to be perfect, and it’s important to consider how what we put into our bodies impacts how we feel emotionally, physically, and mentally. For more information, check out this article.

    6. Invest in your relationships. Sharing our joys and struggles with others can be incredibly cathartic. If you are struggling, talk about it with a trusted friend or family member. Just saying out loud what’s on your mind can help you feel better.

    7. Spend time alone. It is important to take some time to yourself each week to do something you love to do by yourself, such as painting, browsing the book store, or hitting golf balls.

    8. Ask for help. If you are struggling and nothing seems to help, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Therapy is extremely helpful, and can be the first step to making a change for the better in your life.   
  • May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

    by Page admin | May 08, 2017

    May is mental health month

    Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been recognized in May. The goal is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness as well as reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Since 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, it is imperative to educate the public about the conditions and what can be done to help.

    This year, join us in supporting and spreading awareness. You can access more resources and information about what you can do to help here.

    #MentalHealthAwareness #StigmaFree

  • Celebrate National Social Work Month

    by Page admin | Mar 06, 2017
    Social Work Month

    March is National Social Work Month. This year's theme is “Social Workers Stand Up," highlighting the value of social workers in our society. Social workers change lives and stand up for countless people every day. Social workers are some of the most compassionate, hard working people, but are not always recognized.

    Ohio is home to more than 22,000 licensed social workers. Each day, social workers fight to help people with mental health crises, our veterans, communities, children and more.  To learn more about the profession and how you can help educate others on the contributions of social workers, please visit the National Association of Social Workers website.

  • 5 Ways to Be More Engaging

    by Page admin | Feb 24, 2017
    by Stacy Ingraham, MSEd., LPCC-S, Clinical Counselor

    Wouldn’t it be nice to walk away from every interaction feeling heard, important and respected? Unfortunately, we do not often leave conversations feeling this way. Why? Because many of us aren’t very good at engaging others. When we engage someone, they should feel like they matter, are heard, and appreciated. If you care about the person and especially if you want to grow a relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, learning the skills of engagement is imperative. Let’s take a look at five ways you can be more engaging:

    1. Be a really good listener. Listen for details, so that you can ask specific follow-up questions about what they share. If you are preparing a witty response, planning a grocery list, or consumed with worry about what the other person thinks about you, you are not being a good listener.

    2. Be curious. People who are interested, are interesting. A common mistake many of us make is talking too much about ourselves. This can come across as though you are trying to convince others to like you. Instead, ask open ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” response. If you have been listening, you will be able to ask those follow-up questions.

    3. Relax. Is your anxiety getting in the way of being present, or really with someone? If so, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself to be liked and accepted. Take a few deep breaths and trust yourself. A little anxiety is natural and motivating. Too much can be debilitating – consider seeking counseling or coaching.

    4. Speak non-verbally. Make eye contact, smile, have an open stance, lean in, nod…. We are always communicating.

    5. Show vulnerability. Giving someone a genuine compliment, accepting a compliment, sharing how you feel about something and asking for help are ways we can be more vulnerable. For instance, if you are enjoying the conversation, tell them. If their smile is warm and friendly, let them know.

    Many of these skills do not come naturally to many of us. If you want some help, consider the following:

    • Get connected with a skilled coach or therapist whom you trust who can provide feedback with support and compassion.

    • Seek feedback from friends.

    • Get  out of your comfort zone and practice. Take small risks in your everyday life by striking up a conversation, making eye contact, and noticing when your body language could be more open.

    • Watch Amy Cuddy’s “Your Body Language Shapes Who you Are,” and Brenè Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.”

    • Read Developing High Self-Esteem and Developing Leadership From the Inside Out by Norman Shub, Gestalt as a Way of Life by Cyndy Sheldon.
  • Are You Sabotaging Your Dating Life?

    by Page admin | Feb 06, 2017

    Written by: Stacy Ingraham, MSEd., LPCC-S, Clinical Counselor, Gestalt Associates, Inc.

    We date for a variety of reasons, primarily with hope of falling in love with someone who has similar values, interests, goals, and of course, chemistry. And when the topic of dating arises, a variety of feelings are evoked. There are more ways than ever to meet someone, yet so many of us are unsatisfied with and jaded about dating. So why does it have to be so hard?

    Since we can’t change others, let’s take an honest look at ourselves. What might you be doing to sabotage your dating life?

    • Do you listen to, and trust your gut?
    • Are you a good listener? Be honest…do you tend to prepare your response while the other person is talking? Do you tend to talk about yourself and try to convince him/her that you’re a great catch?
    • How good are you at asking interesting questions?
    • Do you put yourself out there? (this can be especially tough for introverts)
    • Do you let the other person do all of the talking?
    • Are you so jaded that you nit-pick every little thing that’s wrong, or could be wrong, about the other?
    • Do you rush into relationship mode, instead of really take time to get to know someone?
    • Do you date the same type of person, over and over again?
    • Are you presenting yourself authentically? Or, are you making adjustments to fit into what others want, or you think they want?

    How we meet someone becomes irrelevant when we don’t know how to engage people in meaningful ways, listen to our gut and do something about the red and green flags, and have clarity about what we really want.

    If you are struggling with dating, take some time for self-reflection and consider the following:

  • Norman Shub Presenting At the NASW Ohio Chapter Annual Conference

    by Page admin | Nov 08, 2016

    Norman Shub is presenting at the 2016 NASW Ohio Chapter Annual Conference. Norman will be speaking about Dealing With Difficult Parents from 11:45 am-3:00 pm on Friday, November 18.  The workshop is aimed at those practitioners who would like to learn how to engage extremely difficult parents and keep them in the change process. Participants will explore parent engagement scenarios, gain tools to help someone enter the parenting process, and learn interventions to keep parents engaged over time.

    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest and most recognized membership organization of professional social workers in the world. There are more than 130,000 members nationwide and 4,700 in Ohio. 

    The conference is November 17-18 at the Quest Conference Center located near the Polaris Mall at 8405 Pulsar Pl, Columbus, OH 43240. You can register to attend here.

  • Caring and Taking Responsibility: How Often Do You Cross The Line?

    by Page admin | Oct 17, 2016

    Caring and Taking Responsibility
    Written by: Stacy Ingraham, Clinical Counselor, Gestalt Associates, Inc.

    Do you have an innate desire to help others be happy and fix their pain? Are you a nurturer and enjoy taking care of others? When you see a loved one struggling, do you work harder than they do to find a solution? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may have a tendency to cross the line between caring and taking responsibility.

    Intellectually, most of us know that taking away someone’s struggle is not only impossible, it’s not what they want or need. We all need to struggle if we want to grow. If you’re unsure whether you tend to cross the line, the following breakdown between caring and taking responsibility may help.

    Caring for another involves the following:

    1. Listening with genuine care, respect, and an attempt to try to understand what a person is experiencing. If you want to learn how to be a better listener, check out the article, “What Great Listeners Actually Do” by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman.
    2. Offering assistance while setting limits to how much you’re able and willing to do.
    3. Asking someone if they want advice or feedback before giving it.
    4. Remembering that you are separate from the other person. Their feelings and behaviors may not have anything to do with you.

    Crossing the line into taking responsibility involves the following:

    1. Helping by completing a task that takes away a person’s opportunity to struggle and therefore, grow. For instance, doing your son’s homework assignment because solving math problems is difficult and gives him anxiety.
    2. Planning or organizing someone else’s life in an attempt to make a day or an event go as smoothly as possible for others. This can involve questioning someone persistently, or asking “are you sure?” multiple times when he/she has stated their decision.
    3. Taking on another person’s emotional pain by taking the fault when it has nothing to do with you. Or, trying to make someone feel better by talking them out of their pain and then feeling irritated when they distance themselves or do not feel better.

    Crossing this line over and over again becomes painful, exhausting  and feeds anxiety and depression. It can lead to loneliness, resentment  and frustration in relationships. A powerful gestalt intervention involves helping individuals enhance their awareness. Therefore, if you tend to cross the line from caring into taking responsibility and want to change, practice noticing each and every time you approach the line.

    1. If you feel resentful toward others when they dismiss your advice or help, you may be crossing the line.
    2. Perhaps you start worrying excessively about others and spiral into “what ifs.” You may say to yourself, “If I don’t do his homework, he’s going to fall behind, get teased, fail math, not get into college….”
    3. Perfectionists can cross the line in an effort to ensure that everyone is happy, having fun, and getting along. Along the same lines, if you need people to like you, notice when you start trying to figure out how you can help make things easier for them.

    As your awareness increases, you can decide how to care and set limits so you avoid crossing the line. Remember, we can care deeply about others and help them without taking away their pain, fixing their problems, trying to make their life perfect and enabling their troubling behaviors. 

  • Norman Shub To Present at The All Ohio Counselors Conference

    by Page admin | Oct 12, 2016

    We are excited to announce that Norman Shub will be presenting at the 2016 All Ohio Counselors Conference! Norman will be speaking about Couples Therapy for Advanced Practitioners from 3:00-4:15 pm on Thursday, November 3.

    The All Ohio Counselors Conference is the leading professional development conference in the state of Ohio for licensed counselors, counseling students, supervisors, and counselor educators who work in a clinical/community, school, college, addiction, private practice, or other related setting. 

    The conference is November 2-4 at the Hilton at Easton. You can register to attend the conference here.

  • Mental Illness Awareness Week

    by Page admin | Oct 03, 2016


    This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, aimed at educating and raising awareness of mental illness and advocating for equal care. It is important to be aware of the prevalence of mental illness in our country. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.

    Mental illness can affect a person's thinking, feeling or mood and are caused by a variety of factors such as genetics and environment. Among the most common mental illness' are anxiety and depression. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder.

    Although mental illness is very real and treatable, there has been a trend of stigmatization towards those affected by mental illness, including seeking support. Help fight the stigma and join the National Alliance on Mental Illness by taking the #StigmaFree pledge.

    For more information and ideas on activities and educating others this week, visit the NAMI website.

    #MIAW #StigmaFree #mentalillness


  • Are you stealing the spotlight?

    by Page admin | Jul 27, 2016


    Written by: Todd Grazier, Organizational Consultant at Business of People and alumnus of The Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio

    Has a friend ever shared with you something that was important to them? 
    They were having trouble finding a new job, they just read a great book, or their dog just died. You aren’t quite sure what to say. You want to be helpful. You want to relate. So, out comes advice on how to get the job, strategies that have worked for you, platitudes to hang in there, you’ll find something. You talk about books that you like and have read. You talk about how sad you were when your cat died. Your friend thanks you politely and walks away. You leave the conversation thinking you are a good friend and a good listener. You are happy that you stayed on the topic (jobs, books, death), even the uncomfortable ones. 

    But have you ever been on the receiving end of that? How was that for you? Did you feel like you were heard? Or did it feel like the conversation was hijacked? You know the other person meant well. You know they were trying to help. Yet the conversation feels off, disconnected. That is because the other person stole the spotlight. You talked about something that was important or meaningful to you and the spotlight somehow turned to them. You were feeling sad about your dog’s passing and you ended up talking about your friend’s cat.

    The problem is that what they say is not a response to what you said. They have taken the focus from what you wanted to talk about and shifted it to what they want to talk about. Sometimes subtly, sometimes not. The people that do this are often coming from a good place—they are trying to relate to your situation. However, when somebody responds by talking about themselves or something else, it can make you feel as if they didn’t actually hear you. This shift of focus hinders us from truly connecting with someone.  

    So, if you are an advice giver, storyteller, or someone just trying to relate, please take a few moments to think about allowing the spotlight to remain on the other for just a bit. What do you think about what they just said? That’s an interesting idea.  I’m interested in hearing more about that. I’m not sure I agree with that. How does what they just said make you feel? I am sorry to hear that. I am so excited for you. Does it spark curiosity in you? I’ve not heard that before, I’d like to hear more about that. These ways of responding show that you were actually listening and indicate that you care about what the other has to say. Next time you’re talking with somebody, pay attention to the spotlight and let what the other person says be the focus—you’ll be surprised with how well the conversation goes.

  • From Band Aids to Foundational Change: The Power of Gestalt Therapy

    by User Not Found | Feb 05, 2016

    Gestalt therapy

    Written by: Stacy Ingraham, Clinical Counselor at Gestalt Associates, Inc.

    I am often asked why I decided to invest in learning and practicing Gestalt therapy, after utilizing other popular counseling techniques for several years as a clinician. My quick answer - I didn’t want to put “band aids” on my client’s symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other struggles anymore. Instead, I wanted be an agent of real, lasting change by helping clients get to the root of what’s keeping them stuck. This is Gestalt therapy. Now after two years of postgraduate training workshops, hours of individual consultation, observation of Gestalt therapy sessions, pages of reading, and working through my own stuff with Gestalt therapists, I’m starting to get it (while also realizing I have a long way to go) and am leaving most of my old counseling habits behind. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

    1. Gestalt therapy really works. While I’ve experienced the power of Gestalt therapy personally, I have seen real, foundational change in clients. For example, a couple who repeatedly blamed each other for their marital problems now owns their part, does not blame (most of the time), and has a more intimate connection than ever before because they have learned to protect the closeness in their relationship (an important concept we reinforce in Gestalt couples therapy). Admittedly, I do utilize other counseling techniques when appropriate or out of habit, yet my foundation is the Gestalt approach, and it really works.
    2. Learning Gestalt therapy is hard work. Integrating the concepts of Gestalt therapy is sometimes like speaking a foreign language (i.e. encountering a client’s behavior, working an introject, pointing out defenses such as retroflection, teaching awareness, building steel rods). And learning Gestalt therapy requires on-going self-reflection and change (i.e. heightening my own awareness, strengthening my own steel rods, being vulnerable, letting go of perfectionism). To be a skilled Gestalt therapist, I need to surrender to the Gestalt way of living.
    3. The Gestalt approach can be used in a variety of professions. The Gestalt approach is utilized by conductors of orchestras, athletic coaches, organizational consultants, dentists, law enforcement officers, educators, and many more. Gestalt child therapists utilize play therapy techniques such as sand tray, clay work, therapeutic games, music, and drawing. Gestalt therapy is also effective when doing family and couples/marriage counseling, and of course, group therapy. Basically, any professional who cares about being a transformational leader, building successful relationships, and contributing in a real way to their organization will benefit from learning the Gestalt approach.
    4. Gestalt therapy is effective when practiced alone and combined with other theories. This idea is debatable, depending on who you talk with in the mental health world. In my experience, mindfulness based approaches, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing combined with a Gestalt theoretical foundation can be incredibly beneficial for clients based upon their presenting issues (trauma, addiction, anxiety, etc.).

    There are many professional training and certification programs we have to choose from (and I’ve explored many). Deciding which ones best align with our values, goals, budget, schedule, and personality is key. Learning Gestalt therapy has been life changing for my clients and me, and while the struggle to learn and live Gestalt is real, remembering what my boss and teacher, Norman Shub, Clinical Director of the Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio says, “all change is incremental”.