Young Fritz Perls Once you've got down the basics--CBT, DBT, psychodynamic therapy, and the like--you're ready to dig deeper in your licensing exam prep. That means you'll be putting together knowledge about material that may not actually appear on the exam. If you get up-to-speed on a dozen additional theories, you may only see a few of them show up on the test. But that's a few extra items you'll be prepared to answer. Very much worth doing. Especially since the amount of knowledge you need to have about any of these theories for the exam is pretty minimal. If you're in a rush, remember that most of what you need to know about, say, solution-focused therapy, for the exam can be fit on a flash card. For SFT, it's included in the name of the treatment: It's a treatment that is focused on solutions. If you also know that the miracle question is an solution-focused therapy intervention, you're more-or-less good to go for the exam. (Just the exam, not actually doing the work.) Same goes for lots of other approaches, including Gestalt Therapy. What's Gestalt Therapy?  GoodTherapy has a good answer:

Gestalt therapy focuses on here-and-now experience and personal responsibility. It was developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman. The objective, in addition to overcoming symptoms, is to become more alive, creative, and free from the blocks of unfinished issues which may diminish optimum satisfaction, fulfillment, and growth. Gestalt therapy relies heavily on the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist that is developed and nurtured over the course of therapy. This technique is also classified as an experiential approach to psychotherapy because it involves actions that are both intentional and experimental to facilitate change.

Keywords for a Gestalt Therapy flash card: experiential...awareness...personal responsibility. Also remember that empty chair work is associated with Gestalt. That may actually be all you need to have down to navigate an exam question on the topic.  Of course, there's lots more to Gestalt Therapy, and much of it may be helpful in your social work practice. Take this simple intervention: When a client refers generally about a problem, or in second person--"You get really upset when someone lies to you"--a Gestalt Therapist may direct the client to use "I" instead of "you": "I get really upset when someone lies to me." Naming the "someone" might be the next step. Awareness, personal responsibility. It's a good intervention for lots of reasons, and one you don't have to completely identify with Gestalt Therapy to utilize with clients.

For more about Gestalt Therapy, the web stands ready:

If you've got a commute, the last link, to the Social Work Podcast's half-hour about Gestalt is especially recommended. Listen, learn, enjoy!

Good luck on the exam.


For realistic practice questions about Gestalt Therapy and lots more, sign up!

May 5, 2014
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