My approach for couplestherapy
Research shows that the client is the decisive factor in whether the therapy will succeed or not. After all, the therapeutic relationship is based on a created situation in which the client can “practice” safely. In this relationship, a client must be able to become angry, sad, disappointed, rejected, as well as showing the things he or she is most ashamed of, without being judged by the therapist. For that reason, I require an intake interview, in which it can be determined whether or not there is a “click” between the client and therapist, a basic feeling of trust.
The missing pole
My approach is determined by the needs of the client and their situation. Some people need a direct therapeutic approach to either process pain or learn how to deal with anger. Some only want information in order to be able to practise with new ways of communicating. Others want to learn to look at their own situation, not just from an emotional perspective, but also from a sober and analytical point of view. And finally, there are also people who prefer a more rational approach and want to learn to get more in touch with their feelings. After all, a human being is made out of common sense and feeling for a reason, best you learn to use them both. In Gestalt terms we say that the therapist has to “offer the missing pole”.
Getting to the core
In addition to the aforementioned methods, I also register certain signals given by the client during our initial conversations. What particular “signals” draw my attention to the situation? I ask questions to get an even better idea. Sometimes the clients themselves aren’t always aware of the process. We call this “the figure”, the Gestalt. This is where the word Gestalt actually derives from. Often the core issue is reached relatively quickly using this approach.
Our body, our feelings and our thoughts constantly influence each other. That is why it is important to focus not only on how the client thinks and feels, but also notice the signals the body gives. More often than not, you will feel a lot going on physically, but you don’t know exactly where it comes from or what it means. I work with exercises to determine just that.
Belief, religious upbringing and giving meaning
Some people feel obstructed in their lives by a dogmatic religious upbringing. Others have questions relating to life and death, often as a result of a mourning process or a difficult period in their lives. Others still seek a deeper dimension in understanding their existence. During my study of theology and thereafter, I have learned a lot about religion and spirituality. In my practice I have seen the effect this sort of problem can have on some people. So I also invest, if needed, a lot of time in such topics.
My practice for Gestalt therapy is located in Beuningen near Nijmegen. I practise individual psychotherapy, as well as relation therapy and family therapy. I practice the latter together with my colleague, Wilfried Sluys, Gestalt therapist and social worker. Several health insurances will partially compensate for the costs of our therapy.