Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 17–23 | Cite as

The Power of the Immediate Moment in Gestalt Therapy

  • Gary YontefEmail author
Original Paper


This article discusses the gestalt therapy concept of the paradoxical theory of change and a method combining a dialogic relationship with active phenomenological focusing and experimenting. Fundamental change results from self-acceptance and not attempts to change based on self-rejection. This is supported by the characteristics of dialogic contact: inclusion, confirmation, authentic presence, and a commitment to what emerges between therapist and patient. The patient is taught how to be aware, including awareness of the awareness process, facilitating autonomous use of the method by the patient. Suggestions and cautions for practice are discussed.


Gestalt therapy Self-acceptance Awareness Dialogue Present moment 


  1. Beisser, A. (1970). The paradoxical theory of change. In J. Fagan & I. Shepherd (Eds.), Gestalt therapy now (pp. 77–80). New York: Harper. Download at: Scholar
  2. Gendlin, E. (1981). Focusing. New York: Bantam Books. “Six Steps,” a very useful excerpt, can be downloaded at Scholar
  3. Jacobs, L. (1995). Dialogue in Gestalt theory & therapy. In R. Hycner & L. Jacobs (Eds.), The healing relationship in gestalt therapy (pp. 51–84). Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal Press.Google Scholar
  4. Yontef, G. (1993). Awareness, dialogue and process: Essay in Gestalt therapy. Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal Press.Google Scholar
  5. Yontef, G. (1995). Gestalt therapy. In A. Gurman & S. Messer (Eds.), Essential psychotherapies: Theory and practice (pp. 261–303 at pp. 268–269). New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Yontef, G., & Jacobs, L. (2005). Gestalt therapy. In R. Corsini & D. Wedding (Eds.), Current psychotherapies, 7th Edition, Chapter 10 (pp. 299–336). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole—Thompson Learning.Google Scholar
  7. Zinker, J. (1977). Creative process in gestalt therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Gestalt InstituteLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Santa Monica90401

Personalised recommendations