Gestalt work is a powerful experiential application focusing on contact and awareness in the here and now. By following a client's ongoing process, with special attention to both the therapeutic relationship and the client's style of interrupting that process, the Gestalt practitioner can help their client to both work through and move beyond their painful emotional blocks. This frees them to begin to explore new behavior, first in the "safe emergency" of the therapeutic relationship and/or group and then, as appropriate, in the outside world. The emphasis of the work is not on talking about what has happened but on fully experiencing both what is, and what can be.
Unlike psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy does not focus on talking about the client's past. The past is not neglected, but its importance, including that of one's childhood, is not in what happened then, but in how it affects now. What we experienced as we developed, and how we adapted to that experience, come into the present as both our "unfinished business" and our character styles, or ways of being in the world. Gestalt practitioners deal directly with these elements in the "here and now", working with contact styles and focused awareness to help their clients complete and work through unfinished business and learn to experience and appreciate their full beingness. By learning to follow their own ongoing process, and to fully experience, accept, and appreciate their complete selves, Gestalt work clients can free themselves to move past pain, fear, anxiety, depression or low self-esteem. They can then discover who they really are, and allow themselves to develop in the ways appropriate for them.