Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy


In modern psychology, the forms of Therapy differ substantially in their strengths, weaknesses, and approaches to providing psychological services to marginalized people. This paper provides a comparative analysis of three of these types, namely Gestalt therapy, Person-centered Therapy, and Feminist Therapy. It accounts for the pros and cons of these counseling approaches, as well as its methods, awareness of social differences between clients, group therapy variations, and success criteria.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy was developed by German psychiatrist Fritz Perls in the 1940s in response to the dominating focus on the analysis of the unconscious. Perls argued that the human identity consists of a duality of thinking and feeling, body and mind (Kabir, 2017). In gestalt therapy, the client gains awareness of what happens to them in real-time by analyzing behaviors and examining bottled-up feelings (Kabir, 2017). The approach highlights the ways in which the self-awareness of an individual can be obscured by their negative thought patterns or contradictory behavior.

To achieve this outcome, gestalt therapists utilize various exercises to stimulate the patient’s acceptance and understanding of their current emotions and thoughts. The quintessential technique of Gestalt therapy is an empty chair exercise in which a patient is placed in front of an empty chair. The patient then enters a dialogue with an assumed figure in this chair that can be representative of their boss, partner, or even a part of their own self. Gestalt therapy also frequently takes advantage of an exaggeration exercise, where a patient is asked to exaggerate a particulate gesture or behavior to intensify the emotions attached to it. Group Gestalt therapy uses a making rounds exercise, where a client repeats an identical sentence to each member but adds a personal detail depending on who is in front of them.

Arguably, Gestalt therapy’s main strength is its proven effectiveness in cases of a wide range of psychological and even psychiatric issues. It is frequently applied to manage depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress, and personality disorders and can be utilized in group settings to great advantage (Kabir, 2017). This counseling approach is welcoming to patients of all backgrounds and social groups, as non-judgemental self-exploration and self-acceptance are some of the core values of Gestalt therapy. It allows the patient to experience triggers for their emotional stimuli and increases their awareness of their personal creative potential. The limitations and potential disadvantages of this type of Therapy mainly concern the high levels of personal power the therapist accumulates over a client.

The criteria for success of Gestalt therapy are related to its fundamental values of integration and awareness. The goal is to provide the client with the ability to make choices based on the present rather than the past to help them overcome neuroses and develop self-confidence. The role of the counselor in this approach is to assist the client on the way to increased awareness with direct honesty and personal involvement.

Person-Centered Therapy

Person-Centered Therapy works with individuals’ conscious perception of themselves and is a non-directive form of talk therapy. It was developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers throughout the 1940-s and 1950-s and remains one of the most widely used counseling approaches to this day (Kabir, 2017). The main principle of the Person-Centered Theory lies in the idea that the worldview perceived by an individual is accepted as reality for this individual (Kabir, 2017). As, according to the PCT approach, patients were conditionally accepted in their childhood, they continuously recreate scenarios that award them this acceptance in adult life, restraining their true selves.

Person-Centered Therapy mainly utilizes a few techniques, putting a bigger emphasis on the attitude of the counselor and their personal connection with the client. It consists of one-on-one sessions in which the therapist engages in active hearing and listening, reflection, and clarification, letting the client express their thoughts in a free manner (Kabir, 2017). They utilize open-end questions and phrases to help the client develop an insight into their present and past. In group settings, PCT primarily manifests in the addict support and reflection groups that focus on the experience exchange.

This counseling approach has helped patients with the majority of issues heavily connected with low self-esteem, namely substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. As respect for clients’ values and beliefs is mandatory in PCT, this therapy model is exceptionally inclusive and prioritizes the welcoming of differences (Kabir, 2017). However, a lack of structure and detailed answers might be unacceptable for customers who seek immediate answers from a qualified professional. Many clients require higher levels of control in the therapy direction with greater emphasis on exercises and techniques. Furthermore, the all-accepting and largely passive role of a PCT counselor is not suited for patients in certain crises.

Person-Centered Therapy aims to help the client develop a realistic self-perception, healthy stress-management mechanisms, and a greater sense of positive personal worth. The role of the counselor in it is somewhat passive and is mainly focused to provide a patient with an opportunity to reflect on their feelings in a safe non-judgemental environment. Within this approach, the main role attributed to the therapist is to listen and ensure a restrain-free environment of warmth and tolerance. The main criteria of the PCT success is whether the client then able to fully accept their individuality.

Feminist Therapy

Feminist Therapy originated from the second wave feminism of 1960-s and was based on concerns that existing at the time counselling methods were not designed with women in mind (Kabir, 2017). Furthermore, many therapist practices were informed by sexist biases, victim-blaming, and the assumption of the traditional nuclear family and its values. Feminist Therapy focuses on women’s empowerment, assertiveness, self-esteem, and aid in liberation from the traditional gender norms. It also aims to make gender issues evident enough for women to move forward in their lives with awareness of how these norms affect their daily behaviors.

Generally speaking, Feminist therapy utilizes the traditional counselling techniques of open-end questions and reflection aid but puts them in the context of gender norms and social limitations in women lives. It utilizes journal writing, role playing, gender-role analysis, and intervention, power analysis, bibliotherapy, journal writing, identifying, and challenging untested beliefs and therapist self-disclosure (Kabir, 2017). This model of Therapy is easily applicable in the groups of women as topical conversations between group members may be a tool of self-reflection and analysis. It is important to specify, that these methods were designed with the assumption of a therapist and a client sharing the same gender, ensuring the effectiveness of the self-disclosure technique.

The main advantage and contribution of feminist Therapy lies in its focus on challenging pre-existing gender biases in psychotherapy. It criticizes patriarchal systems and sensitizes therapists to the gendered use of power in their relationships with clients (Kabir, 2017). Yet the Feminist Therapy has activist roots and is therefore limited by the lack of neutrality and the pre-disposition to making decisions instead of a client. It is determined by a political thought and has an ideology-based ideal outcome outlined with comparatively little consideration for clients’ individual circumstance. Finally, despite undoubtedly incorporating female perspectives into counselling, it has little account for race and class dynamics, being based on white middle-class heterosexual women.

The goal in Feminist Therapy is to bring the transformation both in the individual client and the society in general. It is meant to be a tool in re-examining the role of women in the social context and examine the effects sexist biases have on their mental health and self-esteem. The five aims include equality; balancing independence and interdependence; empowerment; self-nurturance; and valuing diversity (Kabir, 2017). Therefore, the counselling is deemed successful if a client has recognized and claimed their personal power to free themselves from the constraints of gender socialization. It has contributed greatly to the recognition of the perspective of women in Therapy but could benefit from the more updated perspective on the issues of social justice, race, and class.


The analysis of Gestalt therapy, Person Centered Therapy and Feminist Therapy identified their main traits, principles, advantages, limitations, and success criteria. It is evident that all three approaches can greatly benefit clients both in individual and group settings, given the adequate context. Furthermore, all the approaches analyzed in this paper aim to create inclusive safe spaces for diverse clients but can be limited by some of its specifics. In conclusion, the degree of effectiveness of a particular counselling approach is defined by a client’s circumstances and needs.

Work Cited

Kabir, S. (2017). Counselling Approaches. Essentials of Counselling (pp.117-204). Abosar Prokashana Sangstha.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 18). Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 18). Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy'. 18 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy." September 18, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy." September 18, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Gestalt Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy." September 18, 2023.