Psychodynamic vs. Gestalt Therapy


The psychological interpretation of mental and emotional processes is called psychodynamic therapy. It is based on object relations, ego, and self-psychology and has its roots in traditional psychoanalysis. It was created as a faster and faster alternative to psychoanalysis. The purpose of psychodynamic therapy is to treat the basis and development of psychological processes. The purpose is to relieve symptoms and improve people’s lives. Gestalt therapy is a humanity, holistic, and human-centered psychotherapy that focuses on a person’s current life and problems, not past experiences. This method emphasizes the need to understand a person’s situation and take responsibility rather than take responsibility. There are some similarities between these two types of psychological therapies; however, they practice different approaches.

Psychodynamic Therapy

In psychodynamic therapy, the therapist assists the client in gaining insights into their lives and current problems. The therapists also study how people develop patterns over time. To do this, the therapist experiences one’s emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and early life experiences of therapy. Recognizing iterative patterns helps people understand how to avoid stress or build coping mechanisms. Knowing this can change these trends since psychodynamic therapy revolves around therapeutic relationships. It can show how a person interacts with friends and family. In addition, communication in treatment can reveal how early human interactions affected them today. For example, the transfer of love from a parent to a therapist is called transfer. This scrutiny of interpersonal relationships can help people understand their role in relationship patterns. It can allow them to change their dynamics.

Individuals, couples, families, and groups can all benefit from psychodynamic therapy. It can be used for both short-term and long-term treatment. Humans have a natural tendency to build different protection mechanisms. Painful emotions, memories, and experiences can be kept unconscious by defense mechanisms. Negation, oppression, and rationalization are common defense tactics and protection mechanisms. Psychodynamic therapists encourage clients to express their feelings, desires, and concerns without fear of being judged. Sensitive emotions suppressed from consciousness can reveal themselves through openness. According to psychodynamic theory, unconscious thinking affects behavior. Protective mechanisms diminish or disappear as soon as they deal with vulnerable or painful emotions.

Psychodynamic music therapy is a method of psychodynamic treatment. Exploring numerous instruments is part of this innovative and creative treatment. The instruments used include guitars, drums, and keyboards. This is a non-directive form of music therapy. No prior musical knowledge is required. Instead, people are encouraged to improvise through music. Music therapists are good at identifying different personality traits and emotional difficulties. You can do this by watching the person being treated make music. They participate in music production as part of their therapeutic relationship. This helps therapists build bonds while allowing them to use more advanced communication techniques. Music is relaxing for those who are worried and afraid. It can provide a sense of security during intense treatment sessions.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy focuses on the process of consciousness, in other words, the stream of consciousness of oneself. People have a patterned process of consciousness that serves as the focus of treatment. This attention allows the patient to clarify what he or she thinks, feels, decides, and how he or she is doing it. This includes an emphasis on the aspect that is not revealed. Observing nonverbal behavior and paying close attention to the sequence of patient consciousness helps the patient to recognize the interruption of contact and to be aware that they are being distracted from consciousness.

Gestalt therapy focuses on how we give meaning to our surroundings and how we give meaning to our experiences. Gestalt therapy covers a variety of important concepts, from perception to self-awareness. Gestalt therapists recognize that no one can be completely objective and that we are influenced by our surroundings and our experience with client-centric therapeutic approaches. The Gestalt Therapist provides space for the client to express reality without making decisions or accepting the client’s experience. Since therapists are human as well, gestalt therapists need to consider the influence of their own experiences on what is happening in the session.

Gestalt therapists strive to learn more about the client’s experience during the session. Recognizing the importance of context, therapists use approaches to help clients become more aware of their experiences, perceptions, and reactions to current events (Raffagnino, 2019). Rather than focusing on the past and encouraging clients to deliberately bring out old memories, Gestalt therapists believe that as awareness grows, clients will gain more knowledge on how to overcome obstacles. There is no forced labor or method in this approach. Rather, it is important to leave room for customer awareness.

Depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, low self-efficacy, and interpersonal problems are just a few of the conditions that Gestalt therapy can help. A four-week gestalt therapy reduced anxiety, reduced avoidance of internal experience, and increased awareness and familiarity with oneself, according to a study conducted in Hong Kong on anxious adults (Leung & Khor, 2017). Several studies have shown that Gestalt therapy is as beneficial as cognitive therapy and is more effective than drug therapy in relieving the symptoms of depression in women with depression (Heidari et al., 2017). The potential benefits of gestalt therapy include improved mindfulness, improved self-control, improved understanding of emotions, improved ability to monitor and coordinate mental states, improved communication skills, and improved awareness of needs and negatives. It also creates an increase in tolerance to various emotions. Gestalt therapy is at least as effective as other psychotherapeutic approaches in treating a variety of illnesses, including anxiety and personality disorders.

Gestalt therapy has both advantages and disadvantages, and particularly it has two potential weaknesses. It requires a high degree of self-development and understanding from the therapist and is primarily focused on the present. Therapists who do not fully understand the theory of gestalt therapy can be tempted to use procedures and exercises in unplanned ways that are unlikely to meet the needs of their clients. For some people, focusing on the current moment can be limited. Gestalt therapy focuses on the client’s recent experience while revisiting the past is an important aspect of deciding what needs to be healed. In addition, depending on how you perform your exercise, some people may find that focusing on body language and emotions is more unpleasant, vulnerable, and defensive than safe and supported.


In conclusion, the two therapies have similarities and differences in their approaches. Both of the therapies highlight the importance of the person’s emotions. However, gestalt therapy emphasizes personal responsibility and allows the client to focus on the present and development of the therapist-client connection concerning the social elements of the client’s life rather than interpretation. Psychodynamic therapy examines your unconscious emotions, thoughts, and the impact your story has on the present.


Heidari, S., Shahbakhsh, B. & Janjoo, M. (2017). The effectiveness of Gestalt therapy on depressed women in comparison with the drug therapy. Journal of Applied Psychology & Behavioral Science, 2(1), 14-18. Web.

Leung, G. & Khor, S. (2017). Gestalt intervention groups for anxious parents in Hong Kong: A quasi-experimental design. Evid Inf Soc Work, 14(3), 183-200. Web.

Raffagnino, R. (2019). Gestalt Therapy Effectiveness: A Systematic Review of Empirical Evidence. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 7(6), 66-83. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Psychodynamic vs. Gestalt Therapy." September 18, 2023.