Towards a research tradition in Gestalt therapy

Research in Gestalt therapy: A way of developing our model

Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb
Gestalt psychotherapyResearch methodologyEnglish
Book Chapter - Paid access


Today we are in a time when to fight against institutions and to see research as a means of power and control has no meaning any more: more than the need to develop our autonomy, we experience the need to be rooted in environment and in relationships. In this paper I demonstrate that all kinds of research are coherent with a Gestalt approach: outcome research, process research, and support of a clinical model. Research helps Gestalt psychotherapists root themselves in what they do, and to monitor, with humility and responsibility for their social task, whether their work is appropriate and the most efficient. Research also gives a solid language to dialogue with other approaches, which today represents a key aspect. The development of phenomenological research, in particular, has helped Gestalt therapists to consider research as an interesting tool, both to check the efficacy of their work and to understand better what they do. These two needs (to check the validity of their work and to understand what changes and how) are solved by two different traditional methods of research in psychotherapy: 1) outcome research that measures the results after psychotherapy, for instance the differences between before and after psychotherapy with standardized instruments; 2) process research that studies various aspects of the psychotherapy process, which can be measured even while treatment is ongoing, independently from the results.

APA citation

Spagnuolo Lobb, M. (2016). Research in Gestalt therapy: A way of developing our model. In Towards a research tradition in Gestalt therapy (pp. 35-44). Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.