Theoretical Bases

Three psycho-therapeutic approaches form the predecessors of and intellectual inspiration for our work. All three approaches are based on a psycho-dynamically oriented developmental and personality psychology. Our personality – meaning our potentials for development as well as our deficits – is mainly marked by the care of key people in our early childhood, which we did or did not receive.

Person-Centred Therapy and Gestalt therapy

Both psycho-therapeutic approaches focus on the individual. That is how they differ from the approach of psychotherapy within families. Person-centred therapy, as it was developed by Carl Rogers, indicates its focus in its name. Gestalt therapy deals with the regularities of how we perceive and judge. It focuses on the integration of our personal compounds in a coherent and meaningful whole. This is done for instance by working with “the empty chair”, a metaphor for taking different perspectives on oneself concerning a specific topic or phenomenon. While this is also central to other therapeutic approaches it is explicated only in Gestalt therapy.

Experiential Psychotherapy

The experiential approach is humanistic, phenomenological and process-orientated. The therapist acts in his or her personal way and focuses on the present, the ‘Here and Now’, rather than on past or future.

Walter Kempler further developed this approach for family therapy. He put focus on interaction, on personal dialogue, on the conflict between integrity (one’s personal limits) and cooperation, on symptoms as an expression of unhealthy interaction, on children as being the carriers of these symptoms and on a psychotherapist encountering his clients at eye level. Even though there is an inherent asymmetry, the therapist having the role of the specialist and being paied for his help, Kempler views the relationship within the therapy as of equal dignity.

Existential Psychotherapy

The existential approach (after Irving Yalom) concentrates on four basic conditions, which hold for all people. These four conditions are isolation, futility, freedom (and therefor the responsibility to live one’s life in a meaningful way) and last but not least death. Existential Psychotherapy separates human action from human existence. The main emphasis is put on presence, on acknowledging relationships and on authenticity rather than on techniques or methods.