What is The Empty Chair?
The empty chair technique is a talk therapy exercise commonly used in Gestalt therapy. It is designed to allow you to express your thoughts and feelings as if you were talking to a specific person but in a safe, neutral environment.
Gestalt therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present to understand what is actually happening in their lives at this moment, and how it makes them feel in the moment, rather than what they may assume to be happening based on past experience. Along with person-centered and existential therapy, it is one of the primary forms of humanistic therapy.
The term “gestalt” is derived from a German word that means “whole” or “put together.” Gestalt therapy was developed in the 1940s and 1950s by Fritz Perls, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and his then-wife, psychotherapist Laura Perls, as an alternative to traditional, verbally-focused psychoanalysis. Their foundational premise is that people are best thought of as a whole entities consisting of body, mind, and emotions, and best understood when viewed through their own eyes.