To give you some background, I am currently commencing my third year of training as a Gestalt Therapist. I am qualified as a Psychiatric Nurse and have an Honours degree in Psychology. I have worked for the last 6 years in a Mental Health Resource Centre here in Devon (England) with a whole range of clients. Prior to this I worked on a Psychiatric Acute Admissions ward for two and a half years.
In response to your question :-
"Do you think that Gestalt therapy is best kept for people of a more psychologically stable nature, and for certain disorders such as anxiety?
Or is the Gestalt approach suitable in working with people who experience psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia? "
My initial reaction to this question is that Gestalt as it relates to our clients, manifests itself through contact with the therapist. The nature of that contact will obviously be different with each client. Consequently, this is kind of a difficult question to answer because it rests so heavily on the nature of this contact.
So as not to dodge the issue however, I would say that my experience is that Gestalt Therapy has been employed with clients who have been thought to have the potential to develop awareness. This necessarily involves paying attention to the width of present moment experience. As a consequence of this working with clients who experience psychotic disturbance requires careful consideration on the part of the therapist. Having said that, clients of this nature generally vary over time in terms of their level of functioning (don't we all!) and so to argue that one should never work in this way with these clients seems to me to be particularly unsustainable.
Similarly, a therapeutic relationship that adheres to the Gestalt principles can vary enormously. The level at which this is "pitched" depends on the nature of the contact and an evalution by the therapist of the clien