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A growing evidence base confirms gestalt therapy is effective and not less than other therapeutic modalities. Studies provided evidence that experiential therapies are not inferior to CBT (Saxon et al, 2017). The strength of the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist impacts more on therapeutic outcome than a specific modality (Bordin, 1979). I compiled a list of studies evidencing the effectiveness of the gestalt approach, which I update on a regular basis (last update: August 2018).

Research Confirming Gestalt Efficacy:

  • Improving Interpersonal Problems (Watson et al, 2003)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress (Nazari et al, 2014)
  • Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Paivio & Nieuwenhuis, 2001)
  • Depression (Rosner et al, 2000, Cook, 1999)
  • Anxiety / Distress (Paivio & Greenberg, 1995, Mulder & Emmelkamp, 1994)


  • Bordin, E. S. and Arbor, A., 1979. The generalizability of the psychoanalytic concept of the working alliance. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice. V 16.3, 252-260.
  • Cook, D. A., 1999. Gestalt Treatment of Adolescent Females with Depressive Symptoms: A Treatment Outcome Study. University of Kentucky, KY.
  • Mulder, C. L. and Emmelkamp, P. M., 1994. Cognitive-behavioral and experiential group psychotherapy for HIV-infected homosexual men: a comparative study. Psychosom Med. V 56.5, 423-431.
  • Nazari I, Mohammadi M, Nazeri G., 2014. Effectiveness of Gestalt therapy on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms on veterans of Yasuj city. Armaghane Danesh, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Iran. V 19.4, 295-304.
  • Paivio, S. C. and Greenberg, L. S., 1995. Resolving “unfinished business”: efficacy of experiential therapy using empty-chair dialogue. Journal Of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. V 63.3, 419-425.
  • Paivio, S. C. and Nieuwenhuis, J. A., 2001. Efficacy of emotion focused therapy for adult survivors of child abuse: A preliminary study. Journal of Traumatic Stress. V 14.1, 115-133.
  • Rosner, R. and Beutler, L. E., 2000. Vicarious emotional experience and emotional expression in group psychotherapy. Journal Of Clinical Psychology. V 56.1, 1-10.
  • Saxon, D., Ashley, K., Bishop-Edwards, L., Connell, J., Harrison, P., Ohlsen, S., Hardy, G. E., Kellett, S., Mukuria, C., Mank, T., Bower, P., Bradburn, M., Brazier, J., Elliott, R., Gabriel, L., King, M., Pilling, S., Shaw, S., Waller, G. and Barkham, M., 2017. A pragmatic randomised controlled trial assessing the non-inferiority of counselling for depression versus cognitive-behaviour therapy for patients in primary care meeting a diagnosis of moderate or severe depression (PRaCTICED). accessed 02/10/2017. < >.
  • Watson, J. C., Gordon, L. B., Stermac, L., Kalogerakos, F., & Steckley, P., 2003. Comparing the effectiveness of process-experiential with cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy in the treatment of depression. Journal Of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. V 71.4, 773-781.