Posted by: smilecoach | October 20, 2007


Yesterday I had a gestalt moment!  “Just what the hell does that mean?” you are probably saying to yourself.    Well read on and I will explain.  


I attended a meeting where the speaker was a psychotherapist.  His subject was the difference between coaching and counseling.  During the speech he indicated that one of the things that coaches, counselors, teachers, sports coaches and others do is create a gestalt.  He said that there was no easy way to explain this German word/concept in English.  However, he went on to say that a ‘gestalt’ is an opening where you are aware of things that were hidden before.  You are able to perceive a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.


At that moment I had a gestalt about the word gestalt.  I realized that it describes exactly what I do in coaching.  This was extremely important to me because I never had a good way of describing exactly what it is I want to do as a coach.  Now I do!  My intention is to create gestalt moments for my clients, where they are able to realize things they had never realized before, even though it was present all of their lives.  It is in those ‘gestalt moments’ where change begins to occur.  It is in those ‘gestalt moments’ where you get a more complete look at the magnitude of the talent that rest within you.  It is in those ‘gestalt moments’ where potential turns into reality.   


Between stimulus and response is where gestalt lives.  It is in the gap between stimulus and response where we have the opportunity to create gestalt. 


I am so excited about the word ‘gestalt’ that I can hardly stand it.  Not only does it describe what I do as coach, it describes how I want to live.  I want to be a seeker of gestalt moments.  I want to be a person who regardless of the results can throw my hands up in the air and say, “How fantastic!”   I want to constantly be seeing and feeling things I missed before.  I want my soul to be open to the things my ego has hidden from me. 


My challenge to you, the reader, is to put a gap between stimulus and response so that you too can experience gestalt.   



  1. AHHH-HAAAA! The Gestalt of the picture you sent out by email is that the “picture” is both a pedestal bowl AND a (the deeper reality) a couple looking at each other… an opening that was hidden. I agree with you, Frank. This word gestalt is wonder-filled.. and it is what we do as coaches. Well, it’s what I strive to do as a coach trained in large part by YOU. Gestalt is in the Gap. Wow! Thanks for this post.

  2. One of the reasons we can throw our hands up in the air and say “how fantastic!” no matter what happens is because we have a choice of how we are going to react to the world and the events around us. It’s believing that all choices are available to us literally all the time that is amazing and exciting!. I think these choices exist in the gap between stimulus and response. The better the choice we make the more profound the Gestalt moments. We all say we like to have choices. We profess we want freedom in our lives. Yet we often hesitate. “He who hesitates is lost “is a refrain from one of my favorite operas. True, they were referring to a love connection, but it is true in everything! What prevents us from making the best choices sometimes? Fear, ego, aversion to change, laziness. The greatest joys in life come from stepping out of our comfort zone, taking a risk. What is the worst that could happen? You might have to make another choice. Hmmm. What’s the best that could happen? Either way…how fantastic! Not such a bad way to live.

  3. You are right Mickie, in the picture I sent, you immeditately see the bowl and then with some coaching you can see the two people looking at each other. There is always a bigger picture to events in our lives. I am deligthed that you are coaching others to see a bigger picture. The bigger picture represents the potential for our lives that is hidden in plain sight from our view.

    Sheleen, I couldn’t agree more with your statement that “the better the choice the more profound the Gestalt”. In my experienc there can also be a wonderful and huge Gestalt just from seeing choices you couldn ‘t recognize before.

    How lucky can a guy get to be able to communicate with his friends on topics that are important to him.

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