Psychotherapy and Counselling In Brighton and Hove Steffi Bednarek   MA   BA   MBACP


I am a Gestalt Psychotherapist and the following sections aim to give you a sense of my way of working.


Gestalt psychotherapy is a well established form of therapy developed by Fritz and Laura Perls in the 1950s. It puts the client’s present experience, their feelings, thoughts and physical sensations in the Here and Now at the forefront of the therapeutic exploration. 

The aim is for you to become aware of how you may interrupt yourself from fully engaging with others and your environment, how you may have difficulty taking in the support you need or how you may have interrupted your ability to meet your deeper needs and express your potential. By exploring your present experience, understanding more about who you are  and what needs are craving to be met, choices become available to you. 


One of the fundamental ideas of Gestalt therapy is the belief in interconnectedness. We exist always in relation — to other humans, to our family and friends, to different communities, the environment and of course in relation to ourselves. We are not designed to be alone and the need to be connected (even if some connections cause us pain) has often shaped us and our lives. 

If we have been shaped by our relationships then therapeutic relationships can also assist us in re-shaping our lives. I have experienced deep change occurring in clients through the safe and creative space the therapeutic relationship provided.

In our work I will always be interested in the context that has made it necessary for you to creatively adjust. Together we can explore how certain aspects of you may have been useful in a certain context but may be too fixed now and need adjusting to changed circumstances. 

By owning the part we may play in stuck or difficult situations we open up the possibility for change. Bringing awareness to our own contribution to our current circumstances makes us an active player in our life. We can’t easily change our environment or other people but by changing the way we respond we will become an agent of change. 

The therapeutic focus will be on the present moment. It is only in the Here and Now that real change can occur. We can’t change our past and our future is unreachable.  By ‘experimenting’ in the present moment i.e. - trying things out in your own time and at your own pace, you can experience how it feels to do things differently from how you usually do them. In this way you will be able to see what happens and how this different choice may impact on you, your life and your relationships. Experimenting recognises that most things in life are provisional and in flux and allows us to build on our own felt experience. People can achieve profound personal change when they feel well supported in this way.

To find out more about the theory and the history of Gestalt CLICK HERE

The therapeutic relationship

It has been widely recognised that the most important factor in the success of psychotherapy and counselling is the therapeutic relationship itself.  So while it is important to chose a therapeutic modality that suits you, it is even more important that you feel a sense of connection with the therapist that you work with. 

This is why I meet with prospective clients for an initial session before we decide to work together. It hopefully gives you a chance to get a sense of me and to decide whether you want to work with me. It also gives me a chance to hear what it is you want and to gain from therapy and to check whether I am the right person to be working with you.

Is Gestalt Psychotherapy an effective form of treatment?

Yes, it is. Gestalt Psychotherapy is practiced in many settings, including the NHS. Studies have shown its effectiveness for a wide range of issues and in some countries it is the Health Service’s treatment of choice, in the same way as CBT for the UK.

Click here to get to the British Gestalt Journal website, where you can find articles and research on the application of Gestalt therapy in various settings, including in organisations.

Isn't CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) quicker and more effective?

CBT is widely used in the NHS as it is a quick and cost effective intervention that gets people going again. It can be very helpful with effective coping strategies and in changing dysfunctional thinking patterns. CBT focusses mainly on client's thinking and behaviour and is therefore less suitable to address deeper underlying issues or relational problems.

I have worked in the NHS and have been trained in CBT. Where appropriate and helpful, I may use some CBT elements in my work, but I will always do this from a relational, Gestalt therapeutic background. 

My experience has shown that some clients don’t take to the very structured CBT approach and prefer a more humanistically orientated way of working. Different people need different approaches. In the first assessment meeting you will get a sense of my way of working and we will establish if psychotherapy is the right approach for you.

Tel: 07863 823783
Email: Click here.

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore."
Andre Gide
Psychotherapy Brighton and Hove