Our awareness is a very subjective experience. So much so that a client cannot be assumed to be feeling the same experience as the therapist. If the therapist wants to help the client, they are to make the client more self-aware. Gestalt therapy is about making the person more aware about what they are experiencing. Gestalt leaves nothing out from the person’s experience because all data is saying something.

Awareness is about realizing that:

  • We are finite
  • Time is limited
  • We have the potential, the choice, to act or not to act
  • Meaning is not automatic
  • We must seek it
  • We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness,  guilt, and isolation
  • It assists clients in making a commitment to a lifelong journey of self-exploration

Zones of Awareness:

  • The Inner  Zone:
    • Internal world  of  the  client-sensations,  feelings,  bodily affective states
  • The Outer Zone:
    • Contact with outside world. Contact functions: all our behaviour – moving speaking etc. Noticing what is going on around us
  • The Middle Zone:
    • Ways in  which  one  makes  sense  of  both  internal  and external  stimuli  (through  the  use  of  the  mind  by  thinking, memories, fantasies, anticipations)

The  therapeutic  space  becomes  a  powerful  space  in  which  all  three  zones  of awareness can be explored. Methods of directing awareness include:

  • Staying in the here and now
  • Sharpening and expanding awareness
  • Focusing of what is minimized or avoided
  • Aware of what is out of awareness


– Joshua Aquilina is a Counselling Psychologist working with Willingness. He specialises in psychotherapy, addiction and anxiety. He can be contacted on joshua@willingness.com.mt