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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Jon Frew, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jay Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP


This dissertation provides a critical review of the Gestalt therapy efficacy literature. The basic tenets of Gestalt therapy are reviewed. Advantages and problems of the studies reviewed concerning adherence to modem research standards in efficacy research and adherence to Gestalt therapy's basic tenets are discussed. The literature supports Gestalt therapy's use with multiple, non-clinical and clinical populations such as training students, personal growth work, resolution of unfinished business, anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia. The review shows that Gestalt therapy literature can be fortified by the synthesis of basic Gestalt therapy tenets and the use of a "gold standard" research methodology. A model for this synthesis is offered, and the advantages and problems with such a model are discussed. The synthesized model recommends that new Gestalt therapy investigations should use a specific population/disorder, randomly assign participants to a treatment group and all other groups, have a comparison group in which a treatment has been shown to be beneficial to the population being investigated and have a no treatment control group, in addition to supporting the basic tenets of Gestalt therapy. A discussion of the implications this model could have on the field of professional psychology is offered.