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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

Committee Chair

Jon Frew, PhD, ABPP


Traumatic experiences are common in our society, but there is no widely accepted approach to trauma treatment. Gestalt therapy has a long clinical history, but little empirical support as a trauma treatment. A literature review was conducted to examine Gestalt therapy as a trauma treatment and provide a comparison with state of the science trauma therapy. The basic theory and principles of Gestalt therapy and exposure therapy were presented to develop rational comparisons between the two approaches. The main finding was that these two approaches have striking similarities and areas of common ground. The important factors of therapeutic action were the same for Gestalt therapy and exposure therapy. The rich clinical history of Gestalt therapy and the similarities with empirically supported treatments provide important implications for Gestalt therapy as an effective trauma treatment. Also, the main differences of each approach provide for interesting variables for future trauma treatment research that could increase the effectiveness for each approach to trauma treatment.