Many have heard of Gestalt psychology and psychotherapy but few know what it is in any detail. Here at Cello Health Insight we have begun to employ selective gestalt psychotherapeutic techniques to go beyond the revelations of projection.

There are some basic principles to Gestalt that resonate with current thinking in market research. It is all about bringing the behaviour, thoughts and feelings of an individual into their awareness. Projective tools such as psychodrawing and enabling approaches like timelines have been long since happily adopted by researchers to help respondents, especially consumers, articulate that which is hard to express, lies on the tip of their tongue, or just outside their awareness. 

The use of Two Chair work is commonplace in psychotherapeutic sessions and, used with care, can be very insightful in qualitative research settings. I say ‘with care’ because it is deceptively simple in format but surprisingly powerful in the insight it provides. It involves the use of two chairs that face each other. The respondent fills the empty chair with a projected person based upon their experience and beliefs. They then proceed to have a dialogue with the imagined person. They move physically back and forth between the two chairs speaking from each position and answering to what they have just heard. This process mirrors the internal dialogue that takes place around their perceptions, decisions and behaviours. The physicality of the exercise surfaces a whole new dimension of awareness of motivation and highlights the relationship between the two positions. In a therapeutic session The Two Chair technique enables the person doing it to disentangle the 'pro' side of their decision/experience from the 'against' side   helping them to make a difficult decision. In a research setting it uncovers the unknowns influencing the decision better than any projective technique can. Importantly it reveals the route to behavioural change.

 Jane Barrett Master Practitioner, Cello Health Insight