It might be useful to explain what it means to provide counselling within a Gestalt theoretical view. What this means for me is forming a genuine relationship with clients where I am actively involved in our sessions, rather than a passive observer or a stranger. With younger children this means being actively involved in their play, if this is what they want. With adults, young people, and adolescents, this would more likely mean engaging in a genuine dialogue where a real relationship can be formed. This is fundamental to building trust and allowing the counselling process to take place.
During sessions I might suggest or invite the client to participate in an activity, but ultimately it is their choice. I believe that it is important for the sessions to be led by the client as any issues will surface once they feel safe in the counselling space. Again, for children this might be achieved through direct dialogue or through acting out and possibly even solving what is troubling them through play.
Some clients worry about the need to revisit the past when they do not want to; the focus of my work is on what is happening for the client in the ‘here and now’. Although there may be times where looking back in the past will be beneficial to understanding what is happening now, this will only be attempted with the client’s consent and they will never be forced.