Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Carol Dell 'Oliver

Second Advisor

Gale Roid

Third Advisor

Elaine Breshgold


The primary objective of this study was to assess the self-care practices of Gestalt therapists. The first part of this study included a review of the literature on therapist self-care practices. Next, a theoretical connection was developed between Gestalt therapy theory, including its theoretical foundations, and therapist self-care research. A review of the literature on Gestalt therapist self-care practices found it to be an area with limited anecdotal data and no formal research. Subsequently, methods were developed to assess the self-care practices of Gestalt therapists. In the process of developing such methods, the literature was reviewed for any quantitative measures of therapists self-care. None were found. Therefore, the researcher developed a measure for therapist self-care practices based upon both the therapist self-care research and Gestalt therapy theory. The internal consistency of the self-care practices measure was estimated based on data from a volunteer sample (!l = 34) of therapists from the Pacific Northwest (alpha= .81). In order to determine the validity of the therapist self-care practices measure, its results were correlated with the results of a brief rating scale, or peer rating form , a measure wherein a familiar colleague rated a therapist's self-care practices. After gathering the reliability and validity data on the self-care practices instrument, the researcher administered it to a volunteer international sample of Gestalt therapists at a conference (n. = 21 ). An open-ended questionnaire regarding Gestalt therapists' self-care practices was also given to the same sample of Gestalt therapists. Gestalt therapists reported engaging in a number of self-care activities, some as indicated by the therapist self-care practices instrument data, and additional activities listed on the open-ended questionnaire. Most Gestalt therapists ( 16/21) related their self-care practices either directly or indirectly to Gestalt therapy theory. These findings support the hypothesis that Gestalt therapy theory and Gestalt therapists have a unique contribution to make to the research literature on therapist self-care.

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