Gestalt therapy

The “empty chair”

A particularly well-known Gestalt therapy technique is the “empty chair”. A so-called “empty”, i.e. unoccupied chair serves as a projection surface and placeholder for third parties who are not present. Such “third parties” can be, for example, reference persons who are important to the client in connection with a certain topic, but also a part of the client’s personality, a feeling or a need. In this “fantasy conversation technique”, the client is asked to imagine that the absent attachment figure or feeling etc. is sitting in the empty chair and then to develop a dialog with him/her. The empty chair can also serve as a spatial marker for certain aspects of the client’s own person. The client is invited to enter into a dialog out loud, as it already takes place in their thoughts between contradictory sides of themselves. By alternating between speech and counter-speech, therapists can ask their clients to actively change their external position and sit on the chair where the currently active side is anchored in the situation.

You can incorporate chair therapy into the session at any time or use it as a stand-alone method. It offers you the opportunity to combine things or to carry out part of the change work there, then go back to an event and possibly carry out further change work there afterwards.

The scenario

One way to give your client a platform, so to speak, is to have them imagine that they are entering a large, white, empty room. In this pleasantly brightly lit room, there is nothing more than two chairs facing each other 2 to 3 meters apart.

The client should now take a seat on one of the two chairs, knowing that the other chair is something special. Because the person who will soon be sitting there can neither speak nor move unless asked to do so. This information is important for your client as it offers them a certain security, protection and control, no matter who is sitting opposite them.


There are a multitude of possibilities and there should be no limits to your creativity.
Below you will find the instructions for the most frequently used applications.

Here you will find the instructions for “chair therapy”. You can easily customize them for both:

  • Forgiveness work
  • comprehension work
  • Self-forgiveness
  • Mentoring technique
  • Dissolving negative feelings
Chair therapy in general
Chair therapy script
Return negative patterns


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