The empty chair technique is a psychotherapy exercise commonly used in Gestalt therapy. It's designed to allow individuals to express their thoughts and feelings as if they were talking to a specific person, but in a safe and neutral environment. Even if that person is not present, the patient can direct their words and gestures to an empty chair and imagine that person sitting in it while they speak. The therapist can guide the patient through the exercise with instructions or ideas. The chaise longue has traditionally been associated with psychoanalysis.
Sigmund Freud began using the lounger for this purpose, with the idea that the patient would recline on a couch, with the analyst seated beyond the head of the couch, so that the client could not see the analyst. This type of treatment method requires a little active imagination. The patient sits in front of an empty chair, and in it, they can imagine a person with whom they are having a conflict, or even a part of themselves. Then, they talk to the empty chair.
They explain their feelings, thoughts, and understanding of the situation. Through the empty chair technique, individuals can control their feelings in a healthy way and, at the same time, keep their distance from their former partner. The therapist will simply place a chair in front of them and ask them to pretend that the person they need to talk to is sitting in it. During the session, the counselor may ask questions or suggest topics that they may want to discuss with an empty chair. Tom Cashin, vice president of Jed Johnson Associates, was too embarrassed and shy, he said, to address the “four eyes” of his therapist and the therapist's German pastor. Maroda recalled her own experience as a young analyst and patient when she was treated in her therapist's elegant home, full of family members and a large domestic staff.
His last analyst, with whom he spent a fruitful decade, did not care for patients at home, but in an office building, and in his room there were only two bland leather chairs, a bookcase full of medical texts and a table with a box of tissues. The empty chair technique is just one way your counselor can help you feel freer, less anxious, and more confident in your daily interactions. As you practice, the therapist can help you develop your communication skills so that you can more easily and accurately express what you feel and think. Through this technique, you can have a conversation with someone who is no longer present. Meanwhile, the therapist explores this communication with questions and ideas as the situation develops. Loftin learned a long time ago that a therapist's office, particularly the home office, and the things in it can be filled with more revelations than Sunday morning in a Baptist church.
If the chair represents a part of you or an internal conflict, you'll experience different aspects of yourself and better understand your struggle.