Stephan van Heerden
Gestalt Therapy Practice

A new kind of empathy


Who is Stephan van Heerden?

I am a social worker in private practice.    I specialize in Gestalt Process Therapy, of which I am the founder. I don't work with problems, but with people. For two decades now, I have the privilege of guiding children and adults to greater awareness. I also offer further professional development courses in my therapy programmes, such as Gestalt Colour, -Dino and -Astro Therapy.

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What is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt therapy is a holistic psycho-social therapy with the main goal to enhance the client's awareness. Gestalt refers to a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Gestalt therapy regards the person as a holistic unit and therefore involves all aspects of the cliënt in the therapeutic process. Gestalt healing occurs through full expression and addressing of the problem and pain at cellular and muscle levels, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Gestalt Process Therapy utilizes universal experiences from human culture to create projections and metaphors in which the person's natural ability to experience, to be aware and to contact reality, is restored.
Gestalt Process Therapy utilizes themes such as colour, dinosaurs and space, to create projections and metaphors, empowering the client to access unfinished experiences and being equipped to complete them. Incomplete experiences impede aspects of the human experience cycle, including sensory awareness, self-knowledge, integration, initiative, responsibility, emotional expression and contact. Gestalt Process Therapy restores the client's awareness, in order to naturally progress through the experience cycle to deal with personal challenges such as trauma, loss and change.


My Gestalt therapy methods

Gestalt Process Therapy involves a series of successive experiential programmes, which systematically increase the client's awareness, concentration and self-knowledge to complete unprocessed experiences that stand in the way of well-being. Each of the programmes, namely Gestalt Colour Therapy, -Dino and -Astro Therapy, involves a complete therapy process.
Gestalt Colour Therapy reaches the client's subconscious and true needs with the help of colour.
Gestalt Dino therapy uses a dinosaur projection to discover and replace the client's subconscious masks with genuine characteristics of the person.
Gestalt Astro therapy uses a space projection to restore the client's emotional expression and contact boundary disorders.


Who can benefit from Gestalt Process Therapy?

Gestalt Process Therapy's method of raising the client's awareness makes it suitable for any problem or condition, as everyone can benefit from dealing with their problems, needs and pain with greater awareness, self-knowledge, responsibility and choice.
For example, there are cases where the client's aggression subsides, attitudes toward work or school work and authority change, serious problem behaviour are eliminated, and concentration problems, forgetfulness, helplessness, depression, self-esteem problems, psychosomatic symptoms, health problems, eating disorders, obsessions and self-injury are resolved.
The therapy is suitable for children from the age of 8, teenagers and adults.



Services I Offer

Therapy, contact sessions or online

I provide therapeutic services to children, adults, couples and families.
You are facilitated to discover the root of your problem, understand your true needs and actually promote your well-being. Your privacy is respected, no pressure is placed on you and through the natural process of awareness you discover solutions yourself.
I do therapy with children from the age of 8, teenagers and adults.

Gestalt Colour, -Dino & -Astro therapy online and contact courses for further professional development

I offer my therapy courses for the
further professional development of counsellors, social workers, psychologists, remedial educators and occupational therapists.

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Therapy with young children and teenagers

Children benefit from Gestalt Process Therapy amid any problems that threaten their self-esteem, happiness and security, such as traumatic experiences, loss, pressure and stress, depression, problem behavior, performance problems, poor concentration, psychosomatic symptoms and health problems.
The focus during therapy is not on problems, but on expanding the unique child's awareness, which is why they spontaneously participate in the process.
Through play processes, drawing projections, metaphors and awareness experiments, where children and teens can discover themselves and project their true feelings and needs, they find answers to their challenges. After the sessions, with the child's consent, parents are explained what the child's true experiences and needs are, how the problem arose and how the problem is subconsciously maintained.
The therapy is suitable for children from 8 years, teens and adults.
This therapy can be done completely and successfully online.

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Therapy with adults

During Gestalt Process Therapy I do not need to know all the details of your personal problems and therefore my clients feel their privacy is respected. I don't give advice, empathy or support so you never have to feel embarrassed or exposed. I am your awareness consultant who guides you to discover your own needs, energy, empathy, wisdom and answers. I don't want to try to change you, but to guide you through greater awareness to bring forth your true self. Your true self is always more attractive, healthier, never something to be afraid of, and much more appreciated and respected by other people.


Feedback from therapy clients

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Professional Development Courses

Three courses in modern Gestalt therapy, Gestalt Colour, -Dino- and Astro therapy, are offered online. These courses empower counsellors with a therapeutic emergency plan for children from the age of 8, teens and adults. 
The therapy is suitable for an extremely wide range of problem situations and conditions as it empowers clients to deal with their problems, needs and pain with greater self-knowledge, emotional intelligence, responsibility and choice. The techniques save time, bridge resistance, prevent burnout and are interesting and creative to participate.
Each of the three individual courses in the series involves a complete Gestalt therapy programme. Each programme's training involves a total of 12 hours of intensive, individual, experience-focused training. Supervision is also available and can be included in the course packages. Your training take place individually, so you can experience the therapeutic process firsthand to deepen your learning experience. 
Enroll for one, two or three courses and experience the powerful effect Gestalt Process Therapy has on your own, as well as your clients' awareness, insight, self-knowledge, motivation, actions and physical symptoms.

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Gestalt Colour Therapy

We lose awareness of our true feelings, characteristics and personal needs for a variety of reasons, such as trauma, loss, health problems, relationship conflict and stress. Gestalt Colour Therapy facilitates the client to phase out false characteristics of the personality and rediscover true characteristics and re-integrate them as part of the personality. 

Gestalt Colour therapy involves a 10-phase process, based on 10 consecutive levels of awareness through which the client systematically advances to complete a Gestalt. During the development of a Gestalt, the client discovers his / her true, unique needs and addresses them.  

Gestalt Colour Therapy uses colour to access aspects of the client who, as a result of trauma, are difficult to reach through verbal therapy alone and who are distrustful of help, support, empathy, warmth and eye contact. Colour helps to communicate faith and respect to the client's subconscious and the client's resistance is utilized as a co-facilitator.

By systematically raising the client's awareness through colour, he / she is facilitated to gradually gain understanding and access to his / her subconscious emotions, thoughts, actions, symptoms and needs. Conflicts in the subconscious are resolved; the client experiments with alternative emotions, actions and thoughts to restore equilibrium. Concrete solutions are discovered as well as the motivation to carry out new insights and choices.

Sometimes a counsellor, friend or family member with the best intentions but without much success tries to bring a message or advice to someone. During Gestalt Colour Therapy the client discovers the answer and wisdom through his / her own experience and awareness and feels motivated to take responsibility for own well-being and growth. Real learning, through own experience, takes place and the client's attitude and actions change for the better. 

In practice, it has been experienced how increased awareness calms the client's anger, improves attitudes towards work or school work, improves problem behavior and how worrisome symptoms such as forgetfulness, helplessness, depression, self-esteem problems, obsessions or self-injury are resolved.

Gestalt Colour Therapy is by no means related to mystical powers, bodily meridians, and universal meanings of colour.

The therapy is suitable for adults, teenagers and children from the age of 8 years.


The Gestalt Colour Therapy professional development course

The 12-hour course programme can be divided into two days or three days.

The Gestalt Colour Therapy course empowers counsellors and therapists with the knowledge and skills to execute a complete Gestalt Therapy programme with children and adults using colour.

Here are some of the topics covered in the 12-hour Gestalt Colour Therapy course, available online:

Clients' progress through a total experience cycle with colour.

The here-and-now of colour.

Holistic communication through colour.

Completion of incomplete experiences (such as loss & trauma) with the help of colour.

Colour's role in dealing with resistance.

Using of colour to prevent moralizing and manipulation during therapy.

The colour projection.

Enhancing the client's self-knowledge, integration and self-regulation using colour.

The role of colour in conflict, empathy, support and advice.

Improving the client's responsibility using colour.

Discovering alternative solutions through colour.

Integration of new thoughts, attitudes, feelings and behaviour.

Discovering new existence messages through colour.

Living out new wisdom and taking action.

Gestalt Colour Therapy's place in a total therapy treatment plan.

The course is offered to you on a one-on-one basis, and on dates and times that suit you best.

Gestalt Colour Therapy's approach focusing on the clients' awareness makes it suitable for an extremely wide range of problems and human conditions, as all can benefit from managing their aspirations, challenges, needs, pain and trauma with greater awareness, self-knowledge, integration, responsibility and choice.

Join a new generation of professional helpers who overcome human challenges and limitations using colour to give hope to the fragile individual.

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Gestalt Dino Therapy

Gestalt Dino therapy increases a client's awareness and self-knowledge with the help of a Dinosaur projection and metaphor. 
The dinosaur fossil is trapped in the rock and sediment of ancient history; modern man is trapped in the joy and trauma of his or her background and history. People tend to 'fossilize' or stagnate in their past, in historical sediment, especially as a result of trauma and loss or when circumstances and the world suddenly change.
Deeper awareness and self-knowledge are needed to move the client towards his / her true identity, fulfillment and well-being. Gestalt Dino therapy specializes in raising the awareness, integration and mobilization of children, teens and adults. It brings out a projection and metaphor, which accurately and meaningfully shows how the client really is. It demonstrates in concrete terms the real interaction of the client's physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual aspects. It shows how clients use masks to protect themselves from reality, change and hurt. It reveals how the client's mask came into being and how to get rid of it.
The client discovers what his or her relationship with other people and the environment looks like, his or her handling of challenging situations, adaptation, unique qualities, emotional blockages, fears and security. Gestalt Dino therapy demonstrates in concrete terms whether the client's efforts are aligned with his or her true, unique needs and how he or she subconsciously impedes his or her own functioning and growth. It shows what motivates the client; how his or her energy is tapped and where the client's fears lie. The root of the problem is discovered and can be addressed.
Gestalt Dino therapy is suitable for adults, teenagers and children from the age of 8 years.


The Gestalt Dino Therapy professional development course

The 12-hour course programme can be devided into two days or three days.

The Gestalt Dino Therapy course empowers counsellors and therapists with the knowledge and skills to execute a complete Gestalt Therapy programme with children and adults using a fossil projection.

Here are some of the topics covered in the Gestalt Dino Therapy course:

Dino therapy's perspective on personality. The fossil as an incomplete Gestalt.

Differentiation, integration and energy of the personality.

The Dinosaur projection.

The therapist in the metaphorical palaeontologist role and as an awareness consultant.

Confrontation with reality.

Perspective on empathy, observation, listening, responding.

Focus on eating; environment; climate and atmosphere; relationships; habits; death.

Hypotheses regarding the metaphorical fossil.

Discovery of masks with regard to the following facets of the personality: attitude; interest; choices, assertiveness, humility, energy, balance, anxiety, contact and escape from reality, creativity, processing experiences, self-worth, identity, remembering, injuries, pressure and stress, bitterness and anger, need satisfaction, relationships, trauma, fears and security.

Identification of blockages of the experience cycle, false body parts and organs.

Origin of the body hypotheses:

Perspective on the physical aspects of man including the head, lower jaw, lips, cheeks, eyebrows, neck, throat, arms, thighs, knees, calves, feet, skin, abdomen, diaphragm, chest, lungs and heart, shoulder blades, arms , back, rectum and anus.

Hypotheses about eating, contact with the environment, memories of atmosphere, habits, relationships, spiritual experiences, self-protection, adaptation and death.

Case studies and assessment of fossil projections.

Gestalt Dino therapy's role in a total treatment plan.

Measurement to evaluate growth and healing.

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Gestalt Astro Therapy

The client is empowered to enter unfinished, traumatic, experiences with greater awareness, self-knowledge, maturity and contact-ability, and to complete the unfinished experiences. During Astro therapy, the client discovers not only unfulfilled and incomplete experiences, but also positive experiences from earlier stages of life that are now utilized as sources of self-support, self-knowledge and new perspective. Conflicts between different stages of life are eliminated and fragments of the personality are integrated, so that the client feels whole again and can function as a unit.
True healing occurs only when pain is expressed holistically by all aspects of the individual. Gestalt Astro therapy specializes in restoring the client’s contact-support functions and involves these functions on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. 
During Gestalt Astro therapy, the client experiment with new contact mechanisms, enabling him/her to contact unfinished experiences, take responsibility and take action so that it no longer limit his or her learning, growth and wellbeing. Unique to the Gestalt Astro therapy programme, is that the client's contact support functions are expanded. The client is not stripped of defense mechanisms, but is given an 'exoskeleton' that supports his / her fragile 'endo-skeleton' and allows him / her to experiment with more daring contact, growth and emotional expression. Enhanced awareness empowers the client to experience final contact and equilibrium, even in cases of intense helplessness, loss, despair and trauma.
A structured journey is used to guide the client in a non-threatening and non-confrontational way, to discover experiences from different life periods and situations, integrate these experiences and turn them into resources for self-support, self-regulation, new perspective and for discovering the client's true identity.
In some cases, clients have discovered how experiences in the womb and during their first years of life influence their current actions, thoughts and emotions. In cases of clients with memory problems, speech problems and physical symptoms, they discovered how certain subconscious emotions and thoughts and unwritten philosophies exacerbated their problems and how restored awareness and self-regulation brought relief and improvement.
There is absolutely no connection between Gestalt Astro therapy and astrology.
Gestalt Astro therapy is suitable for adults, teenagers and children from the age of 10 years.


The Gestalt Astro Therapy professional development course

The 12-hour course programme can be devided into two days or three days.

The Gestalt Astro Therapy course empowers counsellors and therapists with the knowledge and skills to execute a complete Gestalt Therapy programme with children and adults using a space projection.

Here are some of the topics covered in the 12-hour Gestalt Astro Therapy course:

Gestalt Astro therapy's perspective on Gestalt formation.

Integration of distance and time.

The role of Gestalt Astro-therapy in restoring the experience cycle.

Sensory awareness and relationship building during Gestalt Astro therapy.

Creating a Space Projection and Metaphor.

Preliminary responsibility and preliminary contact.

The space journey contract. Discovering what unfinished experiences need to be completed.

Instruments for Gestalt experimentation, overcoming resistance, supporting experience and establishing contact.

The facilitator's dual role: Awareness Consultant and Space Travel Agent.

Principles for promoting existential responsibility.

Phases of awareness during the metaphorical space journey.

Methodology to promote focus, concentration and integration. Implementation of the space metaphor's instruments for contact.

Entering the incomplete Gestalt.

Handling of seemingly impossible contact.

Leaving the complete Gestalt.

Differentiation, contact and Gestalt completion during successive life periods.

Facilitating hope and creating the future planet. 

Integration and resolving conflicts between time periods.

The golden thread between time periods - bridging distance.

The existence message.

Case studies.

Alternative mediums to use in Gestalt Astro therapy.

The facilitator's self-regulation.


Feedback I’ve Received

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“I attended your workshop and I just want to say a big thank you for that. The Monday after the training I started to apply it and I was just stunned by the results! I've already done that with elementary school kids, high school kids, adults and even with a marriage counselling session. It works! and I'm really impressed with it. This training has added value to my practice and I would recommend it to everyone." (Annemarie van Dyk; Social Worker)


“It's one of the best workshops and truly valuable techniques I've ever experienced. It is an inexhaustible resource because the learner finds his own clarifications, definitions, solutions and direction. (Rina Steenkamp; Social Worker)

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"What a revelation or a revolution within you! It can turn your life around for the good or for good! If you have any chance of attending the Gestalt therapy workshops by Stephan van Heerden, do so. It will not only change yourself, the way you see the world, but will change the lives of those you work and interact with. Worth every cent!" (Seugnet van der Merwe, Social Worker.)


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