The Empty Chair

What is the Empty Chair Technique?

Gestalt therapy helps people get in touch with their body and mind. The term “Gestalt” means a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts. Fritz Perls (1893-1970) created Gestalt therapy. Perls treated clients and showed them how to role-play by talking to a vacant chair, which is called the “empty chair technique.” Clients pretended the imaginary person in the chair was someone who they were fearful to talk with. They used this role-playing model to work through trauma, confrontation, or anything that they had difficulty communicating with another person in their life. Some people are great at expressing themselves and asking for what they want, while other individuals struggle to talk about their emotional needs. The benefit of this treatment technique is it helps both kinds of people. Whether you’re an assertive person or someone who struggles with words, the “empty chair technique” is a viable option for everyone. For assertive individuals, it allows them the ability to articulate their feeling to someone who they are having a disagreement with, and for someone who struggles with asserting themselves, it’s a chance to practice this.

Men and their hidden emotions

Society often assumes that men are not allowed to express feelings of sadness or depression. The empty chair technique is an excellent way for a man to communicate that he is depressed. Perhaps he can’t reveal this information to his romantic partner. By using the empty chair technique from Gestalt therapy, he’s able to express hidden feelings that he may not be able to share with his partner. Maybe he is feeling clinically depressed, and can’t reveal that information. It might not even be depression, but sadness. Regardless of what his emotional state is, employing the empty chair technique will help someone work through challenging emotions and feel a sense of release.


The empty chair technique has the potential to accomplish a substantial therapeutic goal and it’s not just for men, but people of all genders. Confrontation can be challenging for people. Whether it’s with a sibling, parents, romantic partner, or somebody who is being bullied at work. Role-playing can be a useful technique to feel less pressure about how to confront others and make sure that you get your words out. If you have a complicated relationship with a family member, trying to communicate with them can be overwhelming. If a therapist helps you with this process you might feel more confident with that confrontational process; that is what the empty chair technique and help you do. Confrontation will still be complicated sometimes, but if you practice it, you may feel more confident once you get to the point where you face the person who is intimidating you. You don’t need to feel afraid when there is a therapeutic option to help that.

Is talking to an empty chair weird?

You might feel strange at first talking to you an empty chair, and that is a natural feeling because people don’t typically discuss things with somebody who isn’t there. But this is proven psychological techniques that can help you release emotions that you’ve been bottling up. Do you think you would try this technique? Whether you’re working with an online therapist or in an office, the empty chair technique is a viable option to express your feelings in a comfortable environment where you feel safe. Consider trying the empty chair technique and seeing if you were able to confront emotions that might be difficult for you. You never know what could come out of this experience; it could be something that results in an emotional breakthrough. See if you feel better after trying this technique. There are many different forms of therapy, and you need to choose the one that you think works best for you.

This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

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