Dealing with Guilt : A Gestalt Approach

I can understand how the NLP Meta Model was coined from reading Fritz Pearls Gestalt Therapy Verbatim and how Uncle Fritz way of coaxing people to be in the present and his insistence in process and the Here and Now is a priority in Gestalt. This has roots in Zen, Spirituality and where possible the abandonment of Maya or the thought induced coma-vale which separates people from direct experience.

This is a post sharing Fritz’ method in dealing with Guilt and resolving it and completing a Gestalt. I am sure this really won’t work for everyone as you yourself have to define, or at least work out what Guilt means to you. Guilt is just a word which can have many meanings. Though I am quite sure that certain emotional affects including Guilt can be very satisfactorily dealt with using this method.


In reference to what Guilt is for you, I want to draw your attention to those almost lovable pictures people put on social media of their dogs who have without their owners presence eat the sofa or a bag of Winalott. They acted out of their nature and only afterwards felt the dogma or ideology of an owner. Bad dog.

This is what many, who I can regard as enlightened and specifically Nietzsche and Krishnamurti, will say there is not good or evil, there is just choicelessness when you act from and out of your spontaneity. With that said, lets deal with Guilt resolution by way of Gestalt and Fritz.

I want to preface this process for resolving Guilt by way of a short usage of the Hindu five cosha’s ( sheathes ) that construct reality. This is all to do with duality, complementary and the integration and acceptance of opposites.

Joseph Campbell discusses the cosha’s as follows:

  1. Food sheath, basically the organic body.
  2. Breath sheath, life force and cooks the food we eat.
  3. Mind sheath, all the mental stuff, good and bad.
  4. Wisdom body, very deep intelligence, cells etc.
  5. Bliss body. Atman.

There is a big, large, disconnect between the mental sheath of judging and making a specific meaning and the wisdom body, that aspect that brought you into being. The wisdom body holds all opposites, all at once but the mental sheath deals with pairs of opposites, good-bad, right-wrong and friend or foe, that kind of stuff.

Now, getting back to Gestalt and working through Guilt. Pearls says that Guilt in terms of Gestalt is actually about Resentment.  Again, remember for me this does not have to be about Guilt, this can be abut anger, hostility, loss and … well put in your own, you defined emotion. Rules, yours and others and the seeming transgressions.

Gestalt Guilt Resolution

OK, So according to Fritz, Guilt is about resentment. Find your guilt and find out who you are resenting and for what.

In this exploration ( stay with it ) and resentment is about your demands or you could say rules that are imposed. Find the demands that you were tacitly, and now consciously making.

Once you have these, there may be many, the idea now is to state them in the imperative and that means the command! In Gestalt this is taking to the empty chair, where you imagine that other half of an argument is there, right in from of you in the here and now.

This will be something like, “Stop, Do it, Talk to me, Put it there” – Imperative / Command.

Now this next step is what really does it for me in a good way. The sublimation or integration of the pairs of opposites.  Return to the resentments and Appreciate those very same bits and bod. Yes, appreciate them fully and completely. And go even more forward and tell that imagined person ( you ) what else you appreciate about them.

This may or may not be covered in the March 2019 NLP Master Practitioner training in Newcastle. There are linguistic refinements to be added and the language really has nothing to much to interfere with this awesome process of completing a gestalt so you can let go of the past and move more fully into the present.

  1. Acknowledge Guilt and Define it.
  2. Turn guilt into resentments.
  3. State your rules and demands.
  4. Express your demands as commands!
  5. Switch to Appreciation.
  6. Acknowledge more appreciations.

This, as a process, helps to move you more towards the wisdom body as mentioned in the five sheaths earlier. Moving away from the duality of thinking and towards a deeper wisdom that is your birth-right.  Perhaps even towards bliss. But one step at a time. Or not!

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