A main focus of gestalt therapy is helping individuals take responsibility for their lives and be proactive in getting their needs met. This relates to the gestalt concept of maturity.
When we are young children, and we are lucky enough for things to go well, our needs are basically provided for us. Food is prepared and provided, we are clothed and bathed by others, and our interactions with others occur then they pick us up and play with us. However, as adults we are expected to take much of that initiative for ourselves.
Being mature does NOT mean that we don’t need food, safety, and comfort by others when we’re upset. In the case of comfort, for example, it means that we let others know about our situation so they can offer comfort if they are willing. We are open and honest instead of resorting to isolation, self-pity, and other destructive behaviors.
I was in a gestalt workshop once when an individual asked for help in having more joy in his life. The leader agreed to help and gave him these instructions: Stand up, go to the middle of the room, and create some joy for yourself. He looked at her confused. Create joy, here, now? She nodded yes.
He stood up uncertainly, walked to the center of the room, and looked at the other 25 workshop participants. He asked someone for a hug, which they gave willingly. He gave another person a compliment, which apparently gave him pleasure to give. He went from person to person interacting, and the feeling in the room became buoyant. When asked how he would like to end his “creation” of joy, he indicated he would like to dance with as many of the group were willing to do so. He had a favorite song on his iPod, and he played it and the room broke out in some very exuberant dancing.
The point: if we want joy in our lives it is up to us to take action and create it. He learned by doing that day, and I learned along with him.