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Empty-chair technique or chairwork is a psychotherapeutic technique typically used in Gestalt therapy to explore patients' relationships with themselves, with aspects of their personality, their concepts, ideas, feelings etc., or other people in their lives.
The technique involves the client addressing the empty chair as if another person, or aspects of their personality, or a certain feeling etc. was in it. They may also move between chairs and act out two or more sides of a discussion, typically involving the patient and persons significant to them. A form of role-playing, the technique focuses on exploration of self and is utilized by therapists to help patients self-adjust. Gestalt techniques were originally a form of psychotherapy, but are now often used in counseling, for instance, by encouraging clients to act out their feelings helping them prepare for a new job.
- Nichol, M. P. (2008). Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, 8th, New York: Pearson Education.
- Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, Daniel M. Wegner (2011). Psychology, 2nd ed., New York, NY: Worth Publishers.