1st Edition

A Gestalt Therapist’s Guide Through the Depressive Field Giving Way to Hope

By Jan Roubal Copyright 2025
    164 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is intended for psychotherapists working with depressed clients. In particular, it focuses on how working with depressed clients affects the therapists themselves, and elaborates on how therapists can care for themselves in such demanding work to prevent burnout, or process it meaningfully as part of their professional development.

    Based on the results of the author’s own long-term experience, qualitative research, and theoretical concepts describing psychopathology from the humanistic-existential perspective of Gestalt therapy, this book describes a paradoxical way of working in which therapists transform their own experience in the presence of a depressed client. Using the example of working with depression, the book introduces how the field theory approach can be used in clinical practice. The book provides a conceptual framework, practical skills, and case examples illustrating what a field theory approach brings new to the table.

    This will be a useful guide for psychotherapists and gestalt therapists who regularly come into contact with depressive clients, as well as for therapists who are themselves experiencing professional exhaustion and are at risk of reaching burnout.

    Introduction  1. How Depression Gets Under Our Skin  2. We Depress Together  3. Why Do We Do It?  4. Therapists in the Depressive Swamp  5. What Do We Actually Do?  6. Letting Pain Be Felt  7. The Art of "Doing Nothing"  8. Surrendering to Hope  9. Above All, Get Out of the Way  10. Inviting a Stranger  11. Something for the Road  Appendix A. Diagnosis like the Backrest of a Chair  Appendix B. Not Fighting with the Medication  Appendix C. Movement in the Suicidal Field


    Jan Roubal, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where he also works in the Center for Psychotherapy Research. He works as a psychotherapist and psychiatrist. He founded the Training in Psychotherapy Integration and the Training Gestalt Studia in the Czech Republic; he also works as a psychotherapy trainer and supervisor internationally.

    "He calls this book, “research” on therapy with depressive process. I prefer, "communal lifeline.” Jan Roubal interviews himself and other therapists about our dark passages we must surrender to (not without a fight!), if we are to meet our severely depressed patients and find a way to walk with them toward the light. The stories move me, pain me, and tell me I am not alone. Jan Roubal and his colleagues are now my communal lifeline in my work with severely depressed patients."

    Lynne Jacobs, Pacific Gestalt Institute


    "Among the many volumes on depression, this book is unique: rather than illustrating interventions on the patient, it is an exploration of how the therapist can inhabit depressive landscapes in order to modify the emerging dynamic. In this way, it is more than a text on how to do psychotherapy with a depressed client. It is a successful example of how to use field theory in clinical work: a revolution underway, though still in its beginning, in the world of psychotherapy and psychiatry."

    Gianni Francesetti, Turin School of Psychopathology, University of Turin


    "I am delighted to commend this book on the difficult topic of working with depressed clients. Jan Roubal is a man who combines many qualities that make him a valuable guide in this field: professional skill as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and trainer; honesty in his sharing of his processes; humanity and human care for his clients; and ability to combine theory and practice. This book is an illumination that helps us to enter this dark place safely and effectively."

    Peter Philippson, Manchester Gestalt Centre