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Gestalt Therapists' Code of Ethics

Code of ethics of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT)

The Code of Ethics is subject to periodic review by the Council of the EAGT (or a committee appointed by the Council of the EAGT). Each member organization of the EAGT must have a Code of Ethics consistent with the Code of Ethics EAGT. The objective of this Code is to define general principles and establish standards of professional conduct of Gestalt therapists, informing and protecting the public seeking their services. Gestalt therapists are responsible for compliance with the principles inherent in the Code of Ethics and must use the code as a basis of good practice rather than as a set of minimum requirements. Gestalt therapy trainers are encouraged to respect this Code in their relationships with their students.

Therapist-client and trainer-trainee relationships

  1. The therapist-client relationship is a professional relationship in which the client’s welfare is the prime concern of the therapist.
  2. The dignity, worth and uniqueness of the client must be respected in all circumstances.
  3. Gestalt therapists aim to promote an expansion of consciousness, encourage self-esteem, and facilitate self-development and autonomy of the client. They aim at the same time to widen the possible choices available, and are willing and able to accept responsibility for the decisions they make.
  4. Gestalt therapists must recognise the importance of this relationship for effective therapy, understanding the inherent power of the relationship to influence the situation. The Gestalt therapist must act consistently with this recognition and should not exploit their clients financially, sexually or emotionally for their own needs.
  5. Sexual harassment in the form of comments, gestures, physical contact of a sexual nature, deliberate or repeated, is unethical.
  6. The Gestalt therapist must be alert at the time that other relationships or external commitments conflict with the interests of the client. When such a conflict of interest arises, it is the responsibility of the therapist to be willing to negotiate any problems involved.
  7. Gestalt therapists must recognise that dual relationships such as work relations, close friends, family or spouse may alter their professional judgments.


  1. All exchanges between the Gestalt therapist and client should be considered confidential. Any time the Gestalt therapist has any doubt about the limits of confidentiality, supervision should be sought.
  2. The client must be informed that in extreme circumstances, when there is a danger to themselves or others, the Gestalt therapist can broach confidentiality and take appropriate action.
  3. When a Gestalt therapist wishes to use specific information collected in the course of sessions with a client for a conference or publication, you must obtain permission from the client and preserve their anonymity.


Gestalt therapists should pay attention to the limits of their capabilities. When a Gestalt therapist recognises that they have reached that limit, passing on the query to a colleague or supervisor is essential. The therapist can also refer the client to another therapist.


Continuing education

Gestalt therapists have a particular responsibility to monitor their personal and professional development through personal therapy, regular supervision and training. Research and publication are also encouraged.


  1. Gestalt therapists accept clients tailored to their training, their skills and their methods of supervision.
  2. The customer contracts, whether written or oral, must be explicit about schedules, payment method, vacations, and cancellations by the client and therapist. The duration of therapy, referral to another therapist, and the goal of therapy should be discussed with the client and a mutual agreement should be sought.
  3. Gestalt therapists should consider a special need for supervision in case of personal crisis, physical illness, death threats as a means to manage the boundaries of their relationship.


Advertising should be limited to descriptions of services available and the qualifications of the person who teaches. Advertising should not involve evidence, make comparisons or imply in any way that services are more effective than those that are taught by other schools or agencies of psychotherapy.


  1. Gestalt therapists should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their customers in the physical environment in which they practice therapy.
  2. It is highly recommended for Gestalt therapists to ensure that their work is adequately covered by insurance.


Any member who faces criminal action or is subject to civil damages as a result of customer complaint, should inform the Council of EAGT.

March, 1995.

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