The International
Gesellschaft für Gestalttheorie und ihre Anwendungen - Société pour la théorie de la Gestalt et ses applications - Associazione della Teoria della Gestalt e delle sue applicazioni - Sociedad para la teoría de Gestalt y sus aplicaciones - Sociedade para a teoria de Gestalt e suas aplicações


This is the 2nd page of GTA's HomePage. Click here for the 1st page!

GTA Home-page Deutsch |GTA Home-page Italiano |GTA Home-page Français

What is the GTA?

The Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA) is a scientific association established for the purpose of promoting the Gestalt-theoretical perspective in research and practice. It was founded in 1978, and since then has grown to include many members from European countries and throughout the world. Most of the members are psychologists and psychotherapists, but the membership also contains researchers from many other disciplines as well. (Have a look at the GTA Roll of Honour for the honorary members of the GTA).

The head office of the GTA is currently situated in Germany (address below). Members of the board of directors of the GTA are:

Extended board sessions of the GTA include the following advisors and spokes-persons:

What is Gestalt theory?

Gestalt theory is a broadly interdisciplinary general theory which provides a framework for a wide variety of psychological phenomena, processes, and applications. Human beings are viewed as open systems in active interaction with their environment. It is especially suited for the understanding of order and structure in psychological events, and has its origins in some orientations of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ernst Mach, and particularly of Christian von Ehrenfels and the research work of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka, and Kurt Lewin, who opposed the elementistic approach to psychological events, associationism, behaviorism, and to psychoanalysis. The coming to power of national socialism substantially interrupted the fruitful scientific development of Gestalt theory in the German-speaking world; Koffka, Wertheimer, Köhler and Lewin emigrated, or were forced to flee, to the United States .
The GTA views as its main task the provision of a scientific and organizational framework for the elaboration and further development of the perspective of Gestalt theory in research and practice. In this sense, Gestalt theory is not limited only to the concept of the Gestalt or the whole, or to the Gestalt principles of the organization of perception (as it is presented in many publications), but must be understood as essentially far broader and more encompassing: - The primacy of the phenomenal: Recognizing and taking seriously the human world of experience as the only immediately given reality, and not simply discussing it away, is a fundamental assertion of Gestalt theory, the fruitfulness of which for psychology and psychotherapy has by no means been exhausted. - It is the interaction of the individual and the situation in the sense of a dynamic field which determines experience and behavior, and not only drives (psychoanalysis, ethology) or external stimuli (behaviorism, Skinner) or static personality traits (classical personality theory). - Connections among psychological contents are more readily and more permanently created on the basis of substantive concrete relationships than by sheer repetition and reinforcement.

- Thinking and problem solving are characterized by appropriate substantive organization, restructuring, and centering of the given ('insight') in the direction of the desired solution.

- In memory, structures based on associative connections are elaborated and differentiated according to a tendency for optimal organization.

- Cognitions which an individual cannot integrate lead to an experience of dissonance and to cognitive processes directed at reducing this dissonance.

- In a supra-individual whole such as a group, there is a tendency toward specific relationships in the interaction of strengths and needs.

The epistemological orientation of Gestalt theory tends to be a kind of critical realism. Methodologically, the attempt is to achieve a meaningful integration of experimental and phenomenological procedures (the experimental-phenomenological method). Crucial phenomena are examined without reduction of experimental precision. Gestalt theory is to be understood not as a static scientific position, but as a paradigm that is continuing to develop. Through developments such as the theory of the self-organization of systems, it attains major significance for many of the current concerns of psychology.

Read Max Wertheimer's famous lecture on 'Gestalt Theory' (1924) - Click here for full text!

What does the GTA do?

The goal of the Society is the further development of Gestalt theory in basic research as well as in application, and the encouragement and support of interdisciplinary work. The Society every other year sponsors a scientific convention, dedicated on the one hand to discussions of currently salient theoretical positions and on the other to exchange of information about ongoing Gestalt-theoretical works and projects. The languages of the congress are German and English.


International Gestalt Theory Congress
16th Scientific Convention of the GTA

March 26 - 29, 2009
University of Osnabrück, Germany

Click here for information!

A portion of the members is broken down into subgroups - work groups for education, linguistics, musicology, and others, and a section on psychotherapy (Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy) -, the purpose of which is to make the mode of thought of Gestalt psychology an essential foundation and a useful basis in various fields of application. To date, these fields include psychotherapy (Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy), pedagogy, art and design, economics, medicine, and sport. All members are more loosely invited to participate in workshops devoted to a variety of themes.


The official publication of the GTA is the quarterly journal 'GESTALT THEORY. An International Multidisciplinary Journal' (Krammer Verlag, Vienna, ISSN 0170-057X).
For information about the editors and the Advisory Board click
For a list of authors who published in GESTALT THEORY click

Published in it are original manuscripts that serve to promote Gestalt-theoretical research and application. It also reprints classical works of historical significance that are not currently readily accessible.The gap in the further development of Gestalt-theoretical work produced by the emigration of significant Gestalt theorists during the 1930s, it is hoped, will be closed in this manner.

Order your free sample copy by E-mail to the

Who can become a member?

Since the Gestalt-theoretical orientation is genuinely interdisciplinary, fruitful relations are possible between different domains. Therefore any people can become GTA members who are inclined, and are ready, to promote Gestalt-theoretical thought and action in research and application in their respective scientific discipline. The membership fee includes the subscription of GTA's international multidisciplinary journal GESTALT THEORY.

You want to join the GTA and become a member? You are welcome - please click here!

How to contact the GTA?

General information, application for memberhip:
Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA)
c/o Prof. Hellmuth Metz-Goeckel
Mimosenweg 18, D-44289 Dortmund, Germany
* Phone: (+49) 231 402920
* E-Mail:
here to get the form for membership application.

Information about 'Gestalt Theory',
information for authors, submission of articles:
Dr. Bettina Turi-Ostheim, Salesianergasse 3/4/1, A-1030 Vienna (Austria)

For information about the editors of Gestalt Theory click here

Gestalt Theory is published in the
Verlag Krammer
Verlag Krammer, Kaiserstr. 13, A-1070 Vienna, AUSTRIA
* Phone: (+43) 1-985-2119 / Fax (+43) 1-985-2119-15
E-Mail: TO:

The Gestalt Bookshelf
Looking for Gestalt theory and Gestalt psychology books (new or used)?
here to get a list and where/how you can buy them!

Home GTA International
Gestalt People | Gestalt Publications | Gestalt Conferences | Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy
About Gestalt Theory and the GTA
GTA Home page Deutsch |GTA Home page Italiano |GTA Home page Français