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Perls did present his paper in , but it met with "deep disapproval. It was later re-published in the United States.


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Laura Perls wrote two chapters of this book, but she was not given adequate recognition for her work. This part was supposed to appear first, but the publishers decided that Part I, written by Hefferline, fit into the nascent self-help ethos of the day, and they made it an introduction to the theory.

Theory of Gestalt Therapy

Isadore From , a leading early theorist of Gestalt therapy, taught Goodman's Part II for an entire year to his students, going through it phrase by phrase. Fritz and Laura founded the first Gestalt Institute in , running it out of their Manhattan apartment. Isadore From became a patient, first of Fritz, and then of Laura. Fritz soon made From a trainer, and also gave him some patients.

From lived in New York until his death, at age seventy-five, in He was known worldwide for his philosophical and intellectually rigorous take on Gestalt therapy. Acknowledged as a supremely gifted clinician, he was indisposed to writing, so what remains of his work is merely transcripts of interviews. Of great importance to understanding the development of Gestalt therapy is the early training which took place in experiential groups in the Perls's apartment, led by both Fritz and Laura before Fritz left for the West Coast, and after by Laura alone.

These "trainings" were unstructured, with little didactic input from the leaders, although many of the principles were discussed in the monthly meetings of the institute, as well as at local bars after the sessions. Many notable Gestalt therapists emerged from these crucibles in addition to Isadore From, e. In these sessions, both Fritz and Laura used some variation of the "hot seat" method, in which the leader essentially works with one individual in front of an audience with little or no attention to group dynamics.

In reaction to this omission emerged a more interactive approach in which Gestalt-therapy principles were blended with group dynamics; in , the book Beyond the Hot Seat , edited by Feder and Ronall, was published, with contributions from members of both the New York and Cleveland Institutes, as well as others. Simkin was responsible for Perls's going to California, where Perls began a psychotherapy practice.

Ultimately, the life of a peripatetic trainer and workshop leader was better suited to Fritz's personality—starting in , Simkin and Perls co-led some of the early Gestalt workshops and training groups at Esalen Institute in Big Sur , California, where Perls eventually settled and built a home. Jim Simkin then purchased property next to Esalen and started his own training center, which he ran until his death in Simkin refined his precise version of Gestalt therapy, training psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers within a very rigorous, residential training model.

In the s, Perls became infamous among the professional elite for his public workshops at Esalen Institute. Isadore From referred to some of Fritz's brief workshops as "hit-and-run" therapy, because of Perls's alleged emphasis on showmanship with little or no follow-through—but Perls never considered these workshops to be complete therapy; rather, he felt he was giving demonstrations of key points for a largely professional audience. Unfortunately, some films and tapes of his work were all that most graduate students were exposed to, along with the misperception that these represented the entirety of Perls's work.

When Fritz Perls left New York for California, there began to be a split with those who saw Gestalt therapy as a therapeutic approach similar to psychoanalysis. This view was represented by Isadore From, who practiced and taught mainly in New York, as well as by the members of the Cleveland Institute, which was co-founded by From. An entirely different approach was taken, primarily in California, by those who saw Gestalt therapy not just as a therapeutic modality, but as a way of life.

The East Coast, New York—Cleveland axis was often appalled by the notion of Gestalt therapy leaving the consulting room and becoming a way of life on the West Coast in the s see the " Gestalt prayer ". An alternative view of this split saw Perls in his last years continuing to develop his a-theoretical and phenomenological methodology, while others, inspired by From, were inclined to theoretical rigor which verged on replacing experience with ideas.

The split continues between what has been called "East Coast Gestalt" and "West Coast Gestalt," at least from an Amerocentric point of view. While the communitarian form of Gestalt continues to flourish, Gestalt therapy was largely replaced in the United States by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , and many Gestalt therapists in the U. At the same time, contemporary Gestalt Practice to a large extent based upon Gestalt therapy theory and practice was developed by Dick Price , the co-founder of Esalen Institute.

He died almost one year later, on 14 March , in Chicago. One member of the Gestalt community was Barry Stevens. Her book about that phase of her life, Don't Push the River , became very popular. She developed her own form of Gestalt therapy body work, which is essentially a concentration on the awareness of body processes.

Erving and Miriam Polster started a training center in La Jolla , California, which also became very well known, as did their book, Gestalt Therapy Integrated , in the s. The Polsters played an influential role in advancing the concept of contact-boundary phenomena. The standard contact-boundary resistances in Gestalt theory were confluence , introjection , projection and retroflection.

A disturbance described by Miriam and Erving Polster was deflection , which referred to a means of avoiding contact.

Instances of boundary phenomena can have pathological or non-pathological aspects; for example, it is appropriate for an infant and mother to merge, or become "confluent," but inappropriate for a client and therapist to do so. If the latter do become confluent, there can be no growth, because there is no boundary at which one can contact the other: the client will not be able to learn anything new, because the therapist essentially becomes an extension of the client.

There were a variety of psychological and philosophical influences upon the development of Gestalt therapy, not the least of which were the social forces at the time and place of its inception.

About This Item

Gestalt therapy is an approach that is holistic including mind, body, and culture. It is present-centered and related to existential therapy in its emphasis on personal responsibility for action, and on the value of "I—thou" relationship in therapy. In fact, Perls considered calling Gestalt therapy existential-phenomenological therapy. Buber's work emphasized immediacy, and required that any method or theory answer to the therapeutic situation, seen as a meeting between two people. This concept became important in much of Gestalt theory and practice.

Gestalt therapy was based in part on Goldstein's concept called Organismic theory. Goldstein viewed a person in terms of a holistic and unified experience; he encouraged a "big picture" perspective, taking into account the whole context of a person's experience. The word Gestalt means whole, or configuration. Laura Perls, in an interview, denotes the Organismic theory as the base of Gestalt therapy.

There were additional influences on Gestalt therapy from existentialism , particularly the emphasis upon personal choice and responsibility.

1. Introduction

The late s—s movement toward personal growth and the human potential movement in California fed into, and was itself influenced by, Gestalt therapy. In this process Gestalt therapy somehow became a coherent Gestalt , which is the Gestalt psychology term for a perceptual unit that holds together and forms a unified whole. Fritz Perls trained as a neurologist at major medical institutions and as a Freudian psychoanalyst in Berlin and Vienna, the most important international centers of the discipline in his day.

He worked as a training analyst for several years with the official recognition of the International Psychoanalytic Association IPA , and must be considered an experienced clinician. To this was added the insights of academic Gestalt psychology , including perception , Gestalt formation , and the tendency of organisms to complete an incomplete Gestalt and to form "wholes" in experience.

Central to Fritz and Laura Perls's modifications of psychoanalysis was the concept of dental or oral aggression. In Ego, Hunger and Aggression , Fritz Perls's first book, to which Laura Perls contributed [35] ultimately without recognition , Perls suggested that when the infant develops teeth, he or she has the capacity to chew, to break food apart, and, by analogy, to experience , taste , accept , reject , or assimilate. This was opposed to Freud 's notion that only introjection takes place in early experience.

Thus Perls made assimilation, as opposed to introjection, a focal theme in his work, and the prime means by which growth occurs in therapy. In contrast to the psychoanalytic stance, in which the "patient" introjects the presumably more healthy interpretations of the analyst, in Gestalt therapy the client must "taste" his or her own experience and either accept or reject it—but not introject or "swallow whole. This is the key point in the divergence of Gestalt therapy from traditional psychoanalysis: growth occurs through gradual assimilation of experience in a natural way, rather than by accepting the interpretations of the analyst; thus, the therapist should not interpret , but lead the client to discover for him- or herself.

The Gestalt therapist contrives experiments that lead the client to greater awareness and fuller experience of his or her possibilities. Experiments can be focused on undoing projections or retroflections. The therapist can work to help the client with closure of unfinished Gestalts "unfinished business" such as unexpressed emotions towards somebody in the client's life. There are many kinds of experiments that might be therapeutic, but the essence of the work is that it is experiential rather than interpretive, and in this way, Gestalt therapy distinguishes itself from psychoanalysis.

Gestalt therapy reached a zenith in the United States in the late s and early s.

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Awareness, Dialogue & Process: Essays on Gestalt Therapy - Gary M. Yontef - Google книги

Since then, it has influenced other fields like organizational development, coaching, and teaching. Many of its contributions have become assimilated into other current schools of therapy. In recent years, it has seen a resurgence in popularity as an active, psychodynamic form of therapy which has also incorporated some elements of recent developments in attachment theory.

There are, for example, four Gestalt training institutes in the New York City metropolitan area alone, not to mention dozens of others worldwide. Gestalt therapy continues to thrive as a widespread form of psychotherapy, especially throughout Europe, where there are many practitioners and training institutions. Dan Rosenblatt led Gestalt therapy training groups and public workshops at the Tokyo Psychotherapy Academy for seven years. Stewart Kiritz continued in this role from to Many Gestalt therapy training organizations exist worldwide.

Ansel Woldt asserted that Gestalt teaching and training are built upon the belief that people are, by nature, health-seeking. Thus, such commitments as authenticity, optimism, holism, health, and trust become important principles to consider when engaged in the activity of teaching and learning—especially Gestalt therapy theory and practice. Its Research Task Force generates and nurtures active research projects and an international conference on research.

The European Association for Gestalt Therapy EAGT , founded in to gather European individual Gestalt therapists, training institutes, and national associations from more than twenty European nations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Edwin Nevis ed.

Gary Yontef

Cambridge, MA: Gestalt Press. Henle, however, restricts herself explicitly to only three of Perls' books from and , leaving out Perls' earlier work, and Gestalt therapy in general. See Barlow criticizing Henle: Allen R. Barlow: Gestalt Therapy and Gestalt Psychology. Shepherd eds. The Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy.

New York, Vintage Books.