Influential Past Teachers

Place of Birth
Berlin, Germany

Foundation of Teaching
Psychology, Gestalt Therapy

Example of Teaching
“I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.”


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Fritz Perls

Frederick or Friedrich Salomon Perls (July 8 1893, Berlin – March 14 1970, Chicago) entered the history as Fritz Perls, a famous psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He was a Jew born in Germany, who developed absolutely new approach in psychotherapy. According to this theory, one of the primary objectives of Gestalt therapy is the ability to restore the self-awareness which is lost when a psychological disorder becomes evident. This is accomplished by restoring the individual’s ability to differentiate, which helps the individual to identify what is and what is not a true part of the self, what provides the individual with a sense of self-realization and achievement and what leads to frustration. Thanks to him the term of Gestalt therapy came into view.

He believed that people split off from the experiences, thoughts, sensations, and emotions that are uncomfortable. The splitting off creates a fragmentation of the personality. His focus was to assist people in owning their experiences and developing a healthy gestalt or wholeness.

He and his wife Laura founded Gestalt Therapy in the early 1940’s. Gestalt therapy seeks to resolve conflict and ambiguity, through providing framework, which integrates the total experience of life.

The publications of Fritz Perls present his theory, his teaching, and his experience. He contributed much to the field of psychotherapy, including moving the client off the couch, to face the therapist on equal footing. According to Perls, there are six factors causing psychological discomfort. The six factors are:

1) The lack of contact: no social support.
2) Confluence: the environment takes control.
3) Unfinished business: inability to gain closure.
4) Fragmentation: Denied or fragmented self.
5) Winner/Loser: conflict of values and expectations.
6) Polarities: never seeing gray, always black or white.

Fritz Perls also co-authored «Gestalt Therapy» with Robert Hefferline and Paul Goodman, which was published in 1951. Again, the work was not well received even by the growing movement interested in the Gestalt model. However, over time the book did attract a growing band of supporters and loyal followers, and this led to the Perls founding the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, and which was managed by Laura.

By 1964, Perls was the Esalen Institute’s resident psychiatrist in Big Sur, California. Here, he used «dream workshops» where a patient would be provided with a forum to discuss their sleeping dreams. This also included the use of role-play and characterization. The popularity of the Gestalt model grew and institutes and centers were opened across the country, with a much larger number of therapist workshops being conducted.


    Articles and Posts

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    Gestalt Therapy At Home

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    Gestalt Prayer by Fritz Perls

    From the Jupiter Center for Growth & Healing: Yesterday, I visited with my mother for a few hours, showing her a bit about how to use the internet beyond email. She recited a line from a poem to offer some [...]

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    Fritz Perls – Father of Gestalt Therapy

    by Vikki Brock: Fritz Perls (1893-1970), was a German born psychotherapist who coined the term “Gestalt therapy” for the approach to therapy he developed with his wife Laura Perls in the 1940s. He led Gestalt therapy in the 1950s and [...]

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    Gestalt – Fritz Perls

    1. View of Human Nature a. A Gestalt means a whole, and Gestalt therapy is based on the person feeling whole or complete in their life. b. Gestalt therapy is considered to be a here-­and-­now therapy focusing on awareness with the belief that when [...]

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    Fritz Perls and Gestalt Therapy

    by Sheldon Litt, Ph.D.: Gestalt therapy was originated about fifty years ago by Frederick ‘Fritz’ Perls (1893-1970) in collaboration with Paul Goodman. Perls was born in Berlin and educated in medicine and psychoanalysis. But he later became interested in ideas beyond [...]

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  1. "I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine."
  2. "To mature means to take responsibility for your life, to be on your own. Psychoanalysis fosters the infantile state by considering that the past is responsible for the illness."
  3. "...nobody can stand truth if it is told to him. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable."
  4. "The only difference between the wise man and the fool is that the wise man knows he is playing."
  5. "Nobody can stand truth if it is told to him. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable."
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