Monday, November 5, 2007

Body Mind Spirit Pioneer: Gestalt Therapist Fritz Perls

Fritz Perls (1893-1970), a psychiatrist and student of Reich’s, helped found Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt in German means “an irreducible experience,” and Perls adopted the term to name the method he had developed with his wife Laura, also a psychiatrist. Their approach emphasized the person as a whole—with the mind and emotions equally connected to the body—which differed from the importance of “knowing” stressed in Hans-Juergen Walter’s Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy.

Perls theorized that the exhilarating experience of living fully alive, aware, and in the present was actually derailed by our habitual thinking mind. (“I think, and that gets in the way of who I am”—apologies to Descartes.) Our thoughts about life created a barrier to experiencing life full tilt, and Gestalt therapy emphasized the removal of obstacles that prevented people from maximizing their potential.

The method involved working in real time as opposed to focusing on past experiences, the norm for psychoanalysis. His 1951 book, Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality, also featured contributions from Paul Goodman, an anarchist and political writer, and from Ralph Hefferline, a psychology professor and patient. Perls was quoted as saying, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.”
Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

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