What was Fritz Perls' overall contribution to Gestalt therapy? Why does Clarkson believe that Perls was the most important founding developer and disseminator of Gestalt therapy? Clarkson answers these and many other questions by examining Gestalt therapy as an immensely influential approach to therapy and counseling. Written by a leading authority on Gestalt therapy, Petruska Clarkson analyzes Perls' life and career, his major theoretical and practical contributions, the criticisms of his work, and his overall influences on psychotherapy. Fritz Perls is an ideal resource for professionals and students in psychiatry, psychology, counseling, and social work who wish to have a better understanding of Gestalt therapy.

The Life of Fritz Perls

The life of Fritz Perls


This chapter provides an overview of Perls’ life. It tells his life story and pays particular attention to the movements, people and experiences which influenced him and the therapeutic approach – Gestalt psychotherapy – which he co-founded, along with Laura Perls and Paul Goodman. The life story thus includes brief detours which explore some of the influences upon that life story. These influences include: the theatre, dance, movement and psychodrama; Freud and orthodox psychoanalysis, as well as various innovators in psychoanalysis; Reich and body therapy; Gestalt psychology, Goldstein's organismic theory, Wertheimer's field orientation and Kurt Lewin's field theory; existentialism, phenomenology and Buber; holism, especially Smuts; interpersonal psychoanalysis (e.g. Horney, Sullivan); and Eastern religion. In addition, numerous ...

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