Founders of Gestalt – The founder of Gestalt is Fritz Perls. His story is described below.
Gestalt psychotherapy is a humanistic-experiential method that finds its basis in psychoanalysis and Eastern philosophy. Fritz Perls is considered the founder of Gestalt, but his wife, Laura Perls, and several other intellectuals he met along his professional path also had an impact on the development of Gestalt psychotherapy.
Founders of Gestalt – Fritz Perls (1893 – 1970).
Fritz Perls was born in Berlin in a Jewish ghetto. He was a very difficult but talented and capable child. He graduated from the Askanische Gymnasium in Berlin. It was there that he met Max Reinhardt, a theater director who infected Fritz with his love of art.
In 1914, Fritz Perls begins his medical studies at the Fritz Perls University. Friedrich Wilhelm in Berlin. In 1920, he graduates and begins working in his profession. He is undertaking a specialization in neuropsychiatry. He meets philosopher Friedlander, who has a significant influence on Perls’ later work.
1923 Perls goes to New York, but quickly returns because Americans do not accept his diploma due to his lack of English language skills.
In 1926, he begins working with psychoanalyst Karen Horney. This decision dramatically changes his life. Perls is fascinated by psychoanalysis. He moves to Frankfurt and there begins an internship in the department of psychiatry under Kurt Goldstein, who works on the theory of Gestalt psychoanalysis. It is also where he meets Laura Posner. The relationship has stirred up a lot of controversy. The Perls’ family does not accept a relationship with Laura because of the age difference between them. In 1930 Laura becomes his wife, and in 1931 their daughter Renate comes into the world. Between 1928 and 1930, Perls works as a full-time Pasychoanalytic psychotherapist. He also works on psychoanalysis with Eugen Harnick and later with Wilheim Reich.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of the Reich. Frederick is forced to move to the Netherlands because he would not be able to practice his profession due to his Jewish background. He enlists the help of Ernst Jones and begins working in the field of psychoanalysis in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his wife establish the South African Psychoanalytic Association. In 1935, Laura and Frederick’s second child, son Stepfen, is born.
In 1936, Perls is invited to a conference in Marienbad. The theories propounded by him are considered distant from Freud’s traditional psychoanalytic theory, which has caused much controversy. Frederick is expelled from the ranks of psychoanalysts.
In 1942, Fritz Perls moves to New York City and publishes his first book, titled “The New Yorker. “Ego, Hunger and Aggression: a review of Freud’s theory and method.”
In 1951, Perls, along with Goodman and Hefferlin, publish a two-volume work that has been called the Gestalt bible: “Gestalt Therapy: Stimulation and Growth in the Human Personality.” The year is also considered the official birth of Gestalt psychotherapy.
In 1953, Perls divorces his wife, and each of them develops in different directions. Laura and Goldman remain faithful to the original psychoanalysis. Perls abandons the original concept and introduces Zen principles. He goes on a long trip and preaches his theories like a guru and not like a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. The long journeys are wearing Perls out, causing his heart to grow weaker and weaker. In 1970, Perls dies of a heart attack.