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. It is based on Gestalt psychology and Hans-Jurgen Walter's Gestalt Theory Psychotherapy. His wife Laura Perls also contributed to the development of the Gestalt psychotherapy.

Gestalt therapy

The main idea of Gestalt therapy is the extension of awareness, when all current senses and behaviors merge influencing the interconnection of the individual and his surroundings. Perls activity was related to the California Esalen Institute in the 60-s of the last century. Perls name became known not only in psychotherapy thanks to the citation which is frequently named the Gestalt prayer. When interest to individualism conception arose in the 1960s, Gestalt therapy attracted much attention. More about Gestalt therapy.

Definition of Gestalt

A «Gestalt» (Origin: German) is perhaps best described as a «form» or «pattern», however this does not give full justice to the word, which has no direct equivalent in English. In the context which Perls placed it into, a gestalt entity is something which is greater than the sum of its parts. In order to understand an event, or something or someone, you must consider the entire situation and the components which go to create that particular form at that point in time.

Concept of Gestalt

In spite of the fact that Gestalt therapy became a good remedy for many people which could assist them to solve their problems, it has boundaries. To be more definite, individualism conception is good, but everything that is good has its reverse side. Those who looked for fulfillment of hopes and ambitions came to Gestalt therapy and it became its weak point. Fritz Perls concentrated on things essential for the individual for the development of his personality. Nevertheless, all people are social and they are not able to reach fully their potential without building a relationship with others and collaborating to reach the common aim. People try hard to find the harmony, peace of mind and happiness, which is unattainable on one's own, otherwise the happiness is not real. Separation from others cannot bring to genuine happiness. Happiness can be obtained in the fulfillment of real love, which is not concentrated on self but is revealed through other people to share this love with.