ABSTRACT

Gestalt therapy, the first (mid-1930s) integrative therapy, was both predicated upon and grounded in a world view that privileges human nature as one with the environment: the “organismic/environmental field.” Frederick (Fritz) S. Perls, a Berlin psychoanalyst, utilized this integration to totally reorganize psychotherapy, incorporating ideas and realities from biology, anthropology/sociology, holism, existentialism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, field theory, Buber, and many other disciplines. His integration has been evolving, distilling, and changing during his lifetime, after his death, and continues today. Theory, like individual character, can become fixed and anachronistic as field conditions change. What is needed is homeorhesis (a return to a trajectory) and not homeostasis (a return to a set point). Many of Perl's “crazy” ideas have been now assimilated by most contemporary psychotherapy models. Still to be widely recognized is that the relevant past is accessible in palpable present transactions (dialogic and others) as it interrupts self-regulation in the present.

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