Fritz Perls

Psychologist, Author

1893 – 1970

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Who was Fritz Perls?

Friedrich Salomon Perls, better known as Fritz Perls, was a noted German-born psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Perls coined the term 'Gestalt therapy' to identify the form of psychotherapy that he developed with his wife, Laura Perls, in the 1940s and 1950s. Perls became associated with the Esalen Institute in 1964, and he lived there until 1969. His approach to psychotherapy is related to, but not identical to, Gestalt psychology, and it is different from Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy.

The core of the Gestalt Therapy process is enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between the self, its environment, and the other.

Perls has been widely cited outside the realm of psychotherapy for a quotation often described as the "Gestalt prayer".

I do my thing and you do your thing.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

and you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you, and I am I,

and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.

If not, it can't be helped.

This was especially resonant in the 1960s, when the version of individualism it expresses was prevalent.

Famous Quotes:

  • You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped.

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Born
Jul 8, 1893
Berlin
Also known as
  • Friedrich (Frederick) Salomon Perls
  • Frederick S. Perls
Spouses
Religion
  • Judaism
Ethnicity
  • Germans
Nationality
  • Germany
Profession
Education
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
Died
Mar 14, 1970
Chicago

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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