Reading Perls, and reading those reading Perls!
A group of 7 fearless students of the Gestalt Therapy approach, most of them experienced practitioners, have been meeting on Zoom every three weeks since July 2020, in order to read together 'Psychopathology of Awareness', based on an unfinished manuscript by Fritz Perls. Perls is one of the founders of Gestalt Therapy as an approach, and one of the authors with Paul Goodman of the so-called "Gestalt bible", 'Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality'. The Psychopathology of Awareness includes Perls' hitherto unpublished writings, followed by commentaries by eleven known Gestalt therapists and authors.
The reading group was led and facilitated by Dr Seán Gaffney, a Senior Associate of GCB, and the one hour and a half Zoom meeting included lively discussions and the sharing of personal experiences and reflections by participants. Here are some of their impressions:
“What I like and appreciate most about the reading group is the attention to detail and meaning of particular words and statements, things that would not have registered or stayed with me reading alone."
“What I have enjoyed most about this group is connecting, learning and sharing with my peers about the life, theory and practice of Gestalt therapy."
"I like the different takes on the reading and how we sparked from one another. And how we cannot separate a therapeutic theory or approach from its historical timeline.”
"The text we chose was not an easy one and surely I wouldn't have got beyond the first few pages of 'Psychopathology of Awareness' had it not been for the reading group! As the weeks unfolded and as we read the commentaries it became an increasingly enjoyable and worthwhile endeavour."
"There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the group and I enjoy hearing about how ideas and characters in the gestalt world were interwoven and who influenced and was influenced by whom."