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Fritz Perls

Fritz Perls - the founder of Gestalt therapy

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 prayer

Origin

Fritz Perls created the Gestalt prayer to provide a model that expresses Gestalt therapy and a means by which we should live. The Gestalt prayer is a statement which is an exemplary representation by Dr. Perls that accurately summarizes his new method of psychotherapy.

The meaning of the Gestalt prayer is for the individual to live in harmony according to their own needs and what feels right instead of looking to outside influences to determine the individual's needs. The statement also emphasizes the fact that when we are fulfilled then we are better equipped to help others to do the same which creates stronger relationships.

Text of "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.

(Fritz Perls, 1969)

Impact and legacy

The Gestalt prayer describes in 56 words the focus of Gestalt therapy and its viewpoint of personal independence and is legendary in the practice of Gestalt and psychotherapy professionals. Although critics in opposition believe that relationships must be developed through hard work, those who believe in Gestalt feel that relationships should never be based on obligation or as a result of the expectations of others. The Gestalt prayer is also well known for sparking arguments in academic discussions related to personal autonomy and interdependence and it is widely used by the general culture as a creed to live by.