In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between gestalt psychology and phenomenalism and how Perls sees the relationship between these two approaches. We’ll also touch on Koffka’s theory of phenomenological analysis and existentialist phenomenology.
Perls’ view of gestalt psychology
Perls’ conception of gestalt psychology and phenomenalism synthesized two philosophies: existentialism and phenomenology. Both perspectives stressed the importance of observing the behavior of a singular organism to understand its underlying nature. Gestalt psychologists and therapists based their practice on these ideas.
Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the individual’s present experience. It differs from traditional psychotherapy, which relies on interpretation to help clients resolve their problems. Perls and other gestalt therapists emphasize the importance of self-responsibility and self-awareness. Gestalt therapists are committed to respecting their clients as experts in their own lives and relationships.
Perls was wounded in World War I and served as a medical doctor afterward. He worked as an assistant to psychiatrist Kurt Goldstein and helped brain-injured soldiers. Both he and Goldstein were adept at incorporating a Gestalt approach into psychotherapy. Both men married, moved to California, and co-led early Gestalt workshops at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.
Perls’ view of Gestalt psychology is based on a framework in which the individual and the environment are interrelated. A Gestalt assessment reveals the human tendency to focus on “what’s wrong” in a situation. However, it also highlights the fullness of a theme.
While Perls’ views of gestalt psychology and phenomenalism differ, they are closely related. The former recognizes that a healthy system emerges when two forces appear in a given situation. The latter focuses on unfolding different forms of awareness within the system. The two concepts are complementary and complement each other. In this way, gestalt therapy is a form of existential psychotherapy.
Perls’ view of existentialist phenomenology
Perls’ view of existentialist philosophy and existential phenomenology reflects various influences, from Freudian psychoanalytic concepts to Gestalt therapy. It is also influenced by the work of Goldstein and his organismic theory. Other effects include the creation of Friedlaender and Landauer, as well as the thoughts of Goodman.
Perls was a German-Jewish psychoanalyst. He and his wife, Laura Perls, escaped Nazi oppression and settled in South Africa. During the early 1950s, the city was a hotbed of political, artistic, and intellectual experimentation.
The problem with existentialism is that it is difficult to define. The blame for its widespread misconceptions falls not only on those who want to label things conveniently but also on existentialism. For instance, existentialism does not deny the existence of God or transcendental entities.
“I am not in this world to meet your expectations, for example.” I am not in this world to meet your standards, he wrote. As a result, I cannot live up to your expectations. Perls noted, “I am not in this world to live up to your expectations.”
The impact of existentialist psychology is similar to that of psychoanalysis, although on a smaller scale. It may not be as popular as in the 1980s, but its ideas endure and are of lasting value. These themes are relevant to our everyday problems. In times of crisis, they have particular relevance.
Perls’ view of phenomenological analysis
Perls’ view of phenomenological analysis was influential in the development of Gestalt therapy. The Gestalt approach to treatment focuses on a person’s intentional expression of experience and avoids using the ‘gimmicks’ used by other methods. Perls’ phenomenological reflections are still influential, especially in existential philosophy.
Perls’ work influenced psychoanalysts of the early twentieth century. In the 1920s, he was an influential student of Otto Rank and Wilhelm Reich. Perls grew frustrated with the dogmatism of classical Freudian psychoanalysis. During this time, there was a strong rebellion against existentialism and Newtonian positivism. In later decades, phenomenological-existential influence impacted Gestalt therapy, which became a significant discipline in psychology.
Gestalt therapists work in the present but are sensitive to the residues of the past. The observer’s frame of reference is essential to determining what is meaningful in the phenomenological field. This frame of reference is necessary because what we see is a function of how we view it.
Gestalt therapy has its roots in Perls. It was founded in Frankfurt-am-Main, where Perls was a medical doctor. While working at the Institute for Brain-Damaged Soldiers, he met Laura Gelb and Adhemar Gelb. The Frankfurt area was a hotbed of intellectual ferment, and Perls was exposed to many thinkers from different disciplines.
Perls argued that the ultimate aim of psychotherapy was integration and development. This was achieved by letting the client bring their experience to the therapist. As a result, the therapist can then carefully construct a meaning for the client. The goal of psychotherapy was to help the client integrate.