Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Timeless Experience by Nancy Amendt-Lyon Summary
For years, psychotherapists have known that Laura Perls was actively involved in the development of what today is known as Gestalt therapy, although her husband, Frederick Perls, officially authored the foundational texts. Laura Perls’s own professional publications are succinct and appreciated, but they are not numerous. The present volume, comprising Laura Perls’s heretofore unpublished writing, including journal entries, letters, poems, translations, short stories, and drafts for lectures and publications, offers a very personal perspective on one of the founders of Gestalt therapy. The extensive interview that Daniel Rosenblatt conducted with Laura Perls in 1972, published here for the first time in English, complements her literary texts, and provides valuable background information. Laura Perls’s history spans two world wars, flight from Nazi persecution, life on three continents, and many new beginnings. Together with her known works, these literary texts reflect the emergence of women into professional and public life during the 20th century by giving the reader insight into this time period and the influence of a woman on the development of a major school of Humanistic Psychology. The rich cultural background from which Laura Perls benefited and the authors whose works inspired her resonate in her literary texts, a treasure chest of personal reflections during the decades of her life from 1946 to 1985. In addition, a general overview of her life is provided, her theoretical and practical contributions to the origins and development of Gestalt therapy are described, and her legacy to the field of Gestalt therapy is elucidated. Laura Perls was known for making the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy a viable and important teaching community. For decades, she was the keeper of the flame of this foundational Gestalt institute. Best known for her concepts of contact and support, the creative use of experiments, and productive use of embarrassment, Laura Perls’s literary texts are finally made available here.