Reading Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality

December 17, 2023 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
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Reading <em>Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality</em> @ Zoom

Presenter: Perry Klepner


Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality by Perls, Hefferline, and Goodman (PHG) is a complicated historical document holding the richness of the novel thinking of its time and, importantly, the genius of its authors. PHG now 70 years forward is widely recognized as Gestalt therapy’s founding text. Since the first coherent presentation in 1951, practitioners have been evaluating, clarifying, redefining, and expanding upon the details of its theory and practice. It has been read, cited, criticized, and acclaimed. It has provided fertile ground for questioning ideas, learning, and impetus for new theory and practice.

This presentation will discuss PHG as a comprehensive presentation of Gestalt therapy theory and practice. I will explore its value as a formative text for new and experienced practitioners, provide a brief sampling of its ideas, share my experience reading PHG line by line in an experiential group, and discuss aesthetic and hermeneutic perspectives and critical comments. The presentation will involve didactic and experiment segments.


Perry Klepner, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and Kingston, NY, since 1977. He has been an instructor at several Gestalt institutes and provides training, supervision, and individual, couples, and group therapy. He trained with Laura Perls, Isadore From, and Richard Kitzler at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, where he is a past president (1993–95) and a full member, fellow, and instructor. He has authored articles and led workshops on Gestalt therapy at numerous conferences in the U.S. and abroad.