These unpublished essays and published articles (all from the Gestalt Review beginning in 2006), reflect my ongoing, longtime interest in braiding Gestalt with the intra-psychic; interpersonal; socio-historical; and cosmic aspects of existence. Although Gestalt is not mentioned in every piece, awareness of the field and its dynamics are always present.

Appreciating the Best of the French

No question, it is tricky teaching skepticism and free inquiry in a manner that encourages both. It might even involve being skeptical about skepticism. Fair enough. Everything is up for grabs, and one goes on, knowing that is so.

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“Preparations for the Next Life” by Atticus Lish

This Is a book that I mentally and emotionally clambered over and wriggled through in a three day intensive work-out. I’ve never spent time in a gym where people use weights to add muscle to one part of their anatomy or other. I imagine I never will, being seventy-eight and satisfied with staying home to do my sit-ups and push-ups. But I can now say that I definitely got more than a whiff of what that kind of work-out entails, as a result of reading this debut novel of Atticus Lish.

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Three Approaches to Doing Gestalt Therapy

I’m currently reading an excellent book, “Destiny Disrupted”, by the Afghan American scholar, Tamim Ansary. The book is a history of the civilized world as seen from a Muslim perspective. Ansary writes as if he is an honored guest in one’s living room. In other words, although the content is heavy the delivery is light and easy.

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A More Spacious Gestalt

A More Spacious Gestalt : Integrating Polarities

 In this short paper I will focus on  meta-behaviors that were stressed in the Gestalt work of Fritz Perls. Fritz was very much a man of his times, and during the last years of his life he echoed and advanced attitudes that reflected the counter-culture of the late sixties.

His stress on individuating and self-support epitomized in his adage: “You do your thing, I do my thing” could be seen, in part, as a reaction against the conformist group-think that was an inherent part of Nixon’s “silent majority” of Americans. His personal objections to anybody telling him how to think or what to do were also well known.

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Three Incidents

Having lived for close to eighty years, I’ve reached a point where I can rest on a metaphoric ledge, contemplate my past, and attempt to identify the motifs that have made my intellectual-spiritual life what it is today.The nudge that prompted me to write this essay was a serendipitous experience reported to me by a client. His extraordinary experience involved discovering an “art tree” in an out-of-the way location decorated with numerous canvases. That encounter enabled him to see himself and the world in a hopeful new way. How to maintain that new way of perceiving the world became the subject of our conversation.

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Being with Fritz

The first time .. at APA in NYC in the fall of 1966, I was struck by his courage and lack of propriety. Here’s a person that is genuine, and not shy about stating his judgments. His lack of conformity was appealing to my tweed-jacketed – pipe smoking self. Shook up my professional persona, and motivated me to go to Esalen for his month-long in July, 1967.

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Fritz Perls and the Sixties

I worked intensively with Fritz Perls beginning with a month-long workshop at Esalen Institute in July 1967, and ending in March 1970 in New York City where he led his final workshop at my office. He died a few weeks later in Chicago.

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Our Story

Our Universe got the green light
and began with a big bang.
Cosmic dust coalesced and stars appeared.
Planets spun in timeless orbits
around their parent-suns.

On our planet life appeared.
Brains evolved in some species –
Pods at one end of a flexible stem.
Eons passed before creatures
crawled glistening out of primal muck,
gasping and scuttling,
climbing trees,
and finally walking on two feet.

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Linking History and Conciousness

The way we think about mental activity and the way we think about the past may have more in common than we think.

When we focus on our mental life we tend to think of its substantive elements. That is, the particular thoughts, emotions, and perceptions that arise in our consciousness. When we think of the past, we think analogously. We focus on substantive events such as discoveries, wars, dynasties, and social movements.

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Expanding the Field

This paper proposes a Chardanian theory of evolution as a larger field within which the field of Gestalt theory and practice can be situated. Complexification is seen as the dynamic core of evolution and is described as a process leading to increasing intra-aggregate differentiation while maintaining cohesion. Connection sustains cohesion, thus allowing the evolutionary process to unfold. Examples of social, interpersonal, and personal complexification are described. The resonance between an evolutionary perspective that emphasizes complexification and the evolutionary arc Gestalt has been following is discussed. The author closes by discussing some of the clinical, philosophical, and spiritual implications inherent in aligning Gestalt within this larger perspective.

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