Have All the Grand Masters in Psychotherapy Died?
Gestalt therapy is intimately linked to the life and work of Fritz Perls, and almost everyone in my generation of clinical and counseling psychologists remembers the iconic “Gloria tapes” in which the therapy styles of Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, and Fritz Perls were juxtaposed. In his review of Eleanor O’Leary’s Gestalt Therapy Around the World, Paul Priester asks,
What happens to a school of psychotherapy when its founder dies? Perhaps even more poignantly, what happens to a school of psychotherapy after the first generation of clinicians trained by the founders die? (para. 1)
Why aren’t there heirs apparent for Rogers, Ellis, and Perls? Did all three men fail in succession planning? Is there anyone today of similar stature to these giants in the world of psychotherapy? If not, why not?
By Paul E. Priester
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(26)