The Power of Gentleness

“May all beings enjoy happiness and have whatever causes happiness,
May they be free from suffering and whatever causes suffering,
May they never be separated from the pure happiness which is without suffering,
May they remain in great equanimity beyond attachment and aversion, to things near and far.”

The goal and task in Gestalt Therapy is to be more fully who I am, to realise my potential. In an ongoing exchange process between organism and environment, I develop awareness, a sense of myself and of other.
The Power of Gentleness describes for me, both goal and task. It is primarily an attitude, a way of being that is vital for the therapeutic process. At the same time its realisation is the achievement of the therapeutic goal.
What I intend to show is how both aspects, “power” and “gentleness” complement each other and form a Gestalt, a meaningful organised whole. In coming together they lead forward on the path of self actualisation, they lead forward in being more fully who we are, in our separateness from and connectedness with our environment. Continue reading “The Power of Gentleness”


What is Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy is a therapeutic approach that was developed in the 1940s in response to the perceived limitations of classical Psychoanalysis. Apart from Psychoanalysis it is based on Gestalt Psychology, Phenomenology, Field Theory, Existentialism and the concept of Dialogue. It has been influenced by Holism and Zen. Founders were Fritz and Laura Perls, German Jews who immigrated to the Nederlands, South Africa and USA.

The basis of the Gestalt approach is twofold Continue reading “What is Gestalt Therapy”


Field Theory in Action

Reflections about a Gestalt Workshop with Malcolm Parlett

“Field theory in action” describes best this workshop for me.

In a skillful way, Malcolm combined personal work with theory which then again led to further personal work. As he pointed out at the beginning, to understand Gestalt Therapy, we need to understand the theory, as outlined by Perls, Hefferline and Goodman. In order to be able to understand the theory, we need to experience Gestalt Therapy. To make sense of the experience, however, we need to know the theory.

Learning Gestalt Therapy, therefore, is a step by step process fluctuating between experience and theoretical understanding. Continue reading “Field Theory in Action”


The Essence of Gestalt Therapy

“Imagine a huge canvas in the middle of the circle. We are co-creating a joint painting that will be finished with the completion of this workshop.” This was the image that came to me at the beginning of a recent workshop in Auckland outlining what we were going to do.

I have a basic idea and I am willing to put forward suggestions and share my phenomenology. The end result however is always a joint venture. The essence of Gestalt is the ‘between’.

As Anne Maclean says: “You and I. … Gestalt is about life and liveliness and being fully who you are. Continue reading “The Essence of Gestalt Therapy”


Rocking the Boat

Sometimes we get to a place in our relationship where we get stuck. Stuckness is not always recognized as such. It expresses itself as a lack of joy and interest in each other, dissatisfaction, lack of honesty, energy, sexual interest and creativity. We may avoid each other and distract ourselves with TV, alcohol, food, work, etc. The relationship may feel flat and unalive, depression or aggression is in the air.

When one of the partners rocks the boat by expressing their unhappiness, change is inevitable. This can easily be interpreted by the other as rejection or a threat to the relationship. Conflict arises; fear clouds the love. Continue reading “Rocking the Boat”



What Constitutes Healing in Psychotherapy?

There is a certain acceptance in this country that I had not known before I came to live in New Zealand. The spaciousness of the sparsely populated land is reflected in the interpersonal space of individualism with a high degree of tolerance. To live and let live is a predominant attitude, complemented with a general caring for each other. Quite a difference to the highly competitive social structures in Germany, where I grew up.

In this article I want to attend to the question: what makes New Zealand such a special place? Then I want to share how living and working here has effected my work as a Gestalt therapist Continue reading “Aroha”


Being Real

What I like about Gestalt is that it brings together the personal and the professional, the individual and the social. It attends simultaneously to my need for personal freedom and my need for connection with others. Gestalt unfolds at the boundary between self and the world. I am who I am in relation to my environment.

Gestalt as a holistic concept acknowledges the need for completion Continue reading “Being Real”