An Oral History of Gestalt Therapy:  Interviews with Laura Perls, Isadore From, Erving & Miriam Polster, and Elliott Shapiro


When The Gestalt Journal began publication plans in 1997, we decided to initiate a series of interviews with those in the Gestalt community who had been involved in the development of Gestalt therapy since its inception in the early 1940's.

Our choice were obvious and our interview with Laura Perls appeared in the premier issue of the Journal in 1978.  Interviews with Isadore From, and Erving and Miriam Polster appeared in the next two issues.  Our interview with educational innovator Elliott Shapiro, also among those involved in the germination of Gestalt therapy, appeared later.

Rather than updating the introductions to each interview, we have left them as originally written.  The interview with Laura Perls appeared in Volume I, No. 1 (Winter, 1978), the interview with Isadore From in Volume 1, No. 2 (Fall, 1978), the interview with Erving & Miriam Polster in Volume II, No. 1, and the interview with Elliott Shapiro in Volume VIII, No. 2 (Fall, 1985).

Our attempt was not only to provide an informal history of the theoretical influences on the development of Gestalt therapy, but also to capture some sense of the personalities intimately involved in Gestalt's beginnings.

We hope we've succeeded.

Joe Wysong
Founder and Editor
The Gestalt Journal

The four interviews, with the addition of a previously unpublished interview with Frederick (Fritz) Perls conducted in 1967 by James Simkin and the talk son Stephen Perls delivered at the 100th anniversary of Perls's birthday are available in eBook form from The Gestalt Journal Press for $5.96.

eBook  Ordering information.

The interview with Laura Perls

The interview with Isadore From

The interview with Erving and Miriam Polster

The interview with Elliott Shapiro

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