Memories of Barry Stevens

Fritz Perls described the late Barry Stevens as "a natural born therapist." Best known in Gestalt circles for her book, Don't Push the River, which describes her involvement with Perls's "Gestalt Kibbutz" at Cowichan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, she also co-wrote, with Carl Rogers, Between Person and Person. Her last book, published shortly before she died, was Burst Out Laughing.

Barry was a good friend of mine. We co-led a few training workshops and although she lived in Utah and I lived in New York City, we kept in contact, mostly by correspondence. In a time before e-mail, the exchange of letters made communication far more personal.

We offer these materials for two reasons. First, to refresh her memory in the minds of those of you who knew her. Second, to introduce those of you who are unfamiliar with her to this remarkable woman.

There are two Adobe Acrobat files and one "zip" file that includes twenty-six small PDF files.  available for download, The first is a copy of a piece I wrote in Barry's memory that appeared in the Spring, 1986 issue of The Gestalt Journal. The second is a collection of photographs from Barry's life that her son, John (Steve) Stevens, sent to Barry's friends when she passed away. The Zip file includes a selection of letters that Barry wrote me over the years including her hand-drawn illustrations. They include some cogent points about the practice of Gestalt therapy.  The letters include references to several mutual friends and a few Gestalt "notables" of the time.  Other than to identify "Steve" as her son, John O. Stevens (now Steve Andreas), I have am not putting any other persons in specific context.  It is Barry's view and her way of expressing herself that matter, not the person she is commenting on.

If you don't have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free from the Adobe web site. It is cross-platform and versions are available for Windows, for the Mac, and for systems using Linux.  We updated these files in December, 2003 and all are now in Acrobat 6 format.  If you have an earlier version that isn't compatible with version six, visit the Adobe site and download it there.

As Barry often illustrated her letters with drawings done with magic markers, the correspondence file is in color and therefor much larger than the other two and can take a considerable amount of time to download if you do not have a high-speed connection.

Joe Wysong
The Gestalt Journal

Download the Journal article.

Download the "photo album."

Download the correspondence.

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