This book is a biography of a controversial German-American psycho-analyst, psychologist, and philosopher called Frederick S. Perls. Usually referred to as Fritz, he is actually an inventor of a therapy method called Gestalt Therapy. That and much more of his life is covered in this biography of Fritz by Martin Shepard that we will show you all about in this book review of Fritz.
Born in 1893 and died in 1979, Fritz described himself as a mediocre psychoanalyst who actually achieved more that he says. Author Martin Shepard has managed to tell this man’s story of success in this book about the life of Fritz Perls.
Most of the material mentioned in this book by Martin is actually gathered from interviews of Fritz’s family, acquaintances, friends, to be more precise, a lot of information is thanks to the stories told by his wife, children, several paramour-patients of his, his friends Dwight Macdonald, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, the famous Alan Watts, Michael Murphy, and others of Esalen fame.
Now, we won’t deprive you of some of the harsh reality about Perls in this book review of Fritz, but the majority of these people agreed on many things about his personality. They all agreed that Fritz was a pretty ugly person, they describe him as a pig, a lecher, and a grandstander.
But, aside from all of those honest opinions, they didn’t hold back talking in their interview about his tremendous talent in his work, that he was a very gifted and effective therapist. His methods, they admitted, were very mysterious, he was not extremely pleasant towards his patients, or anyone for that matter, but he often managed to achieve great results.
Shepard mentions in his book, that Fritz was fixated on the pleasure principle, on polymorphous perversity and infantile self-gratification, but he also explains why he is as he is and a lot of this has to do with some facts from his childhood that Martin makes sure to tell you all about in the book itself.
For the sake of not spoiling anything major we won’t talk about that in this Fritz book review, but you can rest assured knowing that a lot of details about Fritz’s life are inside this book.
Another important thing that is mentioned in it is that after an incident where Fritz was so brutally ignored by Freud himself, his heresy grew proportionally after that. And of course, probably one of the most important things about Fritz is mentioned in the book, as well as in our review of Fritz itself, his invention of the Gestalt Therapy.
What Is It?
Gestalt Therapy is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may have perceived to be happening based on experience. All of this and more is revealed in this biography of Fritz by Martin Shepard and you get to read about this very disturbing, but brilliant man’s life.