WHAT IS GESTALT THEORY? Gestalt psychology (sometimes also “gestaltism”) is a theory of mind created by the Berlin School of Experimental Psychology in the first decades of the 20th century. The German word “Gestalt” means shape, or form. Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws that govern the human ability to acquire and maintain perceptions […]

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The purpose of this paper is to try to set the historical record straight while the history in question is still in the making. lt seeks to clarify the relations between gestalt therapy and Gestalt psychology, from which the therapy claims to derive.

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Koffka wrote this book in 1935; I am reproducing the first chapter here. Why Psychology? AN INTRODUCTORY QUESTION When I first conceived the plan of writing this book I guessed, though I did not know, how much effort it would cost to carry it out, and what demands it would put on a potential reader. […]

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In talking to younger psychologists, one finds that many of them seem to believe that perception is something at the surface of the mind, a kind of borderline problem, and that preoccupation with it is obsolete. They look with disdain at every psychological problem that does not at least deal with personality, motivation, or social intercourse. But when discussing problems in which simple facts of stimulus and reaction play a role, as for example in behavior therapy, they prove that they would have done well to occupy themselves a little more with the fundamentals of perception.

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Wertheimer tried to answer this question in a lecture given before the Kant Society in Berlin, on December 7, 1924. It was first published in German in 1925: “Über Gestalttheorie.” The translation is by Willis Ellis, and was published in his “Source Book of Gestalt Psychology.” New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1938. Here is the text of Wertheimers lecture:  What is […]

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This is a speech by the German psychologist Wolfgang Köhler. It was given at the 67th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 6, 1959. Wolfgang Köhler was at the time the president of the APA. He is today remembered as a proponent of Gestalt Psychology, which became popularized later […]

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psychFritz Perls is the founder of Gestalt therapy. He is famous for the following short text. Gestalt Prayer: I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and […]

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