1st Edition

Here Now Next Paul Goodman and the Origins of Gestalt Therapy

By Taylor Stoehr Copyright 1997
    352 Pages
    by Gestalt Press

    Paul Goodman left his mark in a number of fields: he went from being known as a social critic and philosopher of the New Left to poet and literary critic to author of influential works on education (Compulsory Mis-education) and community planning (Communitas).  Perhaps his most significant achievement was in his contribution to the founding and theoretical portion of the classic text Gestalt Therapy (with F. S. Perls and R. E. Hefferline, 1951), still regarded as the cornerstone of Gestalt practice.

    Taylor Stoher's Here Now Next is the first scholarly account of the origins of Gestalt therapy, told from the point of view of its chief theoretician by a man who knew him well.  Stoehr describes both Goodman's role in establishing the principal ideas of the Gestalt movement and the ways in which his practice as a therapist changed him, ultimately leading to a new vocation as the "socio-therapist" of the body politic.  He places Goodman in the midst of his world, showing how his personal and public life - including his political activities in the 1960s - were transformed by Gestalt ideas, and he presents revealing sketches of other major figures from those days - Fritz Perls, Wilhelm Reich, A. S. Neill, and others.

    At the Crossroads. Fritz and Lore Perls. Bones to Pick with Wilhelm Reich and A. S. Neill. Writing Gestalt Therapy. The Intellectual Tradition. The New York Institute and Its Founders. Goodman the Therapist. "Can Anything Be Salvaged from All That Effort?" Gestalt and Politics in the Sixties. "My Only Son Fell Down and Died." A Memorial Service for Fritz . Neither Guru nor Sacred Text: The Gestalt Way.


    Taylor Stoehr, professor of English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, is Paul Goodman's literary executor and biographer.  In addition to editing over a dozen volumes of Goodman's work, he has written five books and numerous articles on literary figures such as Dickens, Hawthorne, Lawrence, and Thoreau, as well as cultural studies of utopian communities and other "counterculture" experiments of nineteenth-century America. 

    "A long overdue acknowledgement of Paul Goodman's crucial place in the development of Gestalt therapy.  Taylor Stoehr is to be praised for settling many of the questions on the origins of Gestalt therapy as well as explaining much about the sources of Goodman's significant contributions."

    - Isadore From

    "Here is the fascinating account of Paul Goodman's quirky, brave, brilliant, and often troubled life and how he fashioned much of Gestalt therapy theory, thinking it out and living it intensely even as he wrote it."

    - Malcolm Parlett, editor, British Gestalt Journal

    "It was Paul Goodman's organization and presentation of Gestalt therapy that makes it not only a humane discipline of healing, but a way of living creatively in the modern age."

    - Joseph Zinker, author, In Search of Good Form

    "Paul Goodman demanded we acknowledge his being as well as his life actions - a standard appropriate for the moral and ethical dilemmas of today's world.  This is must reading for mental health professionals who have an active interest in politics."

    - Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

    "Since Paul Goodman's death, I have entrusted myself to Taylor Stoehr as guide to Goodman the classicist, the anarchist, and the surreptitious teacher of an American generation."

    - Ivan Illich, philosopher and social historian