Friedrich (Fritz) Perls was a psychologist who was born in Berlin in 1893 and who is known for developing Gestalt therapy, a humanist-existentialist model of therapeutic intervention. Perls has inspired many psychologists and his legacy is still alive in the form of types of intervention far from psychotherapeutic orthodoxy.
Phrases and thoughts of Fritz Perls
Gestalt therapy is a type of experiential therapy that is not considered so much as a simple psychotherapy, but as an authentic philosophy of life, which influences the way the individual perceives the relations with the world.
In this article we have collected the best sentences pronounced by Fritz Perls … Enjoy them!
1. Waiting for the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is the same as waiting for a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian
One must treat oneself well because it is the only thing one has under one’s control. One must not depend on others.
2. Dude, don’t be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a curse
Perfectionism is not good for our emotional health, because it makes us live with expectations that are too high. That can frustrate us.
3. It is very rare that people can talk and listen. Very few people listen without speaking
Most people talk without listening, because they are too busy thinking about what they are going to say.
4. Consciousness is subjective. We become aware of ourselves through our body and our emotions. We become aware of the world through the senses
Emotions give our world all the meaning. That’s why we must accept them as they are.
5. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who get upset don’t matter and those who matter won’t get upset
The emotional experience should not be ignored, because that is a breeding ground for emotional problems.
6. Every time you refuse to answer a question, you help the other person to use his or her own resources
A phrase from Fritz Perls that invites you to think about responsibility.
7. Things do not exist; each event is a process; the thing is merely a transitory form of an eternal process. Everything is in a flow
A quote that talks about how the world is what we perceive, what our mind interprets.
8. If one feels chased by an ogre and becomes the ogre, the nightmare disappears
Another reflection that invites the reader to think deeply.
9. Anxiety is the gap between “now” and “later”
When we have expectations that are irrational, we can experience distress.
10. Only one phenomenon can be in the foreground at a time
When anxiety manifests itself, it dominates our attention.
11. Anxiety is always the result of moving away from the now
When we think about the future and the past, anxiety can arise. That’s why we have to live in the present moment.
12. To try is to lie. Trying means you have no serious intention of doing it. If you really mean to do it, say, “I will,” and if not, say, “I won’t.” You have to speak clearly to think clearly and act clearly
When we overthink something, then we procrastinate.
13. A truly whole person has to have good orientation and also ability to act
Honesty and integrity are virtues that every human being should possess.
14. Be like you are, so that you can see who you are and how you are. Give up for a few moments what you have to do and find out what you really do
True health is found in one’s personal self-development.
15. Most modern men live in a “verbal trance”. They do not see or hear, and awakening takes a long time
On the way in which when we do not reflect, existential crises appear.
16. Fear of death means fear of life
To live in fear is not to live fully. In reality, it is not living at all.
17. Let the plan for you emerge within you
One’s personal development must come out of one’s own motivations.
18. I have only one goal: to impart a fraction of the meaning of the word now
Living in the moment is the way to get in touch with oneself.
19. The “how” of self deformation is the first step on the path to personal development. It can be the stiffness of a body member, a rapid heartbeat, or some discomfort, etc.
Self-reflection can be initiated after a crisis or triggering event.
20. The illness, the pretending to be sick that constitutes much of this going crazy, is nothing more than a search for environmental support. We are sick in bed: someone takes care of us, feeds us, gives us shelter, we do not have to go out to earn a living, it is total regression. But regression is not, as Freud thought, a purely pathological phenomenon. Regression means withdrawing into a position where one can provide one’s own support, where one feels safe
Gestalt therapy appeared as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis.
21. Learning is nothing more than discovering that something is possible. To teach is to show someone that something is possible
True learning happens when we put our mind to the test.
22. If you feel uncomfortable with someone you can be sure that there is no real communication. As soon as you genuinely express yourself, all discomfort disappears
Gestalt therapy emphasizes how communication between people can determine a dysfunctional relationship.
23. Being in the world with its ups and downs, alone or accompanied, is part of the same thing: existing in the here and now
Problems arise in life, but you have to learn to accept them.
24. By not experiencing needs and impulses, organismic self-regulation deteriorates, necessitating reliance on moralistic regulations
Emotional self-regulation is necessary to live in harmony with others without depending on moral codes that are not questioned.
25. If you feel convinced of something, say so. Expose the real you. Feel what you say
Another of Fritz Perls’ phrases about honesty. We should not be afraid of ourselves, nor of expressing what we are.
26. Everything flows when you find mental well-being
When we are well with ourselves, life flows and we are in a state of flow.
27. To be present now is to unite our attention and our consciousness
One of the principles of gestalt therapy is to be in the here and now.
28. At the same time that we address the patient’s awareness of how he or she experiences himself or herself, we fulfill the requirement of working in the present
Gestalt therapists are humanist-experiential types.
29. Happiness is a matter of realizing. Or are you getting Freudian by saying: I am unconsciously happy
Unlike psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy emphasizes awareness.
30. The organism knows everything. We know very little. Intuition is the intelligence of the organism
There are forms of knowledge that are expressed through intuition.
31. I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to meet your expectations and you are not in this world to meet mine. You are you and I am me and if by chance we meet, it is beautiful. If not, there’s nothing to do
Being dependent on someone is not good for a person’s development or emotional health.
32. Be as you are
True happiness occurs when someone meets himself.
33. Guilt is felt much more nobly than resentment, and much more courage is needed to express resentment than guilt. By expressing guilt you hope to pacify your opponent; with resentment you can arouse his hostility
A reflection on the relationship between guilt and resentment.
34. All emotions are expressed in the muscular system. You cannot visualize anger without muscle movement. You cannot visualize joy, which is more or less identical to dancing, without muscular movements. In grief there is sobbing and crying, and in sex there is also
Emotions have three components: physical, cognitive and behavioral.
35. If love and hate come together, then one is confused
The line between love and hate can seem fine in some cases.
36. If you have difficulty communicating with someone, look into resentments. You must find what you resent and express it and make your demands explicit
Emotions are present in our behaviors and our interpersonal relationships.
37. The therapist is constantly looking for ways to be in touch with the “how” of events occurring in the present. Attends to the patient’s flow of consciousness
Fritz Perls was always innovative in how he did therapy.
38. Every time they use the words “now” and “how” and realize this, then they grow. Every time they ask the question “why”, they decrease in height.
To grow, one must be aware and know oneself.
39. You cannot achieve happiness. Happiness happens and is a transitory stage
Happiness is in the way, in fighting for the goals.
40. Deliberate changes don’t work. Changes make themselves
A quote from Fritz Perls about change and the development of a person.
41. Our dependence makes us slaves to ourselves, especially if that dependence is on our self-esteem
Being dependent on someone or something has a big bearing on our self-esteem.
42. The goal of therapy is to ensure that the patient comes to know when he experiences himself, when he perceives his world and when he makes use of his intellect
Gestalt therapy aims to make the client aware of what is happening to him.
43. Abandon your mind and devote yourself to your senses
When we are more aware of expectations, we do not pay attention to our emotions and feelings.
44. It’s perfect if you let yourself be
Development is about finding yourself and finding the motivation to move forward.
45. The madman says, “I am Abraham Lincoln,” the neurotic, “I wish I were like Abraham Lincoln,” and the sane person, “I am me, and you are you.
Mental well-being is about finding yourself and being clear about who you are.
46. If you need everyone’s encouragement, praise and pats on the back, then you are making everyone your judge
One must find inner peace to be happy and not constantly seek the approval of others.
47. There are two big lies: “I want to” and “I try to”
You don’t have to think about doing something, but you have to take the initiative and do it.
48. The person… how does he/she feel his/her own continuous internal change?
Fritz Perls asks this question about how we feel we are developing.
49. I cannot perceive your conscience. I know only your observable behavior and what you are willing to share
Psychologists, as Fritz Perls understood them, are not fortune tellers, but have to interpret on the basis of what they can observe and what people manifest.
50. They will not find any animal – except the domestic animal, already infected by humanity – no plant that prevents its own growth
Human beings can be our own worst enemy.
51. Our life is basically nothing more than a series of unfinished situations, incomplete gestalts
There is no definitive closure for what we do.
52. Don’t push the river, it flows by itself
The present is a constant change.
53. The person who is most in control is the one who can give up that control
The pretense of dominating everything that happens in our lives only produces frustration.
54. A hundred plastic flowers cannot make the desert bloom
Anything that does not pass through the acceptance of the present is destined to fail.
55. To educate means to show someone that something is possible
An inspired reflection on the task of teachers and educators .
56.Emotions are not nuisances that should be discharged. Emotions are the most important motors of our behavior
The emotional side is totally integrated with our lives.
57.They feed his computer, his intellect. And intellect is the tip of intelligence. A hindrance in life
The accumulation of information can act as a distraction.
58. Nothing has meaning without its context. Meaning does not exist
Everything we interpret we do from a given situation.
59.The fact that we live only with such a low percentage of our potential is due to the fact that we are not willing to accept ourselves
Fritz Perls talks about human potential.
60. We do not allow ourselves, or are not allowed, to be entirely ourselves
Part of the process of self-acceptance is actually a conquest.
61. If one refuses to remember one’s dreams, one really refuses to face one’s existence
A reflection on the expectations that mark our life journey.
62. Change is an opportunity
In the flow of time there are spaces to detect improvements.
63. Everyone has the responsibility to orient his life towards what he wants
Fritz Perls had a conception of humanism that was individualistic in certain aspects.
64. There is no way to avoid the situation in which one must strive to accept the present
The processes of acceptance of the present cannot be avoided indefinitely.
65. Knowing what is blocking a life situation is everyone’s task
No one can judge for us what our situation is.
66. The past is only seen through our eyes sequestered by the present
There is no objective way to look at the past.
67. Much of what it means to improve our visas has to do with knowing how to prioritize
Avoiding fights in vain avoids frustration.
68. Loneliness is actually the place where one can connect with the feeling of belonging to the human
A paradox about loneliness.
69. Reencountering emotions and learning to embrace them is healing
You have to reconcile yourself with the emotional .
70. Distractions are also part of the life path
Throughout our lives the highs count too.
71. In the rest harmony returns
In the simplest situations it creates balance again.
72. There is a lot of potential in people, but knowing how to detect it also requires talent
A paradox about the undiscovered possibilities and what they require to be discovered.