Reviews of

Hans-Jürgen Walter

Gestalttheorie und Psychotherapie

(Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. 3rd edition: 1994. ISBN 3-531-12621-0)

Ernst Beyer in Contemporary Psychology:

The author attempts to develop a theoretical foundation for the practice of psychotherapy based on Gestalt theory. One half of the book is devoted to updating Gestalt theory and interpreting Gestalt theory as a personality theory that allows for therapeutic intervention, and the other half to a broad application of the theory to (Gestalt) psychotherapy as a way of enhancing creativity and freedom. It also includes a discussion on supervision and training of the therapist in Gestalt theoretical terms. There are some 300 references including more definite discussion of Piaget, Lewin, Rogers, and Kelly. The book is broad in approach and thoroughly documented. It makes for difficult reading, but is most worthwhile reading for the scholar interested in 'Gestalt' applications.

The German Journal of Psychology:

The Gestalt theory of the 'Berliner Schule' (KÖHLER, KOFFKA, WERTHEIMER, LEWIN) is a theoretical and empirical foundation for the approach to psychotherapy presented in this book. The author attempts to show that Gestalt theory is an appropriate framework which integrates the methods and merits of many other psychotherapeutic schools. Part I describes Gestalt theory, while Part II discusses the nature of a Gestalt theory of human personality and presents a 3-level- model of personality in which the middle level is a 'life space' construct which helps to explain how the 'tendency toward the good Gestalt' (the 1st level) is manifested on a concrete level (3rd level) 'Gestalt factors'. Part III uses the constructs and empirical facts presented to formulate a Gestalt theory of psychotherapy which sees such therapy as an opportunity for creative freedom.

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Most recent revision: 21.02.2004