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Who Was Fritz Perls

Who Was Fritz Perls

No discussion on Humanistic Psychotherapy would be complete without discussing Fritz Perls. Perls was a German Jew, born on 8th July 1893 in Berlin. His mother and sister adored him, but he had a very bad relationship with his father, who bullied and ridiculed him when he was there; but mostly he was not.

He was a very bright boy, but went “off the rails” in his teens and was expelled from school for not working and playing truant. He enrolled at another school, which was much more liberal and progressive, and liked it much better, settled down, worked hard and came out top of the year at the equivalent of our ‘A’ levels.

Fritz  was  very  interested in the theatre and acting, and by his mid-teens was being given small parts at the Royal Theatre in Berlin.  It was at this stage, learning to act, that the young Fritz became well-versed in body language and, in later years, a genius at reading people’s non-verbal body expressions.

Perls attended Berlin University in order to study medicine, but, during 1916 and 1917, he spent months in the trenches as a medical officer. When the war ended in 1918 he returned to his studies, finally qualifying in 1920 as a doctor.

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