Sylvia Fleming Crocker
1933 – 2019
Sylvia Fleming Crocker, whose creative thinking offered us a bold conceptualization of Gestalt therapy grounded in philosophical thought with prosaic nuances of its clinical applications. She was an avid reader, articulate debater, respected author, faithful Christian and a decent golfer who enjoyed classical and contemporary music, world-wide traveling, a good joke and drink now and then, stitching needlepoint while telling heart-warming stories from her life as a Gestalt therapist.
In the early 1980’s, Sylvia changed her career focus from professing philosophy to becoming a licensed counselor followed by training in Gestalt therapy with Miriam and Erving Polster who became life-long, esteemed friends. In the years that followed she trained with the GATLA faculty in their European summer programs. She supplemented her Gestalt training with psychodrama, which culminated in her developing an innovative, reflective, enactment-oriented Gestalt-psychodrama approach to dream therapy. Dreams, creativity and experiments were Sylvia’s passion. She established private practices in Laramie, Cheyenne and Rawlins, Wyoming and was well known throughout the state for 30 years, often sought as a presenter and workshop trainer for the Wyoming Counseling Association conferences.
Sylvia was one of the founders of AAGT where she chaired the Gestalt Theory Development Interest Group and served on the Board of Directors for 8 years. Her presentations and workshops at AAGT, EAGT and Gestalt therapy conferences in the America’s, Europe, Australia and the Orient were consistently filled to capacity. Her active involvement in the Gestalt Writers’ Collective culminated in authoring her classic book, A Well-Lived Life: Essays in Gestalt Therapy (1999). She was a prolific writer whose articles regularly appeared in all Gestalt journals.
Sylvia life was enriched by and with philosophy. Her thinking was greatly influenced by the learned path she followed to acquire in-depth knowledge of Aristotle, Plato, Kierkegaard, Kant and Whitehead. Existential philosophy permeated her thinking, her writings and her clinical work. She was committed to emphasizing the phenomenology of Gestalt therapy and was working on a book on the topic at her death. She was enamored with understanding, describing and clinically applying the nature of the phenomenological method with particular interest in Husserl’s method.