In memoria

We are proud and humbled to honor our deceased AAGT members. If you would like us to add a colleague or loved AAGT member to this memorial, please email Mari at admin@aagt.org

Please include -a photograph – first and last name – dates of life – and a statement about the person and their contribution to Gestalt Therapy (approx. 250-500 words).

We understand 250 to 500 words is nowhere near enough to describe the impact these people have had on us and our community. In the spirit of cherishing, reflecting on, and sharing our beloved members of AAGT, we welcome your comments, memories, links, and so on. To view these, simply click the photo of the person. To contribute, please email Mari at admin@aagt.org

ALVIN REVELL

16 October 1932 – 10 May 2018

Alvin was a pioneer in community mental health, an esteemed educator who served Pennsylvania as Director of Equal Educational Opportunity in Higher Education, and a long-time therapist in private practice.

Many people who speak of him talk about his gregariousness, his capacity to “work the room,” and yet he listened in a way that conveyed that everything about you was of supreme importance to him. He loved his wife and children, and it showed. His delight with life was palpable. If you asked him how he was, he would say “Fantastic!!!” and was known to add that you should be careful because “it’s infectious.” And he loved the gestalt community and was loved by many members of that community in return.

(Elizabeth S. Revell)

BOB WITCHEL

10 June 1948 – 3 May 2017

Bob joined AAGT in May 2014 and died suddenly in May 2017. In those three short years he contributed hugely to AAGT. With his co-chair Daniel Bak, he fostered a revival in Interest Groups. He designed the printed programme of the Taormina joint conference, which had been considered impossible.

He expanded the role of Communications Officer, doing much to raise the profile of AAGT, steering more active promotion of AAGT, and bringing us into the 21st century with a Facebook page.

As a colleague Bob was lovely: warm, always prepared and informed, a generous and self-less enabler. I consider myself blessed to have had Bob as a fellow Board member.

He gave to AAGT unstintingly. We are grateful for who he was: for all of us. Thank you Bob.

(Toni Gilligan)

BUD FEDER

DOLORES BATE

30 Jul 1932 – 29 Nov 2015

Dolores Bate, died at age 83 in late 2015 in Victoria, Canada. She was a long-time member of the gestalt community, and a keen founding member of AAGT. She lived and worked in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where she established the Gestalt Institute of British Columbia and practiced there in her later years.

As a young woman, having originally worked in radio, Dolores moved to England, where she trained as a gestalt therapist with Ischa Bloomberg. She established a therapy practice in London, while bringing up three children.

She was much appreciated as an independent gestalt trainer for her openness to different approaches, her strong interests in the arts, her great sense of humour, and especially her linking of gestalt with spirituality.

She died expressing gratitude for the life she enjoyed.

(Malcolm Partlett)


EDWIN NEVIS

20 May 1926 – 20 May 2011

Edwin Nevis was an editor, publisher, institute leader, mentor, professor, and entrepreneur. But above all he was a teacher who aimed to foster learning by breaking down material into digestible chunks.

His contributions to the gestalt world are too many to list. He was a founding member and 11 year president of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and, along with his wife Sonia, created the Gestalt International Study Center. He co-founded Gestalt Review, two organizational consultant training programs and created and ran many conferences. He wrote and edited a number of books on organizational consulting and social change.

Throughout his life he was a fan of the working man, a fierce advocate for fairness and social justice, and always supported the underdog.

(Joe Melnick)


GILL CARADOC-DAVIES

4 September 1944 – 1 June 2017

Born Gillian Joubert in Northern Transvaal, South Africa, Gill studied medicine in Cape Town, after a year in the UK she returned to South Africa and a couple of years later emigrated to New Zealand. While living in Hastings UK, she studied gestalt therapy, back in New Zealand she trained as a psychiatrist. She qualified as a gestalt therapist in 1986 and in 1987 became a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, combining the holistic discipline of gestalt psychotherapy with Psychiatry.

Gill was a founder of the Gestalt Institute of NZ in 1990. She coached a small group of us as New Zealand trainers and was especially proud of her tutorials on the interface between psychiatry and psychotherapy. Gill headed the training programme from 1990 until her retirement in 2000. She was part of the original Editorial Board for the British Gestalt Journal, a role she held until her retirement.

I was privileged to know her as a generous teacher, colleague and friend.

(Brenda Levien)

GERT HARROW

8 September 1922 – 20 June 2016

Gert was a gem — smart, kind, loyal, warm, and funny – the “wise old woman” for many of us. Fleeing Vienna at 17 when the Nazi’s arrived, she and her family went to Dublin where she enrolled in Trinity College.

Eventually, she came to the USA and passed the Statue of Liberty. Holding hands, tears rolled down her face as she passed the Statue of Liberty once more on a boat ride during the NYC AAGT conference.

After finishing her PhD at University of Chicago, she came to Los Angeles with Hedda Bolgar (her mentor) and Alexander French to Cedars Hospital. A gestalt therapist since the late 1960’s, she was a revered trainer for GTILA and then for GATLA. Moreover, Gert was a treasured friend and support to many. Truly loved and missed.

(Bob Resnick)

JAN RAINWATER

11 September 1922 – 7 March 2016

What has always been notable to me about my relationship with Jan Rainwater was that she never seemed to have her “nose in the air” and “was a real down to earth” person. These qualities, along with a poster on her wall with the statement, “The world is full of possibilities that are limitless,” was a beacon and an encouragement for me to be more assertive and take more positive risks personally, and in my career as a therapist. I love her name, “Rainwater.” It has a musical and dancelike quality for me.

Jan was fierce and fearless, she was honest and creative, and she was a friend and a mentor to be treasured. Jan left an indelible mark on my life as well as on countless others’. She truly stands out, righteously as a champion of “goodness” and “continuous growth.” I am fortunate to have been “touched” by her in my life. Though her physical presence is no longer with us, her presence will always be.

(Nickie Godfrey)


JANET (JAN) RUCKERT

6 June 1926 – 24 February 2017

Jan Ruckert was a school psychologist in Southern California when she was invited to a training group with Jim Simkin and Fritz Perls because “they needed more women.” She became a trainer with the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles in the early 1970s, was President, and served on the Board for the rest of her life. Jan joined the faculty of Pacific Gestalt Institute through 2017. She trained with GATLA Summer Residential as well.

In addition to being a creative therapist and trainer, Jan was a published poet and painted watercolor at Venice Art Studios. Her paintings grace the office of therapists around the globe.

A home burglary initiated Jan’s love of Rottweilers. Taking Lorelei (her first) to her office led Jan to write The Four-Footed Therapist and Are You My Dog?

Jan was the first Co-Chair of AAGT’s Scholarship Committee. She had a charming way of getting people to do things they had no idea they could do. Jan is well missed.

(Liv Estrup)


JOEL LATNER

23 December 1940 – 4 August 2016

Joel Latner can be best described as a renegade Renaissance individual possessed of a variety of strong passions and appetites. His practice of gestalt therapy integrated his talents as a professional musician, gourmet cook, and political anarchist. Joel authored, The Gestalt Therapy Book, a classic resource for those in search of a clear and comprehensive understanding of the psychological and philosophical richness contained in the Perls, Hefferline and Goodman tome, Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality.

As a teacher, Joel emphasized the therapeutic importance of sensing the life and brightness of the figures that form in our work with those seeking our help.

While the life of Joel Latner is no longer with us, his brightness will continue to shine within the gestalt community.

(Jack Aylward)

KAREN HUMPHREY

25 September 1941 – 11 March 2017

Karen was a beloved friend, colleague, teacher and mentor to scores of gestalt therapists throughout her long career at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy.

Karen began studying gestalt therapy with Lore Perls at the Institute in the 1960s. She soon found a therapeutic, social and political home engaging in spirited dialogues with Paul Goodman and other early teachers as part of her learning.

As a Fellow of the Institute, Karen never ceased to teach, supervise, and write about her passion for gestalt therapy. She continuously supported the growth and changes of the Institute, and then AAGT, as they evolved, always providing a guiding hand with calm, wisdom and clarity.

(Lee Zevy)

KEN EVANS

3 February 1947 – 15 July 2015

Ken Evans FRSA, President of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy from 2002-2008, founded the EAGT Human Rights and Social Responsibility Committee. Honoured and delighted to learn he was to receive The Maslow Award for Outstanding Services to Psychotherapy, his planned acceptance lecture included “the need for a radical re-think of our relationship with nature and non-human species, not simply for survival but for the reintegration of the human spirit.”

Ken was a much loved, charismatic, inspirational teacher, writer and lecturer, latterly continuing his vibrant psychotherapy career alongside sheep farming in rural Normandy. His chosen epitaph was:

Live life fully,

Love Generously,

Become all that you can be.

Those who knew him would agree

His life was testament to this.

(Joanna Hewitt Evans)

MIRIAM POLSTER

07 June 1924 – 19 December 2001

Miriam Polster was a brightly spirited woman, whose very presence warmed the atmosphere among the people she was teaching. But there was more. In the quiet manner of her confident flow of language she got across her personalized understanding of principles that gestalt therapists live by. There was a minimum of jargon or textbook style; much like a person at a party, just engaged in ordinary conversation. She attracted many people from all over the world to the Gestalt Training Center-San Diego, where, together with her husband, Erving Polster she spelled out a Polster flavor that gave equal billing to human qualities as well as techniques.

She wrote Eve’s Daughters: the Forbidden Heroism of Women, which celebrates the female champions of everyday life as well as the more familiar context of daunting dangers.  She co-authored Gestalt Therapy Integrated, and From the Radical Center.

(Ervin Polster)

NIFONT DOLGOPOLOV

28 August 1953 – 22 January 2018

Director, Moscow Institute of Gestalt Therapy and Psychodrama —a man of many facets, talents and involvements. He was a wonderful husband, father, son, friend, gestalt therapist and trainer and a fierce fighter. Knowing and working with Nifont for over two decades, I have seen him refine and enlarge both his private and professional life – smart, ironic, creative, funny, stubborn and warm. Marrying Nadia Lubyanitskaya —a few years ago while battling a devastating cancer— they brought a new baby into the world, Lev (Lion) —now two years old and beautiful. Nifont’s creative gestalt therapy presentations began with the audience knowing little of what he was talking about – or where he was going. By the end, we knew and enjoyed what he was teaching —and everything connected. Nifont didn’t follow the grooves —he made them.

(Bob Resnick)

NORMAN SHUB

11 January 1949 – 2 January 2018

Norman made therapy into the Art of Love. The congruence between his teachings and what he used to do in life is part of what he left with us: his ability to be friend, teacher, partner, father, therapist and colleague. He always aimed for what he used to say, “Be a better person.” The “little Norman bird on the shoulder” was always there during hard times.

His legacy is vast and broad, complete and complex. His writings reflect his style–simple and profound; as he used to say, “The mission is repetition.”

On his last day of training, Norman said, “Gestalt is about learning to close, to let go…” While going away, he gave us a teaching, an experience and an experiment… a Gestaltist till the end!

His strength and wisdom will continue guiding our hearts.

He is the light in moments of darkness.

He taught how to love with love.

He is our guide, our teacher, our friend.

He is the light of growth, of love, of wisdom!

(Pablo Allen)

PEGGY CLEARY

4 September 1949– 19 January 2018

Peggy Cleary was the treasured chair of the GIT’s Board of Directors for many years. Sparkly and competent, Peggy’s open listening; clarity in communicating, her inclusiveness and her humour were appreciated by the faculty and the Board Members.

Peggy graduated from the G.I.T. training program in 2002, and integrated her gestalt into her consultancy practice in the corporate world. She was one of a small number of graduates who took gestalt into the corporate context in Toronto. Her work entertained and heightened awareness with lightness, humour and depth. Peggy lived a full life, generous, loving, awake and hard-working.

About five years ago, she began to experience symptoms of Multiple Systems Atrophy, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. In close connection with her devoted partner of many years, Keith MacDonald, she attended to the quickly arriving changes in her condition and lived this difficult time with great courage and humour, with great strength and love   Together they came into close connection with family, friends and co-workers until the end of her life.

SONIA MARCH NEVIS

10 July 1927 – 10 September 2017

Sonia led a full life as an exceptional gestalt therapist and teacher for over fifty years from Co-leading groups with Fritz Perls at Esalen, to creating the Center for Intimate Systems at the Cleveland Institute. In her later years, she co-founded with her husband, Edwin Nevis, the Gestalt International Studies Center in Cape Cod. Always interested in relationship and community, Sonia developed the Cape Cod Model and continued the Training Program for couples and family therapists worldwide.

Sonia was much loved and touched so many. I was privileged to know Sonia in her later years, experiencing her as a generous, insightful, wise and supportive friend. She was a key figure in the “Eaters and Writers” gatherings to support gestalt writers. Sonia connected deeply to her family, friends, and mentees dedicating her life to helping others make a difference.

For Sonia remembrances-See GISC link to her memorial service and Gestalt Review, 2018 Vol.22, no. 1.

(Iris Fodor)

Sylvia Fleming Crocker

1933 – 2019

We are proud and humbled to honor our deceased AAGT members. If you would like us to add a colleague or loved AAGT member to this memorial, please email Mari at admin@aagt.org

Please include -a photograph – first and last name – dates of life – and a statement about the person and their contribution to Gestalt Therapy (approx. 250-500 words).