Contributed by Ansel Woldt
Written by Jack Awlward
Posted on 14 April 2020
I first met Bud Feder in 1980 at a “massage workshop for couples” that I was offering at the Plainfield Consultation Center in New Jersey, the home of one of the “growth centers” of those times as well as my private practice. At the end of the weekend, Bud’s date came over to me and said: “I think you and Bud would work well together as group therapists.” That was all she said, and yet using enough insight to last the two of us for the next thirty-eight years. Our work together expanded into a variety of formats, as did the deep and wonderful friendship we shared.
Bud had two professional loves: The New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy and The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy. As a member of the former, he remained active in many roles and responsibilities. As for AAGT, his passion was the Scholarship Fund. For many years we ran a pre-conference group experience, the fees for which were donated to that fund. His overall work on that committee reaped a total of over $100,000 over those years.
Both personally and professionally he loved what gestalt therapy had to offer. He gave to others both lovingly and generously, yet demonstrated the tenacity of a pit bull when feeling the need to protect the gestalt approach he so dearly loved. In many ways he fit Paul Goodman’s model of anarchism, most evidently seen in Bud’s consistent reliance on self-regulative autonomy with his clients, rather than on external authoritarian principles.
At the time of his death in 2018, his top fee for therapy was around sixty-five dollars per session. If you lost your job or insurance, he would make other arrangements or just let things continue as they were. The combination of his generous heart and clinical skill formed a unique gestalt in and of itself – one that touched many and provided me with all I could ever ask for as a therapist or as a human being.