这里说一些我个人与这一流派相交的经历，也许有助于读者阅读本文。这得从我对格式塔疗法的兴趣谈起。在我上的大学的一个心理咨询课中，我选择了格式塔做我的焦点。我没有选择学院里最占统治地位的认知行为治疗（尽管后来这成了我早期训练中相当主要的一个部分），实在因为对于这大学四年不断的Cognitive over emotion即思想统治一切get enough，就是说烦了。我在想，如果让一个受中国传统教育的知识分子来到这悉尼的大学里学心理学，他一定会大惊失色：“这是在研究人吗？这是在研究 it 啊！”当然这后半句他一定说不出来，那是我明白了西方语言后说出来的。：）
他的惊异是：西方人之分化，将认知从体验整体中分化出来，将研究和实践分化开，将心理学和它的前身的人文学科之分化出来，已达到如此一个登峰造极的程度。这在悉尼的大学心理学系中可以窥一豹而见“现代性”的全身。你无法不叹其精深，但在那时候，我反正是烦了。我被格式塔创始者 Perls 深深吸引的是他的重视“现在和此地”当下整个体验的精神，还有他对精神分析的智力倾向的反叛。Perls 对这种智力倾向的批评在某些方面极为精彩：
Phil: Well, that brings up something. When I've run across your writing,
your work, I keep encountering the term "experiential," and then
sometimes you call it "experiential-process," and I've been curious at
times, really trying to understand Gestalt, I've given myself with a
passion to understanding that, and I come to your work and I say, "Hm.
Is he just using another word for Gestalt, or how does he conceive of
Gestalt. What is this?"
Leslie: It might help me to understand if you can just tell me a
little bit of your background in Gestalt, and then I'll be able to
Phil: Okay. Going way back, during the time you were moving into the
Toronto area, I was in the San Francisco bay area, and I was in the
Navy, working on the psych wards at Oakland Naval Hospital. I was
exposed to Gestalt - they used Gestalt and transactional analysis on the
units there - through some people who were doing training with Fritz
Perls and Jim Simkin down at Esalen, who would bring back what they were
learning and use it on the unit. I was young, and the impact was fairly
significant. After the service, I went on to do other things; I was in
the ministry but always had this experiential, existential flavor to
everything that I did. Several years ago I got out of the ministry and
enrolled in a Psy.D. program. I also started training in Gestalt with
Maya Brand and Carol Swanson. Along with their training, they would
bring in trainers from outside, mostly from Los Angeles, so I've been
exposed to Todd Burley, Bob and Rita Resnick, Jan Ruckert, Lynn Jacobs,
and in the process got involved with AAGT. I went to the conference in
New Orleans, met Iris Fodor...
Brand和Carol Swanson的完形培训。他们的培训经常外请一些培训者，主要从洛杉矶，所以我也接触过Todd Burley,
Bob和Rita Resnick, Jan Ruckert, Lynn
Leslie: Did we meet?
Phil: We met. We met at her workshop. As far as the theory goes, I
have latched onto Bob Resnick's summary of it where he did that
interview with Malcolm Parlett...The three main components are field,
dialogue, and phenomenology.
Phil: 见过的。在她的工作坊见过。不管理论怎么发展，我还是牢记Bob Resnick会见Malcolm
Leslie: So, you had asked me what is this experiential label. And let
me give you a sort of anecdotal answer. I went recently to this Gestalt
writers' conference, and basically I put the following question to them,
"Given that both Client-Centered and Gestalt therapy (and the humanistic
therapies in general) have died in academia - I'm trying to revive them
under the global title of experiential - and given that psychodynamic
has many different sub-schools within it, how would people at this
conference feel about being one of the schools under a broader label of
experiential?" We had a discussion of that. I had a chapter I'd written,
and at the time it was called "Experiential Psychotherapy: The Essence
of Client-Centered, Gestalt, and Existential Approaches." In the
discussion, people influenced me to call it "Experience-Centered
Therapies: Gestalt, Client-Centered, and Existential."
Laura Rice introduced me to Gestalt psychotherapy theoretically. And I
often joke that I'm one of the few people who probably learned about
Gestalt therapy theoretically first. I read Perls, Hefferlein, and
Goodman in a theories class, and I thought this was really interesting.
I read Perls, and then I tried to seek out Gestalt trainers. So I really
was introduced to it through books.
Then I found out there was a person in town by the name of Harvey
Freedman, who was a psychiatrist, and he was running Gestalt therapy
groups. I joined with Harvey Freedman; he worked in the Toronto General
Hospital, and he ran groups, and I went into these groups for two or
I was also in encounter groups at York University where people were
coming up from Berkeley and doing things like that. I was training
meanwhile as a counseling psychologist, seeing my own clients and so on.
Then Harvey Freedman was picked by Perls to run the Gestalt Institute
of Canada on Vancouver Island. Harvey was getting ready to uproot here
and go out there, and then Fritz died. The fallout of that was that
Harvey Freedman started the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. He stayed
there, and then I was part of the first group, the first-year training
group, and I trained here for three years in a formalized training
program. Different people came in: Laura Perls was one of the people,
and a variety of others. So, I was exposed to a West Coast style of
Gestalt Therapy, and I got my training there, but I always felt that
they lacked a theory of relationship or any kind of view of empathy and
therapeutic relationship. Meanwhile, I was getting a lot of that at my
university training from a Rogerian perspective, and I remember like a
critical thing at one point saying to Harvey, "You know you don't take
the relationship and group process into account," and he said, "Show me
where the relationship or group is." It was sort of a radical,
phenomenological view, which was very "I" centered, and not "We"
centered in any way. And so I always had this sort of theoretical
divergence; I mean I was still very young, and it was all mixed up in my
still trying to be recognized, but I always had this view that somehow
this was a weakness in the practice of Gestalt therapy, and although the
"I-Thou" relationship was said to be one of the legs, it wasn't really
used or practiced in very strong terms. So I always saw it as a strong
theoretical problem. Then I went to Vancouver eventually, because I got
an academic job, otherwise I would have stayed here with the Gestalt
Institute of Toronto.
I was always unhappy with the Perlsianism aspect of Gestalt therapy.
Phil: Which is what to you?
Leslie: Well, I saw it as pathological notions of radical
independence. And I was always much more, although it wasn't articulated
at that time, interested in a model of relational interdependence.
Phil: A sort of systems thing?
Leslie: Well, no. I guess it's a difference between self-sufficiency
and self-support. I saw a lot of people in Gestalt as trying to be or
believing in self-sufficiency.
Phil: Sort of independent?
Leslie: Right, the radical independence. Which is exemplified in the
Gestalt prayer. And I believe that we need other people, and that that's
actually an important part of being human, and that interdependence, as
opposed to independence or dependence, is very important. My connections
are a part of who I am and are important in understanding who I am; I
can't understand myself without understanding my connections. And I
believe that's very much what Buber was saying.
Phil: Would this be compatible with the idea of a constantly forming
Leslie: Yes, absolutely, but so could a radical independence view be
a constantly forming self.
Leslie: That could be totally self-forming, self-organizing. And part
of my view is that we need field support in order to constantly
organize. And that what we are organizing is always a synthesis of inner
and outer. The self that I'm organizing at the moment is a function of
the field. So it's highly compatible with the modern interpretations of
Goodman, with Wheeler's and subsequent sort of interpretation, or
clarification of Goodman - that the self is forming at the boundary as a
function of the field.
Phil: You're talking about Gestalt Reconsidered? Leslie: Yes. And his subsequent pages on shame. These are some of the
reasons why I was moving toward the label of experiential.
Phil: Yes. It seems that you're saying there was a lot in Gestalt
that was tied up in this radical independence, associated with the
Perls' mystique, and also that didn't get at some of the things you were
seeing in the Rogerian empathic attunement - the relationship. I find it
interesting when you say that you didn't find the relationship in
Gestalt as compared to Rogers, because for me, coming to Gestalt in the
midst of a program which is highly cognitive, and also listening to Iris
talk (it was the relationship which was the aspect of Gestalt which was
attractive to her), I have found relational things in Gestalt through
Leslie: Yes, but you see that dialogical has only formed in the last
decade. So you see, that's my point, that now, in the last decade,
Gestalt has really moved into its dialogical phase.
Phil: Would you say that that's been because there's been such
cross-fertilization with Rogers?
Leslie: No. I think it's been because of cross-fertilization with
Kohut and Stolorow. Lynn Jacobs has been very important, and Gary
Yontef. And then, the influence of Kohut. I mean, the Gestalt therapists
started reading Kohut in the '80s, and started picking up the notion
of...I mean empathy was a dirty word to Fritz, and when I talked about
empathy in the 70's in Gestalt it was regarded as bullshit. And so the
modern Gestalt therapy is dialogical, but the Gestalt therapy that I
grew up in was not.
Leslie: 不。我认为是由于Kohut 和Stolorow的影响。Lynn Jacobs和Gary
Phil: Well, that's helpful for me to know, but you're saying that
Kohut is the link?
Leslie: Yes, and Stolorow also, because he's in L.A. I think
Stolorow's had a strong influence on Lynn Jacobs. You see I met Lynn in
the 80's and this was like a soul mate in Gestalt therapy, and I had
read her dissertation. And with this I agreed, but this had not been put
out as Gestalt therapy in the way that I had been trained in it, or
learned it, or been exposed to it. I went out to Cooper Island after
Fritz had died, and somebody was running that, and it was very sort of
radical independence. We arrived by ferry on this island and stood
around for an hour, and there was a truck off to the side and there was
somebody sitting in the truck, and eventually, after an hour, we went up
to this person and said, "Can you tell us the way to the Gestalt
Institute?" And he was there to pick us up!
Leslie: He'd been waiting for us to ask him. Now, that was radical
Phil: Well, that certainly gets the idea across.
Leslie: Yes. So, process-experiential is an attempt to integrate
these different approaches.
Phil: Well, that clarifies the term "experiential," and you seemed to
be talking at the Gestalt writer's conference about that, but what would
you say is Gestalt? What is specifically Gestalt, today?
Leslie: Firstly, I'm disconnected now from the institute circuit, and
I've just been doing my thing in academia, but I would see that
Gestalt's field theory is an important meta-theoretical principle that
defines it. And I actually see active experimentation and dialogue as
the two components that make it Gestalt therapy. Client-Centered is
lacking the active experimentation, having only empathy. And I'm trying
to integrate the two, so I see Gestalt as having now both a dialogical
and an experimental component and that's what makes it unique. I think
its view of people working at the boundary to solve problems and satisfy
needs is a unique perspective on human functioning.
Phil: I'm curious. I don't hear you bringing in the phenomenological,
which to me is constructivist, a making meaning out of one's experience.
Leslie: Yes, but that's because I see that as baseline. I see that as
common to Client-Centered and to Gestalt. It's clearly a
phenomenological therapy, but there are other phenomenological
therapies. I think phenomenology is at its core. That's the experience,
but what makes Gestalt different and unique from the other experiential
therapies is the use of active experimentation, plus dialogue, and it's
view of people at the boundary solving problems.
Phil: Hm. We talked a little of this previously, but one of the
criticisms I hear of Gestalt is that it doesn't have a developmental
theory, a theory of self. Do you see that as a viable criticism?
Leslie: I am not impressed with the criticism that it doesn't have a
developmental theory.. I mean, it doesn't, but I don't think
psychotherapies really can adequately have developmental theories; I
think they should be theories of functioning and theories of practice,
not theories of development. I think that's a paper game.
Leslie: I think there's a whole discipline of developmental
psychology, whose business it is to study development, and we can use
that to inform psychotherapy, but because psychoanalysts happened to
invent developmental things from listening to people I don't think
that's a necessity. Clearly, that's a common criticism of Gestalt, but I
don't think people sitting around doing psychotherapy can make
developmental theories that are worth anything. Now, this issue of a
self I think is different. I think having a more adequate self theory is
Phil: In what way?
Leslie: Well, I think what Rogers did, that Perls never did, was
Rogers' attempt to be a systematic theorizer, and that made the theory
open to both testing and refutation. I think Gestalt never had a
systematic theory, and that's one of its problems. I think trying to
develop systematic theory leads to potential advances, even if only in
the refutation of the theory. So I think having a more explicit theory,
rather than an intuitive theory, is very important.
Leslie: Well, I teach at York University in Toronto, and I'm
developing a sort of integrative, what I feel is an integrative package
of Gestalt and Client-Centered therapy, and I see the two as merging
more and more. I see a growing interest in empathy in Gestalt therapy,
and in part of what's Client-Centered therapy there is an experiential
therapy which I feel is quite similar to Gestalt, so I've trained in
both approaches. I've always had some sort of view that they're quite
compatible. I'm currently working on that - an attempt to empirically
validate the experiential therapies so that they become legitimate again
in academic circles. I've recently completed a study of Gestalt and
Client-Centered combination on a depressed population, a clinically
depressed population, and demonstrated that these processes are as
effective as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy.
Phil: Do you find other people picking up this line of interest and
also pursuing the empirical validation of the experiential approach?
Leslie: No, but I'm trying to generate a group of people doing it.
I'm working with someone at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Robert
Elliott, and he's doing this as well. Then I have a colleague who's an
ex-student, Sandra Pavio, and prior to doing the depression study, I had
done another study funded by the Canadian Social Science Council on the
treatment of unfinished business. We actually advertised for treatment
of unfinished business, and in it we got a number of people who had been
abused, and Sandra Paivio now is carrying out an empirically-based
treatment of what she calls "childhood maltreatment," and she's
attempting to replicate our unfinished business study findings. The
predominant emphasis is on unfinished business, empty-chair dialogue,
within an empathic, relational context.
Clearly, my form of Gestalt has emphasized the actual experimental,
the use of Gestalt experimentation, and the standard, what I came to
define as two-chair and empty-chair dialogues, because these are easily
empirically studied. So, I've come to emphasize those although my own
practice extends beyond that, but in terms of empirical work I've
focused on these processes.
Phil: What got you going in the study of psychology and
Leslie: Well, it's important to know that I'm an engineer first, and I
have a master's degree in engineering. I'm also sort of a political
refugee from South Africa.
Leslie: I came in 1968 to Canada, and I came and did a master's
degree in engineering, but I came to Canada as kind of an aside, because
a professor of mine came to a Canadian university, and so I followed
him, to come here for a year, and I intended to go to England or to the
States, but I was very politically involved in South Africa in fighting
against the government in student politics, which was anti-government
politics. I was searching for a way out of engineering; I was much more
involved in political things. Then I came here, and it was the middle of
the sixties, and I was quite involved in that whole experience, and the
sort of drug experience, and my wife was in psychology. She had an
undergraduate psychology degree, and she was working as a psychometrist.
Phil: Did you meet her in Canada?
Leslie: No. We came married. I got married when I was twenty-two in
South Africa. Both of us were sort of involved in political issues
there, and then we came here. Basically, as an engineer I had read a lot
of existential philosophies; I read Sartre, Camus and so on, and was
very involved in those kinds of things. I had a number of friends who
were all jazz musicians; I didn't actually play an instrument, and we
would tape record these sessions, and write poetry and paint and do all
kinds of crazy things. But I was an engineer and these two things were
not exactly highly compatible.
Phil: (laughing) No.
Leslie: But I came from a family which had a lot of external
stresses. My father had a lot of financial problems, and so I identified
as quite an outsider. My father went bankrupt, and the family went
through a lot of crisis in that way. But internally my family was
relatively functional, or supportive of me anyhow. I was the
high-functioning child, but I was very rebellious as a child.
Phil: How many kids in your family?
Leslie: I had a sister three years older than me. So I was the baby,
and I was a very spoiled child as well. And I had a Jewish mother - very
food centered, and I've always been overweight. Food was medium of lots
of things, but generally, emotional climate was relatively good.
Phil: So, you came to Canada, and was it your wife's involvement in
psychology? I mean, where was the switch?
Leslie: It was really the loss of the political cause in South
Africa. I was searching for something more relevant. We identified with
the American situation as soon as we came here, and there were a lot of
American draft dodgers, and we could sort of identify a lot more with
the political strife going on in the States around Viet Nam - the
counter-cultural revolution. The problem was that I did very well in
school in engineering, in mathematics, and physics and so on, and so I
was always being lead by my achievements, but those were in conflict
with my interests. I'd had this crisis earlier in South Africa, in that
I didn't really like engineering but I threw myself into politics and I
was quite active in student leadership and working with people, so
finally when I came here, having now left behind my family and the
social context, I felt more free to just break out and do whatever I
wanted. My wife was doing psychology and then I met a number of people
who were students in psychology, and I just got to learn more about it.
In South Africa becoming a psychologist, in my eyes anyhow, wasn't
really a viable thing to do. It wasn't a profession or anything like
that. When I came here, it looked more viable. And I hadn't ever wanted
to be a medical doctor, but that was the thing. All the jazz musician
friends of mine ended up as psychiatrists; they all got MD's, and they
dropped out of medical school and they came back, and they ended up as
psychiatrists. One is now in London and one is in Australia. But I never
wanted to do medicine, so when I came here, psychology seemed viable;
everyone was wanting to do psychology and so I made the shift there,
sort of influenced by exposure to what my wife was doing, our friends...
It's a very interesting story. I had decided to drop out and go to
India for a year, and my wife, we were both going to go. That was sort
of a done thing then, with the Beatles, I think.
Phil: Right, right. Was that the connection, the reason to go to
Leslie: Well, it was just sort of one of the things that people were
doing at that time. It was sort of seeking the spiritual, I think; I
don't know if the Beatles had gone yet, it wasn't a specific thing, but
that was one of the things to do.
So, it was in August and a friend of mine, a colleague of mine said
he was coming up to York University in Toronto. I was outside of Toronto
at another engineering university, and he was coming up to York to use
the computer. I had heard that there was a woman here, whose name was
Laura Rice, and that she was a student of Carl Rogers. And she believed
that curiosity was important, and that people in therapy were motivated
by curiosity to explore themselves. I don't know if you know this, but a
lot of behaviorists had come from South Africa, people like Lazarus and
Wolpe and a lot of behavioral therapists, and so the University of South
Africa where my wife trained was highly behavioral, and I had read a
fair bit on my own, and I thought behaviorism was silly, and...
Leslie: ...and psychoanalysis was sort of much too dark, and sort of
pathological in its view, and it didn't appeal to me, the whole
unconscious motivation perspective, and it seemed all so dark, so I was
reading existentialism and I believed in choice and awareness, so I went
to talk with this woman here at York University who all I knew about was
that she thought curiosity was important.
Now my going to India was based on the fact that also from an English
educational system I thought I 'd have to start all over again - start a
BA in year one. I was just completing my masters, and I said I would
drop out and come back and re-enter and study psychology; I'd sort of
gotten that far. I'd called up a university and they said I'd have to do
X number of years and so on to get a psychology degree.
So I came and I knocked on this woman's door, and it was about the
15th of August, and twenty days later I was enrolled in the graduate
program at York University.
Phil: What did she do?
Leslie: Well, actually that was a bit of an exaggeration; I was
enrolled in a make-up year for a graduate program and subject to my
completing the make-up year I'd go straight into a Ph.D. cuzz I already
had a master's. And it was really interesting, because it was a new
school that had just started and it was very open and they had a number
of professors who had come from Berkeley and a number from the
University of Chicago, where Laura Rice had come from. There was a model
from some other university, I think it was the University of Illinois,
which was actually a very hard-nosed psychology department then; they
took people in with masters' from the hard sciences. Somehow there was a
combination of factors; the director of graduate studies had come from
Illinois, and there were a number of these more radical professors, and
they thought, "Oh well," and if I wanted to go into psychology, that
would be acceptable. It was driven by the fact that I had very good
grades and a very good academic record and so on. So, totally
serendipitously, I mean by following the regular channels they had told
me that I'd have to do a number of make-up years, and I'd decided that
I'd drop out, and I just went and knocked on this woman's door. And
somehow within ten days my life was changed.
Phil: Well, two things intrigued me. One is that you must have gone
through a really big decision-making process to conceive of having to
start all over again, but to be willing to do that...
Phil: ...and then on the other hand this thing about choice and
actually meeting and talking with Laura - I'm intrigued by what happened
in that interaction with her; it seems rather magical.
Leslie: Yes, yes. Well, she told me later she was trying to figure
out if I was one of these flaky engineers that had been smoking a lot of
Leslie: ...or whether I was substantially intellectual. I had strong
mathematical skills, and she was a psychotherapy process researcher. She
had worked with Rogers, who had developed process research, and she had
developed a vocal quality scale, where you could actually listen to
people's voices, both client and therapist, and she was trying to track
the moment-by-moment influence of people's vocal quality or particular
kinds of therapist actions on client vocal quality, and a few other
variables. What you need in there is to track something in a statistical
manner, moment by moment, which was called stochastic processes. Sort
of, what's the probability if I do this, that you will, in the next
moment, do that? That kind of thing. I had a strong mathematical
background, and she saw the possibility of me working on that. She had
just come up to York University from the University of Chicago, and she
was a new professor starting the counseling and development program, and
I went in saying, "I really like working with people, and I think I'm
good with people. I don't really know much about sick people, so I don't
want to go into clinical...counseling sounds right." It was because I
had a very strong academic record, and they decided that they would take
me. You know, that was the interaction, the combination that I fit into
a vision that she had of something that she wanted to do.
Phil: So, it was the sense that you had an opportunity, that there
was a place for you there, that there was an open door.
Leslie: Right. And so I just grabbed it, ya know. And it was amazing,
because one of the things I say in retrospect, if I'd gone to the
majority of other schools in North America at the time, I would have
probably not flourished or I'd have found it incompatible. You know, all
I knew was that she thought curiosity was important. Many schools were
still behavioral or analytic and I wouldn't have fit into either of
those, but I found a place that was highly humanisticly oriented, and
she was highly humanisticly oriented.
Phil: I notice you're still there.
Leslie: Yes; I left for twelve years, and I taught at UBC, in
Vancouver. And then I came back, and in some ways I actually took her
position after she retired.
Phil: And would you characterize the program in which you teach now
as continuing those humanistic, experiential lines?
Leslie: I'm instrumental now in defining it as integrative. But
that's because we believe it's important that students get an exposure
to psychodynamic and cognitive. But the core of the program is still
humanistic. It's not called that; it's difficult to survive in academia
now as a humanist.