• To educate and train qualified students in the Gestalt theory and method of psychotherapy, based on the pioneering work of Frederick Perls, M.D. and Laura Perls, Ph.D.  The contemporary gestalt therapy that we teach is also based on others who trained with them, expanded upon their teachings and revised their methods, including Marilyn Rosanes-Berrett, Ph.D., the founder of our institute.
  • To educate and train qualified students in gestalt psychoanalysis in a program leading to a NY State license in psychoanalysis.
  • To provide training that reflects our Gestalt philosophy and method in that it be holistic, humanistic, experiential and transformative, and that it encourage and support ethnic, racial and life-style diversity.
  • To provide psychotherapy services to the New York City community through our Treatment Center, including low-cost therapy to those who could not otherwise afford treatment.
  • To contribute to the ongoing development of Gestalt theory and practice by interacting with the global Gestalt community.
  • To create an authentic, supportive, and socially aware community among faculty, students and alumni of our institute.
Foreground:  Our founder, Marilyn Rosanes-Berrett

Background:  Fritz Perls, father of Gestalt therapy


THE GESTALT CENTER FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY AND TRAINING was founded in 1967 by Dr. Marilyn B. Rosanes-Berrett to carry on and expand the teachings of her friend and mentor, Dr. Frederick (Fritz) Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy.

Ten years later the Center became the first NY State chartered non-profit institution to offer therapeutic services and training totally within a Gestalt framework, and with authority to grant Certificates of Completion to licensed professionals. 

Over the years, the Gestalt theory and therapy taught at the Center has evolved into a widely effective and applicable model for use in agencies and private practice. 


Gestalt therapy is an interactive and holistic form of psychotherapy that focuses on the total person, recognizing the unity of the mind, body and emotions. An integrated body of theory and practice having its roots in psychoanalysis, it originated in the 1940's when Drs. Frederick (Fritz) and Laura Perls, both classically trained psychoanalysts, became aware of the limitations of Freud's verbal, intellectual methods based on free association. They began to develop methods based on Gestalt Psychology, in which they expanded psychoanalysis to include a more holistic form of free association that covers all sense modalities, including emotions and body-awareness that cannot easily be put into words. They also modified Freud's method of encouraging projections by sitting behind the patient, realizing that the subtle avoidances of contact that patients engage in spontaneously and habitually are more significant than those produced in an artificial situation -- a view now accepted by many schools of psychoanalysis.

As it exists today, Gestalt therapy draws on humanistic psychology, existentialism and Eastern thought in addition to its psychoanalytic roots. A creative and patient approach that is non-authoritarian and non-interpretive, Gestalt therapy focuses on the client's here and now experience. Through skillful use of a variety of experiential methods, our therapy helps us to free energy locked in old, dysfuntional behavior patterns and re-organize ourselves in a way that allows us to live more fully and effectively, centered in ourselves, yet able to reach out and take in what the world has to offer.