Gestalt Institute of San Francisco History

The institute was first suggested by Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, during workshops at the Esalen Institute in the late 1960s. Cyndy Sheldon, alongside Fritz Perls as an honorary member, was the original force establishing the institute in 1967. By the mid-1990s, the original members of the Gestalt Institute of San Francisco were no longer able to sustain a training program and activities began to wane, and in 1995, the original institute closed its doors.

In 1996, the Gestalt Institute of San Francisco experienced a revival under the leadership of Morgan Goodlander, who was a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of New Orleans. Over the next 25 years, Morgan expanded its program internationally to 15 countries, primarily in Europe and Asia. This expansion also included internationally recognized leaders such as:

Abe Levistky (original founding member),
Anne Teachworth (Gestalt Institute of New Orleans),
Joseph Zinker (Gestalt Institute of Cleveland),
Bud Feder (Gestalt Institute of New York),
Masa Momotake (Gestalt Network Japan)
Serge Ginger (Gestalt School of Paris (EPG),
Bernard Elyn (Gestalt School of Paris (EPG),
Astrid Dusendschon (Gestalt School of Paris (EPG),
John Soper (Esalen Institute),
Christine Price (Tribal Ground & Esalen Institute),
Dorthy Charles (Tribal Ground & Esalen Institute)
Ronald Alexander (Open Mind Institute)
Susan Campbell (Getting Real book)
and numerous other trainers.

In 2000, at the invitation of John Soper, Morgan brought the training program to Esalen Institute as an in-house training for Esalen Institute students & staff and then also expanded it with John Soper to Centro d'Ompio in northern Italy.

In 2023, for those seeking a more current framework, the GISF has been coupled with the GET INSTITUTE for the Study of Experience Organization, where key components of the traditional Gestalt therapy approach have been expanded and revisioned to take on a new more modern form embracing the entire spectrum of the human experience beyond therapy and the limitations of clinical thinking. Nonetheless, all Gestalt Institute of San Francisco programs are presented separately, remain dedicated to Fritz Perls' original thinking, and are fully aligned with the body of historical literature that defines the Gestalt approach.