Books A New Idiosyncratic Introduction (January 2003).

By  John Bernard Harris.

I’ve written this booklet for anyone whose interested in Gestalt, and wants to find  out more about it. It offers a very readable introduction to the basic ideas of Gestalt  therapy, and is our best seller! Click Online Articles for extract.

Gestalt: Working with Groups (2nd revised edition 1992).

By Peter Philippson and John Bernard Harris.

This booklet expounds a Gestalt approach to working with groups, teams and  organisations. The second edition contains three new chapters. Invaluable for anyone who  works in and with groups, in any setting. With illustrations by John.

Working with Anger in Therapy – A Gestalt approach (Second Edition: September 2001).

By  John Bernard Harris, with additional material by Peter Philippson.

This booklet is about anger: what it is, how we can learn to see it positively, how we  can work with other people’s anger in a therapeutic way. Written primarily for those  in the helping professions, but useful for anyone who simply wants to understand more  about the nature of anger. The second edition contains some new material, including a new chapter on Anger Management at Work. With illustrations by John.

The above books are all now available on Kindle, and we are not reprinting the paper version.  You can download the free Kindle app for computers, tablets and phones from Kindle apps.

The Aesthetic of Otherness – meeting at the boundary in a desensitized world.

Proceedings of the AAGT Conference in Taormina, Sicily.

Edited by Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb and others.

With chapters by Alessandra and Peter based on our conference presentations.

To read online free, or to buy (€25 + shipping), go to

The Nature of Pain (1986)

Edited by Peter Philippson. 39 pages £2.

The transcript of a multi-disciplinary discussion involving both ‘orthodox’  and ‘complementary’ practitioners, on the nature of pain.

To Order: Please send a cheque or postal order made payable to “Manchester Gestalt  Centre” including postage and packing @ 60p for first copy, 20p for each further  copy.

(N.B. For orders of 10 or more copies, subtract 80p from the price of each booklet. Such  orders will be posted to you free of charge.)

Peter’s books


New book: Self – A Polyphony of Contemporary Gestalt Therapists, ed. Jean-Marie Robine.


Gestalt Therapy: Roots and Branches

The price of the print version of this book has been reduced to £15 inc. postage if ordered from Manchester Gestalt Centre.

Peter Philippson is known around the globe as a profoundly innovative, stimulating, and original thinker within the Gestalt community. With this collection of previously published articles, readers finally get a chance to appreciate the range and depth of his work. In particular, the unique way he has constantly critiqued developments with reference to the roots of Gestalt Therapy. Philippson believes that the lineage of Gestalt therapy is insufficiently known, recognised, appreciated, or delighted in. With this stunning collection of papers he certainly redresses this balance. If you thought the past was past and the history of the discipline was irrelevant, Philippson will change your mind forever. –Dr Sally Denham-Vaughan, joint lead on the Organisational Change and Facilitation: A Gestalt Approach programme at Metanoia Institute, London, and Consultant Psychologist/Clinical Lead for Primary Care Mental Health and IAPT services in the NHS in Worcs.

Here is Peter Philippson. His personality is woven into the fabric of this book. These essays written over the decades capture his wit, playfulness, keen thinking, and analytic intellect. In this book, the reader will find the breadth of his interests and depth of his knowledge of Gestalt therapy and psychotherapy. Most of all, the reader will discover both how and why Peter is one of today’s leading Gestalt therapy theorists – and gain new perspectives on Gestalt therapy nearly from each chapter. –Dan Bloom, psychotherapist, Fellow and past-president, New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, past-president, Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy.


There has been a renewed interest in the last ten years in the underpinnings – theoretical, philosophical, and historical – of the Gestalt approach. Often in the past, these have been lost in oversimplified versions of the therapy. The author’s aim in his writings has been to provide a full and coherent account of Gestalt theory, and to emphasise our links to our therapeutic and philosophical heritage, particularly psychoanalysis and existentialism. His theme is a field-relational theory of self as the centrepiece of the approach, and how this has been placed within a structure that is still recognisably psychoanalytic. In this approach, self is understood as meaningful only in relation to what is taken as other, and how that other is contacted. The formation of a relatively coherent self-concept is a task, not a given, and can be problematic as well as helpful (when it no longer supports the person’s life-situation). Thus therapy is not an attunement to a self inherent in the client, but an exploration of contacting and awareness; and the therapist’s stance can never truly be seen as neutral. Many of these ideas have found their way in some form into other therapeutic approaches (Intersubjectivity Theory, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), and the actual relationship between therapist and client is acknowledged as highly significant. However, this has usually happened without the underpinning of a systematic field-relational approach to psychotherapy, and Gestalt Therapy, which has for historical reasons not been in a position to engage with these developments. Fortunately this is now changing, and it is hoped that this work will help that development.
Read Peter’s interview about the book on the publisher’s website:
Kindle edition:

Paperback edition:


Self in Relation

“I am presenting here by own map of Gestalt therapy, from its first principles in philosophy to its expression in specific methods of psychotherapy.”

“. . . While this is a book about Gestalt therapy, it is also a book about the emergence of life, and human life in particular, from the complexity of the universe. It is a tribute to the early Gestaltists, Fritz and Laura Perls, Paul Goodman, and Paul Weiss that these two themes can coexist and support each other so easily. My hope is that both therapists and philosophers will find much that will interest them, and feel free to ignore that which does not. In places in this book there are suggestions for experiments in awareness, which will hopefully illustrate the theory. There are also episodes from work with a client: the client is fictional, but the interactions are ones I encounter frequently in my therapy work. The client could thus be seen to be a composite of a large number of people. I also include a more speculative chapter on the early self-development of this client, which I hope will further give body to the theory. I also include as appendices (with permission) some writing from two clients giving some flavor of how such a therapy appears from their perspectives.” – Peter Philippson

Kindle edition:

Paperback edition:

Self in Relation is also available in Russian and German:

Download (PDF, 752KB)

Self in Relation Russian

Buy the German version: Selbstwerdung

Kindle edition: Amazon link

The Emergent Self

This book tracks a particular understanding of self, philosophically, from research evidence and in its implications for psychotherapy. At each step, the author includes first the theory he is working from, then the clinical implications of the theory, followed by some links to the philosophical outlook inherent in the theory, and finally a more extended case example.

“I love this book. I keep talking about it months after having read it. I find myself musing on it — and saying to my wife things like “you know what Peter Philippson says about … ” and then I try to explain it. Usually unsuccessfully. She is getting very tired of this — but I just keep bringing up ideas from this book.

Emergent Properties; State Dependent Memory; Chaos Theory; Husserl; Sartre; Mirror Neurons; Intersubjectivity; Man as the agent of choice for the Field; a devastating critique of the notion of God (this part really made me think – as I am one of those “spiritual” types who finds the idea of God quite comforting) and much much more is here to take you on a truly fabulous intellectual journey. This book is highly recommended for therapists of all stripes. For Gestalt Therapists – Peter Philippson is one of our finest and most original thinkers.” Peter Cole, Gestalt Therapist, California

Paperback edition:

Kindle edition: 

Russian edition: Emergent Self Russian

Peter’s books are now available for sale from Manchester Gestalt Centre or from the Kindle store at Kindle Peters books.