Jacob Moreno born in Bucharest, Romania.(May 18, 1889 – May 14, 1974) was an American psychiatrist, psychosociologist, and educator, the founder of psychodrama. His father was Moreno Nissim Levy, a Sephardi Jewish merchant born in 1856 in Plevna in the Ottoman Empire (today Pleven, Bulgaria). Jacob's grandfather Buchis had moved to Plevna from Constantinople, where his ancestors had settled after they left Spain in 1492. It is thought that the Morenos left Plevna for Bucharest during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, following the Plevna rabbi Haim Bejarano in search of a more hospitable environment.

In 1895, a time of great intellectual creativity and political turmoil, the family moved to Vienna. He studied medicine, mathematics, and philosophy at the University of Vienna, becoming a Doctor of Medicine in 1917. He had rejected Freudian theory while still a medical student, and became interested in the potential of group settings for therapeutic practice.

In his autobiography, Moreno wrote of encounter with Sigmund Freud in 1912. "I attended one of Freud's lectures. He had just finished an analysis of a telepathic dream. As the students filed out, he singled me out from the crowd and asked me what I was doing. I responded, 'Well, Dr. Freud, I start where you leave off. You meet people in the artificial setting of your office. I meet them on the street and in their homes, in their natural surroundings. You analyse their dreams. I give them the courage to dream again. You analyse and tear them apart. I let them act out their conflicting roles and help them to put the parts back together again.'

While living in Vienna in the early 1900s Moreno started an improvisational theatre company, Stegreiftheater, the Theatre of Spontaneity where he formulated a form of psychotherapy he called psychodrama, which employed improvised dramatizations, role-plays and other therapeutic, spontaneous dramatic expressions that utilized and unleashed the spontaneity and creativity of the group and its individual members.  Moreno saw "psychodrama as the next logical step beyond psychoanalysis." It was "an opportunity to get into action instead of just talking, to take the role of the important people in our lives to understand them better, to confront them imaginatively in the safety of the therapeutic theatre, and most of all to become more creative and spotantaneous human beings."

Moreno died at home in Beacon, N.Y., in 1974, aged 84. His ashes are buried at Feuerhalle Simmering in Vienna. His epitaph, at his request, reads "DER MANN, DER FREUDE UND LACHEN IN DIE PSYCHIATRIE BRACHTE" (The man who brought joy and laughter to psychiatry)



Bert Hellinger (16 December 1925 – 19 September 2019), was a German psychotherapist associated with a therapeutic method best known as Family Constellations and Systemic Constellations. In recent years, his work evolved beyond these formats into what he called Movements of the Spirit-Mind. Several thousand professional practitioners worldwide, influenced by Hellinger, but not necessarily following him, continue to apply and adapt his original insights to a broad range of personal, organisational and political applications.

Anton Hellinger was born into a Catholic family in Leimen, Baden, Germany, in 1925. Hellinger stated that his parents' particular form of Catholic faith provided the entire family with immunity against believing the distortions of National Socialism. At age 10, he left his family to attend a Catholic convent school run by the Order of the Jesuits in which he was later ordained.

Hellinger was conscripted into the German army. He saw combat on the Western front. In 1945, he was captured and imprisoned in an Allied P.O.W. camp in Belgium. After escaping he made his way back to Germany and entered the Jesuits order, taking the religious name Suitbert, which is the source of his first name "Bert".

He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Würzburg en route to his ordination as a priest. In the early 1950s, he was dispatched to South Africa where he was assigned to be a missionary to the Zulus. There he continued his studies at the University of Pietermaritzburg and the University of South Africa where he received a B.A. and a University Education Diploma, which entitled him to teach at public high schools.

Hellinger lived in South Africa for 16 years. During these years he served as a parish priest, teacher and, finally, as headmaster of a large school. He also had administrative responsibility for the entire diocesan district containing 150 schools. He became fluent in the Zulu language, participated in Zulu rituals, and gained an appreciation for the Zulu worldview.

His participation in a series of interracial, ecumenical training in group dynamics led by Anglican clergy in South Africa in the early 1960s laid the groundwork for his leaving the Catholic priesthood. From his point of view, the trainers worked from a phenomenological orientation -- they were concerned with recognizing what is essential out of all the diversity present, without intention, without fear, without preconceptions, relying purely on what appears. He was deeply impressed by the way their methods showed it was possible for opposites to become reconciled through mutual respect.

The beginning of his interest in phenomenology coincided with the unfolding dissolution of his vows to the priesthood. Hellinger told how one of the trainers asked the group, "What is more important to you, your ideals or people? Which would you sacrifice for the other?" This was not merely a philosophical riddle to him. He was acutely sensitive to how the Nazi regime sacrificed human beings in service of ideals. He said, "In a sense, the question changed my life. A fundamental orientation toward people has shaped all my work since."

After leaving the priesthood, he met his first wife, Herta, and was married, shortly after returning to Germany. He spent several years in the early 1970s in Vienna training in a classical course in psychoanalysis at the Wiener Arbeitskreis für Tiefenpsychologie (Viennese Association for Depth Psychology). He completed his training at the Münchner Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Psychoanalyse (Munich Psychoanalytic Training Institute) and was accepted as a practicing member of their professional association.

In 1973, he left Germany for a second time and travelled to the United States to be trained for 9 months by Arthur Janov. There were many important influences that shaped his approach. One of the most significant was Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis.

Nearing age 70, he had neither documented his insights and approach nor trained students to carry on his methods. He agreed for German psychiatrist Gunthard Weber to record and edit a series of workshop transcripts. Weber published the book himself in 1993 under the title Zweierlei Glück [Capricious Good Fortune; aka Second Chance]. In 2017 this book had its 18th edition.

As of 2018 Hellinger had published more than 90 books, 70 of them listed in the catalogue of the German National Library (Deutsche National-Bibliothek, Leipzig). About half his publishing's are documentaries on his family constellation work, again as workshop transcripts. The other half presents his philosophy.

Hellinger travelled widely, delivering lectures, workshops, and training courses throughout Europe, the United States, Central, and South America, Russia, China, and Japan. Hellinger alienated some potential colleagues and supporters by his idiosyncratic behavior, such as making sweeping statements that reduced complex issues to single root causes or his manner of sometimes addressing clients in a caustic, authoritarian tone. Many practitioners distance themselves from the method's founding figure. Many others continued their association, integrating the further developments into their own practices.



Carl Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987) was an American psychologist who was one of the founders of humanistic psychology and was known especially for his person-centered psychotherapy. Rogers is widely considered one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy research and was honoured for his pioneering research with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1956.

The person-centered approach, Rogers's approach to understanding personality and human relationships, found wide application in various domains, such as psychotherapy and counselling (client-centered therapy), education (student-centred learning), organizations, and other group settings. For his professional work he received the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Psychology from the APA in 1972. In a study by Steven J. Haggbloom and colleagues using six criteria such as citations and recognition, Rogers was found to be the sixth most eminent psychologist of the 20th century and second, among clinicians, only to Sigmund Freud. Based on a 1982 survey of 422 respondents of U.S. and Canadian psychologists, he was considered the most influential psychotherapist in history (Freud ranked third).

Rogers was born on January 8, 1902, in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. His father, Walter A. Rogers, was a civil engineer, a Congregationalist by denomination. His mother, Julia M. Cushing, was a homemaker and devout Baptist. Carl was the fourth of their six children.

Rogers was intelligent and could read well before kindergarten. Following an education in a strict religious and ethical environment as an altar boy at the vicarage of Jimpley, he became rather isolated, independent and disciplined, and acquired knowledge and an appreciation for the scientific method in a practical world. At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was a member of the fraternity Alpha Kappa Lambda, his first career choice was agriculture, followed by history and then religion.

At age 20, following his 1922 trip to Beijing, China, for an international Christian conference, Rogers started to doubt his religious convictions. To help him clarify his career choice, he attended a seminar titled Why Am I Entering the Ministry?, after which he decided to change careers. In 1924, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin, married Helen Elliott (a fellow Wisconsin student whom he had known from Oak Park), and enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Some time later he reportedly became an atheist. Although referred to as an atheist early in his career, Rogers eventually came to be described as agnostic. However, in his later years it is reported he spoke about spirituality. Thorne, who knew Rogers and worked with him on a number of occasions during his final ten years, writes that "in his later years his openness to experience compelled him to acknowledge the existence of a dimension to which he attached such adjectives as mystical, spiritual, and transcendental". Rogers concluded that there is a realm "beyond" scientific psychology, a realm he came to prize as "the indescribable, the spiritual."

After two years, Rogers left the seminary to attend Teachers College, Columbia University, obtaining an M.A. in 1927 and a Ph.D. in 1931. While completing his doctoral work, he engaged in child study. He studied with Alfred Adler in 1927 to 1928 when Rogers was an intern at the now defunct Institute for Child Guidance in New York City.[12] Later in life, Rogers recalled:
Accustomed as I was to the rather rigid Freudian approach of the Institute—seventy-five-page case histories, and exhaustive batteries of tests before even thinking of "treating" a child—I was shocked by Dr. Adler's very direct and deceptively simple manner of immediately relating to the child and the parent. It took me some time to realize how much I had learned from him.

In 1930, Rogers served as director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Rochester, New York. From 1935 to 1940 he lectured at the University of Rochester and wrote The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child (1939), based on his experience in working with troubled children. He was strongly influenced in constructing his client-centered approach by the post-Freudian psychotherapeutic practice of Otto Rank,[10] especially as embodied in the work of Rank's disciple, noted clinician and social work educator Jessie Taft. In 1940 Rogers became professor of clinical psychology at the Ohio State University, where he wrote his second book, Counselling and Psychotherapy (1942). In it, Rogers suggests that by establishing a relationship with an understanding, accepting therapist, a client can resolve difficulties and gain the insight necessary to restructure their life.

In 1945, Rogers was invited to set up a counselling centre at the University of Chicago. In 1947, he was elected president of the American Psychological Association.[15] While a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago (1945–57), Rogers helped establish a counselling centre connected with the university and there conducted studies to determine his methods' effectiveness. His findings and theories appeared in Client-Centered Therapy (1951) and Psychotherapy and Personality Change (1954). One of his graduate students at the University of Chicago, Thomas Gordon, established the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) movement. Another student, Eugene T. Gendlin, who was getting his Ph.D. in philosophy, developed the practice of Focusing based on Rogerian listening. In 1956, Rogers became the first president of the American Academy of Psychotherapists. He taught psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1957–63), during which time he wrote one of his best-known books, On Becoming a Person (1961). A student of his there, Marshall Rosenberg, went on to develop Nonviolent Communication. Rogers and Abraham Maslow (1908–70) pioneered a movement called humanistic psychology, which reached its peak in the 1960s. In 1961, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rogers was also one of the people who questioned the rise of McCarthyism in the 1950s. In articles, he criticized society for its backward-looking affinities.

Rogers continued teaching at the University of Wisconsin until 1963, when he became a resident at the new Western Behavioural Sciences Institute (WBSI) in La Jolla, California. Rogers left the WBSI to help found the Center for Studies of the Person in 1968. His later books include Carl Rogers on Personal Power (1977) and Freedom to Learn for the '80s (1983). He remained a La Jolla resident for the rest of his life, doing therapy, giving speeches and writing.

Rogers's last years were devoted to applying his theories in situations of political oppression and national social conflict, travelling worldwide to do so. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, he brought together influential Protestants and Catholics; in South Africa, blacks and whites; in Brazil, people emerging from dictatorship to democracy; in the United States, consumers and providers in the health field. His last trip, at age 85, was to the Soviet Union, where he lectured and facilitated intensive experiential workshops fostering communication and creativity. He was astonished at how many Russians knew of his work.

Between 1974 and 1984, Rogers, his daughter Natalie Rogers, and psychologists Maria Bowen, Maureen O'Hara, and John K. Wood convened a series of residential programs in the U.S., Europe, Brazil and Japan, the Person-Centered Approach Workshops, which focused on cross-cultural communications, personal growth, self-empowerment, and learning for social change.

In 1987, Rogers suffered a fall that resulted in a fractured pelvis: he had life alert and was able to contact paramedics. He had a successful operation, but his pancreas failed the next night and he died a few days later after a heart attack.

One of Rogers's most famous lines is: "Death is final, and accepting that is the most difficult thing to undertake. Life is precious and vulnerable, so be wise with how you choose to spend it, because once death arrives there is no turning back."
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Carl Jung 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961 was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He was a prolific author, illustrator, and correspondent, and a complex and controversial character, presumably best known through his "autobiography" Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Jung's work has been influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. He worked as a research scientist at the Burghölzli psychiatric hospital, in Zurich, under Eugen Bleuler. Jung established himself as an influential mind, developing a friendship with Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, conducting a lengthy correspondence paramount to their joint vision of human psychology. Jung is widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists in history.

Freud saw the younger Jung not only as the heir he had been seeking to take forward his "new science" of psychoanalysis, but as a means to legitimize his own work: Freud and other contemporary psychoanalysts were Jews facing rising antisemitism in Europe, and Jung was Christian. Freud secured Jung's appointment as president of Freud's newly founded International Psychoanalytical Association. Jung's research and personal vision, however, made it difficult to follow his older colleague's doctrine and they parted ways. This division was painful for Jung and resulted in the establishment of Jung's analytical psychology, as a comprehensive system separate from psychoanalysis.

Among the central concepts of analytical psychology is individuation—the lifelong psychological process of differentiation of the self out of each individual's conscious and unconscious elements. Jung considered it to be the main task of human development. He created some of the best known psychological concepts, including synchronicity, archetypal phenomena, the collective unconscious, the psychological complex, and extraversion and introversion. Jung was also an artist, craftsman, builder, and prolific writer. Many of his works were not published until after his death and some remain unpublished.
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Fritz Perls (July 8, 1893 – March 14, 1970), was a German-born psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist. Perls coined the term "Gestalt therapy" to identify the form of psychotherapy that he developed with his wife Laura Perls, in the 1940s and 1950s. Perls became associated with the Esalen Institute in 1964 and lived there until 1969.

The core of the Gestalt therapy process is enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between the self, its environment, and the other.

Friedrich Salomon Perls better known as Fritz was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1893. He grew up in the bohemian scene in Berlin, participated in Expressionism and Dadaism, and experienced the turning of the artistic avant-garde toward the revolutionary left. He was expected to practice law, following his distinguished uncle Herman Staub, but instead he studied medicine. Perls joined the German Army during World War I and spent time in the trenches. After the war in 1918 he returned to his medical studies graduating two years later, specialising in neuropsychiatry as a medical doctor, and then became an assistant to Kurt Goldstein, who worked with brain injured soldiers. Perls gravitated toward psychoanalysis.

In 1927, Perls became a member of Wilhelm Reich's technical seminars in Vienna. Reich's concept of character analysis influenced Perls to a large extent. In 1930 Reich became Perls' supervising senior analyst in Berlin.

In 1930, Perls married Laura Perls (born Lore Posner) and they had two children together, Renate and Stephen. In 1933, soon after the Hitler regime came to power, being of Jewish descent and because of their anti-fascist political activities in the time before,  Perls, Laura, and their eldest child Renate fled to the Netherlands, and one year later they emigrated to South Africa, where Perls started a psychoanalytic training institute. In 1936 he had a brief and unsatisfactory meeting with Freud. 

In 1942, Perls joined the South African army, and he served as an army psychiatrist with the rank of captain until 1946. While in South Africa, Perls was influenced by the "holism" of Jan Smuts. During this period Fritz Perls co-wrote his first book, Ego, Hunger, and Aggression (published in 1942 and re-published in 1947). Laura Perls wrote two chapters of the book, although when it was re-published in the United States she was not given any recognition for her work.

Fritz and Laura Perls left South Africa in 1946 and ended up in New York City, where Fritz Perls worked briefly with Karen Horney, and Wilhelm Reich. After living through a peripatetic episode, during which he lived in Montreal and served as a cruise ship psychiatrist, Perls finally settled in Manhattan. Perls wrote his second book with the assistance of New York intellectual and author, Paul Goodman, who drafted the theoretical second part of the book based upon Perls' hand-written notes. Perls and Goodman were influenced by the work of Kurt Lewin and Otto Rank. Along with the experiential first part, written with Ralph Hefferline, the book was entitled Gestalt Therapy and published in 1951.

Thereafter, Fritz and Laura Perls started the first Gestalt Institute in their Manhattan apartment. Fritz Perls began travelling throughout the United States in order to conduct Gestalt workshops and training.

In 1960 Fritz Perls left Laura Perls behind in Manhattan and moved to Los Angeles, where he practiced in conjunction with Jim Simkin. He started to offer workshops at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, in 1963. Perls became interested in Zen during this period, and incorporated the idea of mini-satori (a brief awakening) into his practice. He also travelled to Japan, where he stayed in a Zen monastery.

Eventually, he settled at Esalen, and even built a house on the grounds. One of his students at Esalen was Dick Price, who developed Gestalt Practice, based in large part upon what he learned from Perls. At Esalen, Perls collaborated with Ida Rolf, founder of Rolfing, to address the relationship between the mind and the body.

In 1969 Perls left Esalen and started a Gestalt community at Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, Canada. There, he hosted eight educational films on his gestalt therapy, which were directed by Stanley Fox for Aquarian Productions, a film production company started by Perls associate Norman Hirt.

Fritz Perls died of heart failure in Chicago, on March 14, 1970, after heart surgery at the Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital.



Alexander Lowen (December 23, 1910 – October 28, 2008) was an American physician and psychotherapist. A student of Wilhelm Reich in the 1940s and early '50s in New York, Lowen developed bioenergetic analysis, a form of mind-body psychotherapy, with his then-colleague, John Pierrakos. He is also noted for developing the concept of bioenergetic grounding, one of the foundational principles of bioenergetic therapy. Lowen was the founder and former executive director of the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis in New York City. The IIBA now has over 1500 members and 54 training institutes worldwide.

Born in New York City to Jewish immigrants, Lowen received a bachelor's degree in science and business from City College of New York, an LL.B and a J.S.D (a doctorate in law) from Brooklyn Law School. His interest in the link between the mind and the body developed during this time. He enrolled in a class on character analysis with Wilhelm Reich. After training to be a therapist himself, Lowen moved to Switzerland to attend the University of Geneva.

Lowen lived and practiced for the majority of his life in New Canaan, Connecticut. He had a stroke in July 2006. The Alexander Lowen Foundation was founded in April 2007 to continue his legacy. Lowen died on October 28, 2008, at the age of 97.


Nisargadatta Maharaj (Maruti Shivrampant Kambli) was born on 17 April 1897 to Shivrampant Kambli and Parvati Bai, in Bombay. His parents were followers of the Vaishnavite bhakti tradition. His father, Shivrampant, worked as a domestic servant in Mumbai and later became a petty farmer in Kandalgaon. Maruti Shivrampant Kambli was brought up in Kandalgaon, a small village in the Sindhudurga district of Maharashtra, with his two brothers, four sisters and deeply religious parents. In 1915, after his father died, he moved to Bombay to support his family back home, following his elder brother. Initially he worked as a junior clerk at an office but quickly he opened a small goods store, mainly selling beedis (leaf-rolled cigarettes) and soon owned a string of eight retail shops. In 1924 he married Sumatibai and they had three daughters and a son.

He was introduced to his guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, the head of the Inchegiri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya, by his friend Yashwantrao Baagkar. His guru told him, "You are not what you take yourself to be...". Siddharameshwar gave Nisargadatta instructions for self-enquiry as he himself recounted later: My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Following his guru's instructions to concentrate on the feeling "I Am", he used all his spare time looking at himself in silence, and remained in that state for the coming years, practising meditation and singing devotional bhajans.

After an association that lasted hardly two and a half years, Siddharameshwar Maharaj died on 9 November 1936. In 1937, Maharaj left Mumbai and travelled across India. After eight months he returned to his family in Mumbai in 1938. On the journey home his state of mind changed, realizing that "nothing was wrong anymore." He spent the rest of his life in Mumbai, maintaining one shop to earn an income. After he retired from his shop in 1966, Nisargadatta Maharaj continued to receive and teach visitors in his home, giving discourses twice a day, until his death on 8 September 1981 at the age of 84, of throat cancer.

According to Timothy Conway, Nisargadatta's only subject was ...our real Identity as the birthless-deathless, infinite-eternal Absolute Awareness or Parabrahman. For Maharaj, our only "problem" is a case of mistaken identity: we presume to be an individual, but originally, fundamentally and intrinsically we are always and only the Absolute.