Barry Stevens (therapist)

Barry Stevens (1902-1985) was a writer and Gestalt therapist. She developed her own form of Gestalt therapy body work, based on the awareness of body processes. For the human potential movement of the 1970s, she became a kind of "star", but she always refused to accept that role. She worked - among others - with the psychotherapists Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers. Bertrand Russel and Aldous Huxley were among her friends.


Stevens was a self-described "High School drop-out, 1918, because what she wanted to know, she couldn't learn in school.

Fritz Perls described Barry Stevens as "a natural born therapist."


Her publications include Don't Push the River (It Flows by Itself), a first-person account of Stevens' investigations of Gestalt Therapy. It shows the author during a period of several months in association with Fritz Perls at Perls' Gestalt Institute of Canada at Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island, in 1969. Barry Stevens describes both Gestalt therapy theory and practice and her relationship with Fritz Perls in a sensitive way. Thus creating a vivid image of Perls in the last months of his life.

In addition she explored Zen Buddhism, the philosophy of J. Krishnamurti, and American Indian religious practices in an effort "to deepen and expand personal experience and work through difficulties." "We have to turn ourselves upside down and reverse our approach to life. Alternating with episodes from her earlier days, it became a "best-seller" in the circles of humanistic psychology.

Personal life

She is the mother of John O. Stevens who is also a writer, Gestalt therapist and NLP-trainer. John O. "Steve" Stevens founded Real People Press, a publisher of works on psychology and personal change in 1967, in order to publish a book by Carl Rogers and Barry Stevens entitled "Person to Person". He published books on Gestalt therapy; he was responsible for the compilation of Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, the media event that brought Gestalt therapy to public attention in the late 1960's. And he is also the editor of Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tai Chi by Al Huang, to which he and Barry Stevens wrote the preface. He later changed his name to Steve Andreas.


  • Don't Push the River (It Flows by Itself), Real People Press, 1970.
  • Person to Person: The Problem of Being Human, by Carl Rogers and Barry Stevens, with contributions from Eugene Gendlin, John M. Shlien, and Wilson Van Dusen, Real People Press, 1967, ISBN 0-911226-01-X (paper) and ISBN 0-911226-00-1 (cloth).
  • Body Work, in: Gestalt is, John O. Stevens ed., Real People Press, 1975, p. 157 - 184, ISBN 091122615X pbk.
  • Burst Out Laughing, Barry Stevens, Celestrial Arts, 1985.


External links

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