As some of this discussion is focussing on Henle's critical remarks and as I am responsible for including them in GTAs web site I would like to put in some comments on this topic.
I agree with Joe Wysong who points out that Henle is not to blame for taking Fritz Perls up on his late statements that most of the previously published books on Gestalt therapy were obsolete or outdated (e.g. Perls/Hefferline/Goodman). And I think it is also true what many Gestalt therapists replied to (or perhaps thought) about Henle's remarks: That they are partially true in some respect or other but don't relate adequately to the 'whole' of Gestalt therapy (both theory and practice) as it has developed and advanced since its first days.
From my point of view (as a Gestalt theorist and Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapist) I would (in detail) agree with many of the points Henle put forward but (in the whole) not agree with her general conclusion that Gestalt therapy had nothing in common with Gestalt theory. I think this relation between Gestalt therapy and Gestalt theory has to be seen much more differentiated.
In a very simplified manner I would say that most of the basic assumptions which are shared within the Gestalt therapy community are fully compatible with Gestalt theory, but many of the theoretical conceptualizations and expressed relations to Gestalt theory are not.
Just some few examples for the first and the latter:
Gestalt therapy's view of man as capable of selfregulation, its view of the importance of the present phenomenal field in psychotherapy ('here and now' including past, presence and future as represented in the given phenomenal field), its practice of stimulating awareness as a prerequisite for reorganizing experience and life - all these are fully compatible with views and findings of Gestalt psychology and theory.
Using 'Gestalt' as some kind of a metaphor instead of using it as a scientific concept is not compatible with Gestalt theory and means giving away a lot of potential which could enrich Gestalt therapy. Speaking of an 'organism-environment-field' instead of clearly distinguishing between phenomenal and transphenomenal entities and relations is not compatible with Gestalt theory (and has nothing to do either with Kurt Lewin's field theory - which is a clear-cut theory of the phenomenal field - or with Gestalt theory's view of the mind body problem). Reducing man's abilities of reorganizing his phenomenal field, his experience, his life to just one way how this can be accomplished ('closure' of 'open Gestalts') is not compatible with Gestalt psychology and unneccessarily narrows down the view of the much more differentiated abilities of man 'to put a thing right' (most examples from therapeutic practice used as an example for 'closure' of an 'open Gestalt' are in fact no examples for closure in the Gestalt psychological sense but examples for re-centering; unfinished business can be finished in a lot of ways - 'closure' is only asked for in a 'system with a gap', e.g. mourning for the long dead mother when this mourning was originally blocked by certain circumstances; other 'systems' don't have such a 'gap' but are wrong in some other way, they need some kind of re-centering and so on; this whole field of the process and dynamics of re-organization of the psychic field is one of the main domains of Gestalt psychology and nothing is won by reducing it to just one thing, 'closure of an open Gestalt').
I think it is time to give the relation between Gestalt therapy and Gestalt psychology and theory some kind of a new start. There is much to gain for both sides. In our community (psychotherapy section of the international *Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications*) we are working for this aim since about twenty years now (though mainly in the German speaking countries) and we think it has proved possible and fruitful.
One last remark: There was a lot more work done by Gestalt psychologists in the last sixty years in the field of psychological research and also in the field of research on psychopathology and psychotherapy than is known to most Gestalt therapists. I just mention the work of *Abraham S. Luchins*, a great Gestalt psychologist who worked as a clinician for the American Veterans Administration and published some very inspiring articles and books on group psychotherapy, action psychotherapy, the importance of the social field in working with psychiatric patients and so on. Or *Erwin Levy*, an assistant of Max Wertheimer, who emigrated from Germany to the USA, worked as a psychotherapist and clinical psychiatrist there and contributed a lot to the understanding of psychic disorders and on the relation of Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis.
So I don't doubt that there is a lot to discover if one follows the proposal of Timothy McNamara to look what Gestalt psychology's development of the last decades had to offer in the psychotherapeutic field.