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(1971). Turning On. Rasa Gustaitis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969, xviii + 326 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(1):161.
(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(1):161
Turning On. Rasa Gustaitis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969, xviii + 326 pp.
Miss Gustaitis is a top journalist-reporter who wrote for well-known newspapers and journals before she became a free lance writer.
In this readable book she describes her experiences at Esalen and the Big Sur, California. It is an eye-witness description of what Maslow called “the Third Force” in American psychotherapy— psychoanalysis and behaviorism being the other two. This new trend focuses primarily on sensual awareness and on the “I-thou” interaction. Concepts from Yoga and Zen Buddhism are used to teach sensory responsiveness. This whole new movement, although diversified in aim and action, is also referred to as the human potentialities movement.
Miss Gustaitis visited with the various settings and participated in their respective programs and activities, which included an LSD trip. She spent time with Dr. Fritz Perls and his Gestalt seminars and attended Dr. Bill Schutz's encounter groups. She learned about sensory awareness from Charlotte Selver and studied “Rolfing.” This method is named after its innovator, Dr. Ida Rolf. The last two methods mentioned focus on postural and sensory awareness.
The author also visited Gurus and endured the rigid discipline practiced at a Zen Monastery. The chapter on the “Morningstar Ranch” and her encounter with hippies there is an unbiased example of good reporting.
The value of this book lies in the fact that it is written by a “patient” and not by a professional therapist. Miss Gustaitis has no ax to grind. She neither praises nor condemns but simply puts down in print what she saw, experienced and felt. Throughout the book one is impressed with her honesty. The absence of jargon and professional lingo makes for easy reading.
There are no definite conclusions in favor of one or the other method. The reader, having been served with this large variety of food, will have to select his own menu. Miss Gustaitis is to be congratulated for a job well done.
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