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Graduate Student Opinions
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Comments by Ansel Woldt’s graduate students:
(Ansel Woldt is an Emeritus Professor at Kent State Univ.)

   “I am really enjoying reading A Well-Lived Life. This woman writes as if she knows me; as if I am sitting with her and she is speaking directly with me (not to or at me like most theoreticians and therapists).”

   “Wow! What a joy to have such an interesting and understandable textbook. I’ve never had such an understandable, yet thorough explanation of any kind of theory in psychology classes. Yet, she writes as if this were a personal ‘Email’ response to my questions and desire to know Gestalt therapy theory.”

   “Sylvia’s style of writing is very understandable. I am really enjoying this! Thank you Dr. Woldt for selecting such an excellent book.”

   “Sylvia Crocker’s book is not like any textbook I’ve ever had. She writes to my soul, not just my mind! In fact, this certainly can’t be called a ‘textbook,’ it’s too good to be given such a label.”

   “I found the part of the first chapter where she talks about human beings ability to adapt to many sutuations/circumstances very interesting. It makes good sense to me that people learn from these adaptations and repeat these adaptive patterns later in life. I also enjoyed her section on ‘working with cognition’ where she discusses the importance of the ‘exrtaneous details in our stories’.”

   “I’m liking the combination of books you selected for our class— Crocker’s is so full of life and meaning making; Passons’ is so filled with practical and doable interventions; Nevis’ is filled with so many specific things to consider when applying to special groups; Feder’s is interesting reading about special cases; and Downing & Marmorstein is just like sitting down and working my own dreams.”

   “I like that I read Passons’ book first and now I’m reading Crocker’s. She goes into some depth about things that Passons just skimmed over. I am now understanding better the theoretical ground on which Passons’ interventions are based.”

   “I liked reading Passons’ chapter on ‘Approaches to Feelings,’ but when I read Crocker’s introduction and beginning of her book, I experienced feelings! You must feel honored, Ansel, to know such a beautiful person (providing she is as beautiful as she writes :-)!”

   “You know, Ansel, that I questioned in my introductory letter to you whether or not I would have time to read very much of what you said you ‘want us to read’ for this course. (I still think it is amazing that you don’t have ‘required’ reading—I don’t yet comprehend this Gestalt approach where you believe things will emerge from awareness, excitement and mobilization. Yet, I guess I’m living proof of how it works (damn!). Here I am having a hard time putting Sylvia Crocker’s book down. I’ll say again, I love her style of writing. She explains Gestalt in a way that I understand and relate to very easily.”

   “I like Sylvia Crocker a lot and I have yet to meet her. She seems like a really neat lady. If she comes to Kent I very much want to meet her. She speaks to ME! I relate so easily with her because of the way she started off in her book by pursuing philosophy, existentialism, etc. The more I read about Gestalt, the more I see myself becoming a Gestalt therapist. As a matter of fact, while reading Crocker and Passon, I had these recurring thoughts, wondering what it would be like to pursue further Gestalt training after I finish my degree. This is so exciting because up to this point in my masters and doctoral programs I have not found a theory that I feel so good about.”

   “I began reading the first part of Sylvia Fleming Crocker’s ‘text.’ I really have an appreciation for the way that she writes. I am finding this book to be an exception amongst counseling and therapy texts—it is easy to read and understand, very personable, yet very serious, deep and comprehensive. Who is this woman anyway? Might she really come to our class?”

   “I babysit my neighbor’s kids during the day and spend a fair amount of time reading while doing so. It was interesting today how my time with them and with Sylvia Crocker coincided—I was focusing a lot on my senses and watching how the kids do the same thing naturally. Seems like their world is so often new and exciting—exploring their environment, their world. So many new and exciting things. Together, we looked a the trees, felt the dead leaves, smelled the air, tasted the melting snow, felt the muddy ground and played in the snow and mud. From this experience I personally found a deeper understanding of the children, my environment, my self, and my place in the world; not to mention Gestalt therapy.”

   “I came across some good stuff in Crocker’s essays that is the most helpful thing I have ever found to help me write my own personal theory of counseling. I think reading her is going to be one of the best parts of this semester.”

   “I’ve been reading in a number of books—Fritz’ In and Out of the Garbage Pail and Mackewn’s Developing Gestalt Counseling plus the ‘required texts’ for the class. It’s interesting to try to analyze how Perls’ personal life must have influenced people at a deep level and how Crocker’s essays seem to incorporate everything from the field-based emphasis of Mackewn to the intrapsychic emphasis of many early Gestaltists.”

   “As an elementary school counselor, I’ve been re-reading Violet Oaklander’s Windows to Our Children while simultaneously reading Sylvia Crocker’s essays. Do you know if they are friends? They both write so directly from their heart; it’s as if I know them personally when I read them. They enlist me at a deeper level—sort of spiritual.”

   “Sylvia Crocker’s book is long but keeps me interested. She sure has a lot to say. Hope she comes to Kent this semester as you suggested she may. I will get off work to come to whatever she does.”

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