Talk Given By Lynn Preston At The WAPCEPC Conference In New York, Where Gendlin Received A Lifetime Award, July 2016.
1 – INTRODUCTION
Carl Rogers is in some way my grandfather. He was the father of Gene Gendlin's clinical work and Gene has been a father for mine. Gene loved Carl's way of being with people and modeled his responsiveness after him, and I have loved Gene's way of being and modeled my responsiveness to a great extent after him.
I met Gendlin in the early 70's when I was a young clinician looking for a way to integrate the approaches I was studying. I, almost by accident, went to a workshop Gene was giving in New York. I was immediately captivated by his way of engaging with people. He was not reflecting back the words that people said (except what he called "fire engine words,” the ones that cap- tured just what was clearly, immediately felt). He was intensely present to the particularity of the other and engaged with what the person was trying to get at, - what was "coming from under- neath" as he put it. Like a laser pointer he followed and welcomed the tiny steps of felt meaning that unfolded in those he was demonstrating with. There was something compelling that almost seemed magical to me about how people came alive and became more themselves within just a few minutes of this kind of interaction. I wanted to learn this way of responding. I had found a home base for my work and also for my life. (I have studied, taught and written about Gene's work and its interface with relational psychoanalysis since that time—dialoguing, collaborating and debating with him through the years.) This kind enthusiastic response is, I believe, how Gene embraced Carl's work when he was a student...