Garry Prouty

Garry and Jill Prouty

May 2009: Dion Van Werde, coördinator of the Pre-Therapy International Network

Dear members of ISPS, dear members of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling, dear members of the Pre-Therapy International Network, dear colleagues and friends,

I wished we had better news to tell you. I'm sad to inform you that on May 17th 2009, dr. Garry Prouty passed away. Inspired by one of Garry’s great examples, namely dr. Martin Luther King, the last question of an interview we once did, was 'Garry, do you have a dream?'. Since Garry's response was so congruent and came from so deep, I vividly remember that this was an emotional moment for Garry as well for the people listening. Garry told us that he would like to see society take up the care for the people who suffer from mental illness. He wanted society to provide the people the care one needs, since much of the suffering, as he said, is avoidable and unnecessary, is tragic. This thought showed to be Garry's drive to dedicate his life and soul to his work. I have always remembered his saying - and must say that I, and many people with me, am still impressed by the way he lived up to his dream.

He developed the work of Dr. Carl Rogers and Dr. Eugene Gendlin – his mentor and friend – into “Pre-Therapy”, applying it to people suffering from contact impairment. He was Professor of Psychology and Mental Health (Ret.) and Director of the Pre-Therapy International Network. He was Scientific Associate of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry. He was a Fellow of the Chicago Counseling, Psychotherapy and Research Center and member of the Chicago Psychological Association. He has served as an editorial consultant to the journal Psychotherapy, Theory, Research and Practice as well as to the International Journal of Mental Imagery. He was consultant to the American, English, Austrian and Italian client-centered journals and served on the editorial board of the World Journal of Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies. He has been member and elected president of the Chicago chapter of the International Society for the Psychological treatments of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses, an organization he also felt well respected in. Dr. Prouty has lectured in European clinics, hospitals and training organizations over the past twenty years.

He published numerous articles in several languages and wrote Prouty, G. (1994). Theoretical evolutions in person-centered/experiential therapy. Applications to schizophrenic and retarded psychoses. New York: Praeger; translated into Japanese and Portuguese. He recently edited Prouty, G. (Ed.) (2008). Emerging developments in Pre-Therapy: a Pre-Therapy reader. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS-books and wrote – together with two close colleagues - Prouty, G., Van Werde, D. & Pörtner, M. (2002). Pre-Therapy: reaching contact-impaired clients. Ross-On-Wye: PCCS Books; originally written in German and translated into Dutch and Tsjech.

An updated list of references on Pre-Therapy is available at

He has delivered the Frieda Fromm-Reichman Memorial Lecture at the Washington School of Psychiatry in 2002. In 2004 he was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award for Pre-Therapy” by the Chicago Psychological Association.

As coordinator of the Pre-Therapy International Network, I express my personal and our professional utmost respect for the friend, mentor and colleague Garry was, and thank him and Jill, his wife, for the endless inspiration and the work done.

I am convinced that his spreading his work in numerous countries to numerous people, be it by writings, be it through his presence and presentations, helped and is still helping every day, to indeed bring better care to the people he cared for so much. The creation of the Pre-Therapy International Network by Jill, his wife, in Amsterdam in 1995, and the annual gatherings in Gent, Belgium for over more than 10 years now, with professionals coming from all over Europe, all deeply touched and influenced by Garry and his work, testify of this.