The Gloria Tapes
March 11, 2008 11:19 PM   Subscribe

In 1975 a young divorced mother named "Gloria" volunteers, in an attempt to find some answers to the problems in her life, to be videotaped being a client to three rather new psychotherapies: Person-Centered Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Gestalt Therapy. Not only is she filmed participating in each therapy, she receiving the therapies from the respective founders of each therapy, Carl Rogers (Part 1, sadly it's cut short), Fritz Perls (Part 2), and Albert Ellis (Part 3). They all take the time before each therapy to explain their methods and there beliefs and how the therapy will go.
posted by Del Far (17 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
This takes me back! In college I had a student job toting a film projector and a bunch of reels to various lecture halls. My fingers knew that Bell & Howell like a first wife; I could have her threaded and clicking away in seconds, even with the lights dimmed, spinning and purring as she started heating up... Anyways, I must have watched these Gloria sessions 5-6 times each. But since I never actually took the class, I never actually learned what was "wrong" with her, if anything at all. Besides a life-threatening nicotine addiction, that is.
posted by krippledkonscious at 1:14 AM on March 12, 2008

Fritz Perls is pretty damn funny..
posted by kuatto at 1:22 AM on March 12, 2008

The concept has merit.
posted by y2karl at 5:06 AM on March 12, 2008

Didn't Gloria end up marrying Ellis?
posted by rockhopper at 5:17 AM on March 12, 2008

"Didn't Gloria end up marrying Ellis?"

Is your question serious?

Because I just watched the whole Gloria-Ellis session - without a clue there was any such back story -and he does tell her it's okay to make sexual approaches to her own doctor!!

Which was, I thought, extremely strange professional advice!

Del Far - this is a terrific post.

And Fritz Perls is indeed totally fabulous - in a central casting intense, 'mittel European' shrink way!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:14 AM on March 12, 2008

"I am I, and you are you. I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. If by chance we meet, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped."

BTW, the copyright holder for these films is extremely anti-piracy. I would not be surprised if these were taken down by the end of the day.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:37 AM on March 12, 2008

krippledkonscious: Smallish world! I, too, saw this contemporaneously from behind a Hell and Bowell projector. I don't even need to watch it now to remember this:

PERLS: Vut vould _chu_ like to tell _me_?
GLORIA: Don't you be so cocksure of yourself. [An odd locution.]
[. . . ]
GLORIA: Well, I. . . I. . .
posted by Herodios at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2008

Way cool, I remember these from Psych 11.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:44 AM on March 12, 2008

Albert Ellis was a cornerstone of my teen years. My mom had a friend who used the therapy with alcoholics at a Salvation Army center, and so I had access to a lot of his books, especially the perenially in - print A New Guide to Rational Living. Ellis' therapy appealed to me enormously, as a thinking-type person, but I must admit it was not that useful in actually making me feel better during those teen years.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:30 AM on March 12, 2008

Del Far, "there methods"? You failed to live to my expectations! I will disappoint you by not telling the story involving my mother, Fritz Perls, and a 14 year old me.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2008

I'm happy you found it funny, because in my class I was the only one cracking up during most of the interview. Now I feel a little better.

Jody Tresidder

Thanks :-)
I was wondering if I was ever going to put up a post that received some positive reenforcement, I was worried there was going to be this pattern of very negative reactions to all my posts. And I really think that the Rugrats were totally making fun of Fritz now looking back at the baby psychologist.

That does seem to be the pattern, a video mostly shown to college psych students. :-)

Dr. Curare
Sorry Doctor, my grammar is usually lacking and I know my vocabulary is lacking, but would you still please tell the story? I really would like to hear it!
posted by Del Far at 4:07 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

ditto for groveling permission to hear the good doctor's tale!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:56 PM on March 12, 2008

I was being serious. One of my professors stated that Ellis married Gloria. Ellis' behavior toward her on the film was quite odd, I thought. And of course Gloria was obviously engaging in transference.
posted by rockhopper at 11:06 PM on March 12, 2008


You've driven me bonkers:)

I was so fascinated by your fact I googled it to death.

It was one of those bits of information that made perfect nutty sense - because I'm well aware - as most lay people are - that a shrink is not meant to encourage a patient's sexual interest in a doctor treating her!

So it was a "gotcha!" moment to learn that his peculiar advice to her was, in fact, self-serving (if pretty unprofessional).

But Ellis - though married more than once and also in long relationships in between and also a serial, um, "romantic" - was never publically linked to any girlfriend/wife called Gloria.

And if "Gloria" was a made up name to given the patient some anonymity, you'd think any "naughty" relationship with the woman would have been gleefully documented somewhere - since the "Gloria films" are pretty famous!

So I am still baffled.

(But I'm a bit more clued up about Ellis, so all is not lost!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:14 AM on March 13, 2008

I just googled this up:

Lessons from the Legend of Gloria - Were we duped by the world's most influential counseling session

Lots of background on the film these were culled from. Also suggests that there was some stage management by the filmmaker, Everett L. Shostrom.

Gloria is interviewed via Shostrom and pontificates about the therapist she would most likely continue therapy with. She chooses Perls...

Still, I wondered: Why did Gloria falsify her answer? What motive could she possibly have? Why lie?

Ellis responds to the author's 2004 email:

"Gloria, in the film that we did, had been a patient of Everett Shostrom’s for four years before we actually made the film. Carl Rogers and I didn’t know about this until later. So, she was under his influence and he got her to say that Perls helped her, when he actually didn’t."


(Also, Perls died in '70 -- looks like this is from 1965)

Will try to learn more about the film -- great post and wonderful videos.
posted by merlinmann at 8:02 AM on March 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great links - and, yes, I had caught that peculiar titbit about Gloria perversely selecting the least sympathetic therapist as the one she wished to continue with & how it was possibly a strange manipulation in the first place.

All very curious.

(I can't really defend my strange obsession with knowing whether or not Gloria and Ellis were boffing! All I can feebly say is that I watched the dated but superb "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" movie adaptation the other day & I have a taste for neurosis as art. Or quite possibly, I am just a bit peculiar*...)

*Defensive joke!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:14 AM on March 13, 2008

Just have to say that I had never seen these before and they were great. Thanks for the awesome post!
posted by Shebear at 7:47 PM on March 14, 2008

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