Psychotherapist and Expert on Personal Interaction
Esther Perel Speaking Video:
Esther Perel Topics:
- The science of human interaction
- How professional and personal relationships work
- Relationships at Work: From Corporate Culture to Finding Your Passion
Esther Perel Biography:
Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist notable for exploring the tension between the need for security (love, belonging and closeness) and the need for freedom (erotic desire, adventure and distance) in human relationships.
Perel promoted the concept of Erotic Intelligence in a best selling book (Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence) which was published in 2006 and since has been translated into 24 languages. A talk entitled The secret to desire in a long-term relationship which she gave at TED in February 2013 has received more than 6 million views on TED’s website as of June 2015.
Perel grew up amongst Holocaust survivors in Antwerp, Belgium and noted two groups around her: “those who didn’t die, and those who came back to life”. Her observation was that “those who didn’t die were people who lived tethered to the ground, afraid, untrusting. The world was dangerous, and pleasure was not an option. You cannot play, take risks, or be creative when you don’t have a minimum of safety, because you need a level of unself-consciousness to be able to experience excitement and pleasure. Those who came back to life were those who understood eroticism as an antidote to death.”
Perel subsequently trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy before finding a professional home in family systems theory. She initially worked as a cross-cultural psychologist with couples and families.
Perel is married to Jack Saul, Assistant Professor of Clinical of Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
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