Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist of Polish-Jewish descent who has explored the tension between the need for security and the need for freedom in human relationships.
Psychotherapist, Relationship Philosopher, Speaker, Author & Host of Where Should We Begin?
The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.
I grew up in Antwerp, the Flemish part of Belgium, studied in Jerusalem, and came to the States for graduate school. I planned to stay for one year but never used my return ticket.
I fell in love with New York — and with the man who is still my husband today. I went on to study the nature of cultural and religious identity; how we negotiate tradition and modernity, individualism and collectivism. For the first 20 years of my career, I was particularly interested in couples and families who were in cultural transition. I drew directly from my own experience and that of my family.
I worked with refugees and internationals, exploring both voluntary and forced migration. As I traveled the world, I witnessed the falls of political regimes. I became curious how this played out directly in the kitchens and the bedrooms of the families that I worked with. But the bulk of my endeavors culminated in working with mixed couples. Intercultural, interracial and inter-religious families were also in a state of cultural negotiation, playing out in their own homes. My primary interest was in how cultural forces affect gender roles and child rearing practices.
Over the next years, I had two sons and I was involved in my own cultural experiment; motherhood in New York City. When my oldest son turned eight, and my youngest five, my schedule and mind space began to clear and I felt ready to take on a new big project.