An author, philosopher, and psychotherapist, he is best known for published works such as Growing Up Absurd and The Community of Scholars. During the 1960s, he was a left-wing peace activist.
He attended the City College of New York and, later, the University of Chicago. He was forced to leave the latter institution as a result of his love affairs with students.
He co-founded the Gestalt Therapy movement in psychology.
He was openly bisexual and often discussed his sexuality in his written works. He was married twice and had two daughters and one son.
He was a contemporary of Noam Chomsky.