Tuesday, October 15, 2013


10/15                WIKIPEDIA BIOGRAPHY of gg       (2013 draft)         

Prepared by:  Drs. Ayesha Shaikh, Mark Hein, Bonnie Burstein, Tom Greening, with input by Lawrence Stevens, Silvia Folesteanu, Jennifer Carter, Howard Chiang and Avery Warnick

Gerald Goodman, an American psychologist, has reshaped our understanding of how we communicate in close relationships.
His thinking has influenced research into the practice of psychotherapy and mentoring.

His research and writing about  the ways our talking styles can create closer connections and inadvertent disconnections has helped people improve their communication skills. This new understanding of the undercurrent  of conversation has helped tens of thousands of readers mend close relationships, expand career skills, and deepen intimacy. (The Talk Book  here?).

Goodman belongs to a small segment of the American Psychological Association devoted to making professional methods more accessible to the public.  His colleagues and students are providing psychologically safe helping- skills to families, friends, couples, and, to the growing population of mentors who help others navigate life’s transitions and losses.

The practical aspects of human attachment and detachment are   central to Goodman’s research.  His insights into the role of conversation t in close relationships have shaped the teaching of therapists, and they are central to his practice of “mentoring therapy”. 

Goodman’s own mentors were Carl Rogers, Bruno Bettelheim, and Bernice Neugarten at the University of Chicago, where he took a dual PhD in Human Development and Clinical Psychology.  His dissertation was on the flow of self-disclosure between clients and therapists over the course of therapy.  That experience set him on a lifelong search for better ways to help people help others.

                                                                                                                                                  After graduation, Goodman spent seven years at The Institute of Human Development, University of California - Berkeley.  There, he pioneered the study of mentoring with a city-wide project that paired hundreds of troubled children with talented college students as mentors. 

“College students were the therapeutic agents,” he explains.  “Their ‘patients’ were troubled school children; their ‘office’ was the community at large; and the ‘treatment’ was companionship.”
(Companionship Therapy: Studies in Structured Intimacy)   

His procedure for measuring “therapeutic talent” was the first to predict successful mentoring relationships.  It quickly became the standard selection tool for community mental health programs
that make use of “natural helpers.”

From Berkeley, Goodman went to UCLA, whose small clinical psychology program was rated the best in the country for several decades. (American Psychological Association).  There, he developed an “experiential-cognitive” method for teaching therapeutic communication skills, which won the University Of California’s “Innovations in Instruction” Award.

 His tape-supported application for self-led small groups was used at more than 100 colleges and universities; his self-help book on understanding personal communication sold 80,000 copies (The Talk Book: the Science of Communicating in Close Relationships) and was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. 

At UCLA, he also directed the state-wide Self-Help Center and created an automated sound/text package for transforming groups coping with common concerns into fully-functioning, mutual-support, therapy groups.  The Common Concern Program was distributed internationally by California Department of Mental Health.

Over the years, with colleagues, Goodman has expanded the process of traditional therapies into method to help clients solve psychological problems within an efficient framework: Mentoring Therapy. It combines psychological tutoring with emotional support for self-exploration. Going beyond psychotherapy, the method   teaches clients to:   “…examine problems through   mental template that brings insight to their behavior, beliefs, emotions, sensibilities, and thoughts. My mission is to initiate a working relationship shaped by two-way honesty,  unconditional acceptance and accurate empathy that clarifies  the complexity of their inner life. The rationale is to provide an ongoing experience of being emotionally known that fosters the freedom, the courage to experience a new reality, and new solutions.

He is currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and maintains a small practice in mentoring-therapy.

Recently, Goodman has pursued his interest in how psychologically sound characters are created in fiction and biography.  This has led him to develop and test new tools for professional writers, actors, and directors.






Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Seminar is in process, but openings available in December or January for separate writer's and actor's seminars or individual consultation on the psychology of character development. Monthly subscription. Details later.

  Actors Invited to Participate in an Online Seminar: “Creating the 5-Sided Character”

 After successfully testing this new method at UCLA, we are now accepting applications from experienced writers and actors who would like to participate in the pilot of a virtual seminar on “Creating the 5-Sided Character.”

  The “5-sides” are the five basic psychological elements of any human-- Behavior, Belief, Emotion, Sensation, and Thinking. Used as a set, these elements have proven to provide scholars with critical insights into how people tick. The same set of insights is now user-friendly for those who make characters into people.

My intention is to teach participants new ways to understand, diagnose, repair, and break down fiction and non-fiction characters. This seminar will ask you to temporally replace some comfortable beliefs with new thinking about characterization. That can be a challenge for veteran professionals.

Meeting online in five one-hour closed sessions (using Google+ “Hangout”), this first small seminar needs a mixed group of actors and writers to give broader feedback. Space is limited to about 5-6 participants. When the seminar ends, participants will be welcome to join our online mutual-support group for feedback on individual character work—writing and portrayal. Rejected applicants will receive information about our progress toward a more polished seminar in august.

 Homework assignments require an hour (maybe more) of serious study every two weeks. Assignments must be completed before the seminar because learning is compromised by unprepared participants. So please be mindful about committing to the assignments and seminars before applying. In addition to the reading, I’m asking for your feedback on each seminar toward improving the next version. Our plan is to offer subscriptions to the public by October.

While applications are open to any professional or early-career writer or actor anywhere in the United States, this seminar is not for beginners as it has little to do with the elementary nuts and bolts of writing and acting. The goal, instead, is to supplement existing skills while expanding creative repertoires as participants develop characters for stage, film, television and print.

 At UCLA, the in-person testing revealed significant gains in freedom for creating characters. They described more productive rewrites, more organized thinking, less work creating inner life, more ease in spotting unrealistic action, and wooden dialogue. There were far fewer discards of initial character sketches because B/BEST gave them a bit more confidence in early decision-making. The method integrated easily with customary ways of working, but it interfered with customary ways of thinking. That’s the goal for this seminar; to not mess with technique, but open minds to some modern psychology on characterization.

We hope to launch this online seminar in late May 2013. If you are not accepted during the first round, please check us out in October.

  If you’re interested in this first online seminar, and if you can commit to completing assignments before every session, please send a paragraph describing yourself and your interest in the seminar, or a current resume to goodman@ucla.edu. I’ll treat the information as confidential, and send you a few sample pages of Assignment#1-CREATING 5-SIDED CHARACTERS: AN ONLINE SEMINAR

Here’s a snapshot that a colleague wrote:

 Gerald Goodman, Emeritus Professor, UCLA (goodman@ucla.edu) is a geekish but kindly psychology professor with a background in human development, moment-to-moment conversation (He wrote a classic on real life dialogue), friendship studies, and psychotherapy with gifted adults. His current obsession is about the elements necessary for creating life-like characters in film, theatre and print. Goodman has been influenced by  Humanistic Psychology researchers at the University of Chicago, some radical professors at U.C. Berkley and by the brilliant imaginations of his” better-than-average” graduate students at UCLA. He lives in Topanga, California with wife Silvia.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Start, Here Are Four Confessions:

1. If “confessess” in this blog’s title makes you think of sexy reality TV, please know that these less lurid, but very real confessions are a professor’s regrets about my academic arrogance, my ambivalence toward corrupt colleagues, and a failure to share the tools of my trade with anyone but professionals.
2. Arrogance is a familiar trait among us professors at fancy universities. I learned elitism at the University of Chicago, where we looked down at most other social science faculties. Berkeley and UCLA shaped me to embrace ancient, but powerful academic customs that separated us from “ordinary” people. We distanced ourselves with a traditional belief in concealing clinical methods from the public. Non professionals were sure to misuse professional trade secrets. Such narrow-minded nonsense stayed with me until my own research center (at UCLA) debunked the dangers of empowering people with tools to make life more fulfilling. Concealing those helpful tools from the public was, and is, an awful waste of useful psychology. My misguided beliefs contributed to that waste over decades. Opposing that waste is one motive for building this blog.
3. Generosity is not the main motive for this blog. Giving methods and ideas away gets me valuable feedback on how they work. Some feedback will be on my stuff. That’s so important to me because my books and programs have been scattered around the country with scarce feedback beyond professional reviews. It’s been like being in a one-way conversation with someone silent—a lonely feeling. I’m looking for two way conversations on this blog.
4. One of my big regrets is remaining silent about a colleague’s apparent bad behavior toward a student. I should have expressed my concerns directly, but remained prudent, frustrated, and useless. As a “proper” assistant professor, I wasn’t eager to attack a senior professor capable of damaging my career in a heartbeat. Doing nothing about the possible mistreatment of a student makes me ashamed. I’ll tell the story when this blog becomes more comfortable for me.