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.