Ph.D. is a relationship coach, workshop leader, and author. He received
a Doctorate in Psychology in 1975 from Stanford University, where he taught
psychology and codirected a National Science Foundation sponsored research
center. His research papers in psychobiology have been published in
major scientific and professional journals, and are widely quoted in college textbooks. He has extensive training
in cognitive and behavioral psychology, aimed at short term, goal-directed coaching to achieve specific practical results. For over a decade, he studied the psychology of personality structure with Helen Palmer (author of The Enneagram in Love and Work), focusing on how to resolve relationship distress caused by differences in personality styles. John has specialized training in somatic psychology, trauma resolution, and Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine (author of Waking the Tiger). Using training in brain science and attachment theory, John offers tools to help adults overcome reactive patterns and form a secure, happy, intimate bond. He has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT, the work of Sue Johnson (author of Hold Me Tight), and in a Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, the work of Stan Tatkin (author of Wired for Love).
John has been in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1980. Over the past three decades, he has also presented workshops in communication techniques and relationship skills at places like the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, the University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, and at venues throughout the Bay Area. He has given numerous professional training programs for counselors, therapists, coaches, and other helping professionals on how to effectively help clients improve their relationships and achieve personal growth. He was on Dr. John Gray's (author of the bestselling Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) referral list of couples counselors, and he worked with John Grinder, teacher of Tony Robbins and the developer of Neurolinguistic Programming, or NLP. Additionally, John has authored multiple relationship self-help books and created an interactive relationship self-help system, which can be explored on this website. He is currently writing a new book that integrates neurobiology and attachment theory in a way that helps couples engage in practices to build secure partnership and share in authentic, fulfilling intimacy.
Read more details about John's background...
from Past Clients
I dont know
how to begin to thank you for all you did for my partner and
me, and our relationship. We came to you seeking help and
understanding, and what we left with was far beyond our highest
expectations. You possess exceptionally unique skills
for moving people through difficult and sensitive topics and
situations with both competence and empathy, yet with strength
and conviction. Your passion and love for your work emanates
The amount of work
and preparation you did on all sorts of levels was apparent.
I felt very confident that we were working with a consummate professional in the area of relationships and personal growth,
development, and healing.
I have been doing
a lot of reflecting and soul-searching since spending those
precious three days with you. I believe the greatest gift
I took away from it was a personal and spiritual wakeup call.
I was awakened to see who I am and what I need to do to grow
individually and through my relationship. I was awakened to
who my partner is and his needs. I'm able to appreciate and
listen to him in an entirely different ways. I now have new
tools for dealing with situations as they arise. I truly believe
that were becoming soulmates as a result of our time
and experience with you.
Words cannot express
my thanks and gratitude.
Diane R. Ludgate, Ph.D. / Psychologist
and Corporate Trainer
from More Couples
"You saved our relationship.
We really couldn't have done it without you. We were going down into a deep hole. We were stuck and could not have come through it without
your help. As far as we are concerned, you saved the relationship.
So much so, that we've been giving your book as wedding presents.
And if we could afford it, we would give your retreat to all couples
we love. Your work is invaluable."
O and S, Mediator / Lawyer
"We were truely at a crossroad in our marriage. You gave us the tools we needed to communicate effectively, to have an understanding and appreciation for each others thoughts, personalities and needs. Through using these tools we have been able to heal old wounds and begin laying the foundation for a new, strong and healthy marriage. The knowledge you gave us is beyond words. Not only have we begun to understand our individual underlying fears and desires (and how to communicate them with each other), we are very excited to start applying this information to the way in which we communicate with and nurture our children."
— B and A, Executive / Sales Rep
"Your retreat greatly improved our marriage.
We were anxious when we got there. But we quickly became comfortable
in your presence. You showed us how to resolve issues which had
been threatening our stability as a couple. You taught us tools we continue to use over the year since our retreat with you.
This has helped us increase happiness, and kept us from falling back into old traps. We are very grateful."
A and C, Construction Engineer / Educator
"Thank you so much for giving us so many tools to improve our relationship.
When we came to you we were in a stalemate. It seemed that there
was no way to communicate. We got preoccupied by being busy and
we didn't even make time to try anymore. After the weekend with
you, we did not only learn to open up communication again. We found
ourselves sharing a whole new honeymoon all over again!"
J and V, Medical Administrator / Doctor
"Our retreat was utterly extraordinary, simply magnificent. John is a superbly skilled, wise, authentic, supportive guide. His program is magnificently suited to genuine transformation. The shifts we experienced, the understanding that emerged, and the capacities that we steadily and rapidly built, all went far beyond our wildest expectations of what could happen between two severely wounded, alienated people in two days. What did happen was an undeniable breakthrough. It was facilitated by John's incomparable presence, knowledge, ability to tune in to each of us and support us to bring forward our best. The intensive format worked amazingly well at safely revealing and healing toxic patterns. The tools we were given are priceless, elegant, simple, and they really work. The schedule, the homework, the containment, the safety, and the setting were all so supportive each step along the way. Our hearts are again open to each other; it feels like a miracle, but it's very grounded and real. I feel as if I've found my dearest friend again, still alive and breathing, and still in love with me, thank God. Moreover, I also regained access to my own sense of wholeness. I have opened up in ways I've been yearning for. This retreat has been a total blessing on every level. Thank you."
D and T, Therapist / Coach
"We did not know what to expect at
your retreat, whether it would be ineffective like counseling had
been, or overbearing like on TV talk shows. What we found was compassionate,
authentic and supportive, a coach that could mentor us in new tools
and show us ways out of the box we were stuck in. It was like a visit with the wise friend we always wish we had, who could
help us through our rough spots back to the love we originally shared."
D and M, Executive / Nurse
"We were stuck in a place where we
fought over stupid things. I felt so resentful that intimacy had
long ago stopped. We could be civil, but we felt the happiness we
used to have was lost. Your retreat helped us move through some
big blocks, understand new things, and heal issues we couldn't talk about. I discovered things about him I didn't know even after a decade of marriage! Deep, wonderful things. It's like I
found the great guy I originally met, only more so."
L and R, Mother / Hall of Fame Athlete
"I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the great help you offered us. We felt like we were on a real honeymoon, after we left our retreat with you. And we feel still blissfuly happy, being able to connect in different ways, with still many things to explore. Somehow I still feel as if a miracle had happened in a big way with you as a wonderful and dedicated guide. Once again I want to express my deep gratitude for your fantastic help! Amazing things you taught us, and so many helpful tools. We are in an unbelievable different mood. No longer bickering or fighting! Instead we experience enjoyment, happiness and thankfulness for the deep connection and love we found again."
H and C, Director / Musician
"The retreat opened doors for us to
renew the spark. We had grown complacent. We are now growing more
happy and passionate with each day. The same outside stresses are
still there in our lives, children and work. But the tools you gave
us help us to check in with each other on a daily basis, in ways
that open our hearts to each other and refresh our love for each
other. Thank you so much for this gift!"
J and R, Architect / Consultant
"We greatly appreciate all your work with us in our retreat with you. We both learned a great deal. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted now that I don't have a secret sadness/loneliness. I also now know that my partner really cares. You have a great gift - thank you for all your work with us. You helped us to really understand ourselves and each other - and to put value in our connection and relationship. "
G and L, Entrepeneur / Mother
"The retreat was a great two days, with excellent organization and materials. The weekend is a turning point in our relationship. It will be remembered as the place we got the tools to move into a loving and nurturing relationship. And given where we were when we got there, I'd say this... Even if a partner thinks they might not want to go to a couples retreat, how could you possibly go wrong in going?"
J and K, Sales / Real Estate