Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman on Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love | PoP 349

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Ever wondered how to go beyond clinical work? Wanting to delve deeper into couples therapy? Needing some advice for becoming a speaker or trainer?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman about some behind the scenes stories, what its like for 2 marriage experts to get into a fight, the origins of some of their greatest research and implementation, how to market yourself as a speaker and a trainer.

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Meet Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman

Dr. Julie is the Co-Founder and President of The Gottman Institute. A highly respected clinical psychologist, she is sought internationally by media and organizations as an expert advisor on marriage, domestic violence, gay and lesbian adoption, same-sex marriage, and parenting issues. She is the co-creator of the immensely popular The Art and Science of Love weekend workshops for couples, and she also co-designed the national clinical training program in Gottman Couples Therapy. She is author/co-author of five books: Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, And Baby Makes Three, The Marriage Clinic Casebook, 10 Principles for Doing Effective Couples Therapy, The Man’s Guide to Women, and forthcoming in 2019 , Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

Find out more by visiting the Gottman Institute website, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube.

Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman’s Story

Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman was born in Portland, Oregon. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology at Colorado College in 1974. In the years following college, Dr. Julie completed an M.Ed. in Community Mental Health Counseling from Northeastern University Graduate School of Education in 1976 and later, lived in India and Nepal for a year that included serving people in poverty in Calcutta. After returning to the U.S. in 1979, she earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology in 1981 and Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego in 1985.

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman about the origins of some of their greatest research and implementation as well as how to market yourself as a speaker and a trainer.

Dreams Within Conflict

When couple’s are gridlocked in conflict, taking very opposite sides, they’ll escalate their quarrels. They’ll sweep it under the rug sometimes because it’s too big, too scary to talk about and they’ll have huge fights.

There is a solution to and a better approach to take:

  • Slow everything down
  • One person is the speaker and one person is the listener
  • The listener is not allowed to bring up their own point of view until its their turn to be the speaker
  • The job of the listener is to read some questions that Dr’s John and Julie Gottman have devised, in the order they are written
  • Those questions take the understanding of the other person’s position to a much deeper level

The Clinical Application of the Research

Nothing is purely prescriptive in the clinical world.

You have to take a couple, where they sit in the moment and then connect with where they are. Then help them process what past issues may be contaminating their current communication. You have to zero in on where the couple is and where the individual is.

What Clinicians Should Focus on

Normalize a mistake they’ve made or regrets they have by sharing a story of when you’ve done something similar to that.

  • Offer a sliding scale
  • Be very sensitive to the language of your clients
  • Listen to the humor that they might use
  • Share a bit of a personal story

Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

In this book we created 12 topics of conversations, including the questions that couples could discuss with each other.

This book is a really entertaining, fun, but informative way to know how you might want to enhance your relationship if you’re already in one, if you want to go deeper in your committed relationship or if you’re in a new relationship and want to know if it has potential to be a lasting relationship.

Going Beyond Clinical Work

Experiment in small ways and grow it big.

  • Tailor your focus – what are you really passionate about and who do you really want to help the most
  • Put together a talk about what you’re passionate about, make sure this includes research
  • Start reaching out to give free talks

The Gottman Institute have put together Level 1 Training which will give you new insights into treatment for couples who struggle, using proven assessment techniques and intervention strategies. To get started today, save $50 on the Level 1 online course when you visit gottman.com/joe

Books by Dr.Julie


Other books mentioned in this episode:


Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] Are you ready to see your private practice grow exponentially this calendar year? If so, listen up. Brighter Visions’ having their biggest sale of the year right now. When you sign up anytime in January, you can discount your entire first year with Brighter Vision down to only $49 a month, a savings of $120 from their standard pricing. Head on over to brightervision.com/JOE to learn more. As the worldwide leaders in website design for therapists, Brighter Vision has helped thousands of private practices create a professional online brand that attracts the type of clients that you will love working with. When you sign up with brighter vision, their team of website designers will make you a website that is centered around filling your work schedule with your ideal client. So, what are you waiting for? Their biggest sale of the year won’t last forever. For the month of January, you can lock in your first-year rate for Brighter Vision at only $49 a month, $120 savings from their base plan. Head on over to brightervision.com/JOE to get the discount of the year.
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 349.
Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am so excited that you’re here. We have an awesome series going on this month of just power houses. Last week we had Kelly Higdon, week before that we had Hal Elrod, just framing out our new year in a really awesome way. You know, I remember during my practicum, no, it was my internship, I had a supervisor and he was a priest that also was a school counselor and also did private practice work. So, he’s a busy dude. And I remember him, he was the first person that introduced me to the Gottman’s research, Dr. John and Julie Gottman, their research, their practice, all that they were learning about couples and relationships. And the one thing that stood out to me at the time was that if a couple is holding hands, it’s really hard to get really pissed off at each other because if you squeeze too hard when you’re getting mad, it just naturally kind of brings the blood pressure down. And what’s interesting is the summer I was doing my internship was also the same summer I was getting married.
And so, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, that book, was one that my wife and I read together that first year of marriage. It was one that we gave lots of couples that just sat on their bookshelves until things got rocky for them and then they pulled it out. It’s still one, that and the art and science of love workshop. That to me is just essential for couples to go through and to understand. There’s just so much research and practical information that John and Julie have been able to just distill into an easy to understand way. In this interview, it was so fun to get to know Julie more, and to get some of the behind-the-scenes stories that I don’t know that she told anywhere else. If she has told them, it sounded like it was the first time to me.
We had so much fun together. We talked about what it’s like for two marriage experts to get in a fight. We talked about some of the origins of some of their greatest research and implementation. We looked at all sorts of different ways to look forward in regards to our clinical work and also just how do you market yourself as a speaker and as a trainer and kind of the behind-the-scenes on how the Gottman’s have done that too.
It was just fascinating to be able to interview just such a powerhouse. You know, Doctor Julie Gottman is going to go down in history as one of the people that reshaped the way that we do our clinical work and to be able to spend time with her was just such an honor. So, without any further ado, I give you Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman.
Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. Julie is the co-founder and president of the Gottman Institute, a highly respected clinical psychologist. She is sought internationally by media and organizations as an expert advisor on marriage, domestic violence, gay and lesbian adoption, same sex marriage and parenting issues. She’s the co-creator of the immensely popular, The Art and Science of Love weekend workshop for couples.
She also co-designed the national clinical training program in Gottman Couple’s Therapy. She’s the author and co-author of five books and the forthcoming one in 2019, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Julie, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[JULIE GOTTMAN] Thank you so much Joe. It’s a pleasure being here.
[JOE] Oh, I just have to start with, Christina and I came out two years ago to Seattle and you and John put on The Art and Science of Love Workshop and you know, coming in as a therapist to those sorts of things is you always have some apprehension even with the Gottman’s. And I left, my mind was blown. I had so many tools for our marriage and it was just amazing. So, thank you for that from a personal level, putting that on. There were so many couples there that were impacted.
[JULIE] Oh, I’m so glad to hear that, Joe. Thanks so much.
[JOE] Yeah, well I would love to just reverse a couple of years and hear how you and John met. You guys, talk about couples and you’ve studied couples and, tell us that story.
[JULIE] Well, that’s a story that is fairly personal but a long story short, I had finished graduate school at the ripe old age of 35. John had decided to leave University of Illinois where he was a professor for 10 years and he got a job at University of Washington. I had finished graduate school in Southern California and came north. I was a little bit parched in Southern California having come originally from the northwest. So, we arrived in Seattle, each of us traveling between about 1300 and 2000 miles.
And we came to Seattle within about three months of each other. And when I first got there, I knew no one and I decided I had to have a group of girlfriends before I ventured into the dating world. So, that was absolutely essential. So, I made some good buddies and then six months later, it just so happened that John and I met and I think after five months he proposed and, after I got over a major anxiety attack, I said yes. And we married at 11 months and that was, let’s see, almost 32 years ago.
[JOE] Oh, that’s so wonderful. Christina and I, we had dated in high school, then went our separate ways in college. And then when we reconnected after I was finishing up grad school, we dated for four months, got engaged in four months, later got married. It was one of those when, you know, and we’re approaching 15 years now. I’m wondering, you know, as a psychologist, as someone that’s a researcher that is well known for your clinical work, I can imagine that as a couple, it can feel like you spend so much time working, studying relationships. How do you bring that home in regards to just your own relationship?
Because I know that that as a counselor, sometimes it’s like, “Well, okay, let’s not get clinical with each other here.” My wife’s an occupational therapist and we want to have, you know, that work kind of stay at work. But then you also, I mean, it’s your relationship. How do you as two well-known couples’ experts handle that in regards to developing just your own connection with each other?
[JULIE] Well, one of the things about being considered relationship experts is that when we completely blow it at home, either one of us can say, “You call yourself a marriage expert?” It’s wonderful. It’s great fun. But to tell you the truth, when we first met, I was all about individual therapy and group therapy, and I was treating people who had been severely traumatized, and or suffering from addiction or cancer. Those were my big specialties, especially trauma. And I have private practice I developed in Seattle and it took about eight years or so for John and I to really join forces when we were sitting out in a canoe in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. And I was saying, “John, you know, we’ve got to take this stuff out of the ivory tower. We have to bring this to clinicians. It’s just too good. We need to help people.”
And John, in his classic passion said, “Why?” [crosstalk] And I said, “Oh, come on sweetie. We can do it. We can do it.” And so, we began at that point to develop our theories and interventions and so on. So, in the first years of our marriage, we really didn’t have these tools because they hadn’t been invented yet. So, as we were studying the tapes of couples and then seeing what the successful couples did, we really began to create the interventions that could teach our clinicians as well as couples what to do with couples in distress, who are really severely suffering. What did the successful couples do to make their relationships better?
And as we created, we learned and we tried to put into practice. And I’ll never forget we had this one huge fight. It was just a major conflict and it was so interesting where John had really wanted to just have our home base in Seattle, and if we went anywhere else, you know, maybe we would just rent a little place for a week or two in the summer, something like that.
And I had grown up in Portland, Oregon, where it’s beautiful, beautiful forest and, oh, it’s fabulous. And I had been raised two blocks away from one of the country’s largest wild municipal forest. And I spent almost all my childhood in that forest, including sleeping out in that forest from time to time as a kid. So, I really wanted a place in a beautiful wild environment where I could access trees, beauty, the sea, much more easily than in the city of Seattle. So, that was the core of our big fight.
And what ended up happening is we were watching the tapes of how couples resolve these big gridlock complex. We saw that the couples talked very deeply about their own dreams, their own backgrounds in relation to their positions on an issue, their own childhood histories, and really their core values and ideals, their dream for what they wanted their future to look like. And John and I decided to put that into practice at home.
We tried this conversation and eventually what we did is we really structured it in such a way that it became the dream within conflict conversation that we now teach couples as well as teaching clinicians how to conduct that exercise with couples. And it was the key for us resolving this issue. Long story short, I got my way. We got to have a cabin on. We compromised that.
[JOE] Well, for those that aren’t familiar with the basic structure of that dream within, can you just bullet point just the quick steps of that. I don’t want to spend the whole interview kind of going through the methods, but just so that people have an idea of what it is.
[JULIE] Sure. So, what we’re doing is, you know, you know, as couples’ clinicians that when couples are gridlocked to on a conflict taking very opposite sides, they’ll escalate their quarrels, they’ll sweep it under the rug sometimes because it’s too big, it’s too scary to talk about. They’ll have huge fights on the other side of that too. So, essentially, here’s what you do. You slow everything down. One person’s the speaker, one person’s the listener, and the listener is not allowed to bring up their own point of view until it’s their turn to be the speaker.
The job of the listener is simply to read some questions that John and I have devised in the order they are written and then just listen to the speaker’s answers. And those questions take the understanding of the other person’s position to a much deeper level. Takes it into childhood history, may be some trauma in the background, values underlying purpose or meaning, all of Viktor Frankl, which John and I both love, that sense of purpose or meaning and purpose, and the ideal dream, the person has a for how they would like a resolution to look for this particular issue.
So, each person talks about their position on this issue, guided by those questions. And by the end of that exercise, when both people have had a chance to really fully explore the other person’s position and the other person feels they can really speak their position without interruption, often what we see is much greater compassion, much greater understanding. And thus, it becomes much easier to build a compromise. And we have an exercise for that too, without moving into the huge escalated quarrels that we tend to see otherwise.
[JOE] Wow. So, as you two were developing the clinical application of the research, how did that flow go? I mean, I know that it’s been years that you guys have been developing this. So, I imagine that that’s quite a process to dissect. But I would imagine that there’d be some give and take as to how clinical-to-be versus how research-to-be. How have you been able to navigate that?
[JULIE] That’s such a great question, Joe, because, what I can tell you is with a heck of a lot of fighting.
[JOE] Basically, you’re developing a program to help yourself. That’s what I hear you say.
[JULIE] It was so funny. So, as we developed our political tools we, so, first we created some interventions, but John had not really practiced clinically for a whole lot of years. Maybe since his internship or something. He was just primarily been doing research. And that was primary research mostly. And then eventually he got into a little tiny bit of clinical research, but very little, you know, “Will this one exercise change a conversation from one conversation to another conversation?” So, meanwhile, I had conducted about 20 years of clinical practice, I’ve been doing, when we started all of this. So, John had the idea as a scientist, might that you could follow a prescription, a recipe. You do this first and that first, and this and that and this and that. 14 sessions done.
Meanwhile, I had worked with very severely distressed people and I knew that nothing is purely prescriptive in the clinical world. You have to really take a couple where they sit in the moment and then connect with where they are, help them process what past issues may be contaminating their current communication, help them to deal with physiological flooding that may occur even during the session, give them antidotes for the four horsemen that is criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.
But also, life is happening between the sessions, let’s say if they’re weekly. So, what that means is that nothing is prescriptive. You have to really zero in on where that couple is and where each individual is. And I’m separating those out as well. Within the context of 4:00 PM on Thursday afternoon, where are they? And respond with clinically good intervention. And compassion, empathy, all the wonderful tools that our clinicians have out there along with these interventions.
And that can extend the length of the therapy that can make the therapy move back and forth between perhaps dealing with one issue, dealing with another, dealing with crises and so on. So, John wanted prescription, I didn’t, once again, we compromised and I won. [crosstalk] But at the same time I too was trained as a scientist and so I had the highest regard for research and what research has shown us to do and what research has shown us not to do.
So, you know, what that means is that they’re actually Joe, really was compromise in terms of only using interventions and tools that research good solid methodologically sound research had shown us, really works with couples and not relying on somebody’s opinion, somebody’s conjectures, speculation. So, it was really a compromise in terms of my talking about the individual issues that come in and the pacing, the rhythm, the fluidity of the therapy. But at the same time applying very deep and meaningful interventions for couples that came directly from the research and no place else.
[JOE] Yeah. I think it’s such a challenge to take this research and then apply it to clinicians who are trained academically and still have that mind. But then the next step to then create The Art and Science of Love Workshop where it’s regular old couples that may not have higher education, they may be from a variety of different backgrounds. How did you work through that?
Because my experience with Christina in that workshop was you had such a great pacing with each unit where you talked about a little bit of the science, a little bit of interesting stories usually from you and John’s life, and then had a clinical application for the couple, then they’d go off in groups and you as a couple you’d work on the scale and then debrief it. That flow really works in my opinion. It worked for us. And it was effective, kind of multifaceted experience. How did you two land on that model? Was that where you kind of just knew from the beginning or was that kind of some iterations of that as well?
[JULIE] Well, I’m hearing several questions, Joe, in terms of not making things to dry or a kind of academia, making it something that everybody can relate to including people who haven’t had the highest levels of education and creating a flow from that, that a much broader spectrum of people can relate to. So, how did we arrive at that? Here’s how.
Both, so, John originally came from a very, very working-class background. He was a Holocaust refugee he didn’t get this country till he was three years old. He went into the tenements of Brooklyn. And so, you know, he was really surrounded by working class people. And he’s always been able to relate well to working class people who may not have, you know, graduate degrees and so on. Meanwhile, my background was much more upper middle class, but my work always involved people really on the streets, so to speak.
So, what that means for example, is that I worked first in the Boston ghetto in Roxbury with heroin addicts, Puerto Rican families where there was lots of struggle with poverty and with also being refugees. I also worked with domestic violence in that broader community. Of course, there’s domestic violence everywhere, but when you put the stresses of poverty on top of it and racism on top of it, it’s terribly difficult for families to really survive. And so, I was working with that population for three years and then I worked in a psychiatric crisis unit in a hospital at the University of Oregon Medical School for three years. Then I went to India and I lived in India for a year where I was literally working on the streets with the poorest of the poor. And that was in 1977 before all the tech revolution.
I came back here in graduate school, worked with PTSD, worked with lots of combat vets. And eventually my internship was with the VA Outpatient Clinic on skid row downtown Los Angeles. So, I’ve always worked with people who have struggled for survival in countering forces like racism, poverty, families that are broken, addiction, severe PTSD and so on. So, we combined all of that knowledge and in fact, in 2003 through five or so, we created a program for couples in poverty that was for staff at family agencies to deliver to their own clientele, their own community.
And I taught that program in six different states, some of the poorest counties in both the deep South, in Baltimore, in the Bronx, you know, all over the country as part of a great big, huge national study. And that whole program was really designed for couples in poverty. So, combined, we had a lot of background knowledge and clinical work in helping people who weren’t just highly educated, the highly verbal, the worried well, but people who struggled with education, had been shamed by schools many times, didn’t feel comfortable in that kind of academic setting. And putting all of that together, we wove together our program for couples, the couple’s workshop you attended, so that we could reach everybody, not just people with graduate degrees.
[JOE] Well, I mean with such a diverse amount of experiences, and I feel like I have this challenge too, I worked in Haiti for a while with a micro finance program. And when you’ve seen that level of poverty and you’ve worked in inner cities and have seen how so many people live, like what has that done to you in regards to what you would hope clinicians would do that we’re maybe not doing or we’re not focusing on?
I guess I’m kind of sorting through my thoughts as I asked the question. I think my real question is knowing that there’s these big issues, like what should clinicians be focusing on even more, and I know it’s moving away from maybe as much of the kind of the Gottman couples work, but what would you hope that counselors would do with addressing these kinds of issues and helping create a better world?
[JULIE] God, what a marvelous question? Thank you for that. I think one of the first things I would do is offer a sliding scale. If you possibly can do so, offer a sliding scale. Number two, be very sensitive to the language of your clients and try your best to tune in so deeply to that language that you find yourself matching it rather than using great big multisyllabic words.
[JOE] Yeah, irony of that sentence.
[JULIE] Okay, get into the rhythm of your client’s language, listen to the humor that they may use, don’t be afraid to swear if they’re swearing every other word. It will help them be more comfortable. It’ll help them relate to you. Share on occasion a little bit of a personal story so that they don’t feel like you’re such an authority figure. You’re actually human.
And in particular, one of the things that I like to do, with everybody actually, no matter who they are, is to share stories of my own failing, my own mistakes, not my successes, but my mistakes so that they realize that I’m human just like they are. And, they don’t have to be afraid of my disapproval. Of course, they will be anyway to begin with because that’s typically how therapy begins.
And I’m not talking about spending hours sharing your personal stuff. Obviously, there’s a limit to that, but dropping it in here and there, when people are expressing their own shame about themselves, you can normalize the mistakes that they’ve made, perhaps, the regrets they have about something they’ve done by sharing a story of when you’ve done something similar to that. Yeah, you’re not perfect either, that all of us make mistakes. So, that’s another piece of it.
[JOE] Yeah. You know, when you said kind of meeting the clients where they’re at in regards to how they speak or they’re acting, you know, it triggered in me a Steve Greenman, one of my clinicians here at Mental Wellness Counseling. He’s a 1099 contractor so, I can’t tell him what to wear. And for years in the summer he’d wear shorts and flip flops. And I just was like, “Man, that’s so unprofessional.” And I never brought it up and one day he brought it up and I don’t know if he sensed that I was wondering, and he specifically works with people that are dealing with different types of addictions.
And he said, “I have all my addiction clients today and I know if I show up in professional garb versus this, you know, buttoned up with shorts and flip flops and a hoodie, I know that they’re going to connect with me different when I appear more like them.” And I’m so glad I didn’t just come out swinging at the beginning and just like say, “Why aren’t you dressing up or …” It’s amazing how that intuition was so solid in him. And it reminds me of what you were just saying of just meeting people where they’re at so that they open up.
[JULIE] Right. That’s a wonderful story. It’s a perfect example. Now, I don’t know if I’d wear flip flops —
[JOE] Me neither.
[JULIE] I swear I’d fall on my face.
[JOE] I sometimes wear tennis shoes, but there at least nicer tennis shoes than normal. But I have a standing desk, so I’m on my feet quite a bit as I’m doing the online work. I’d love to hear a little bit about this new book that’s coming out in 2019. I know there’s so many things we could cover and I mean, we could go on for hours, but this is coming out next year, at the time of this recording, when this goes live, it’ll be 2019. Tell me a little bit about this book that’s coming out.
[JULIE] Okay. So, one of the things that we’ve really seen in our own clinical work, and I’m sure a lot of clinicians have seen this too in our audience here is that couples will get together and they end up maybe committing to each other or even marrying without really knowing the other person at a deeper level, without really having had the big conversations, things about, how do you handle money or what kind of sex do you really like? Or what does trust mean to you? What does commitment mean to you?
So, in this book, what we are doing is, we did a little experiment. We created about 12 different conversations, topics of conversations, including the questions that couples could discuss together with each other. And then we brought in about 300 couples. We gave them these conversations to have a topic for each date and we had them go on 12 dates.
We gave them some parameters around which to discuss these topics. And we also gave them possible fun activities to do to accompany the dates and so on. And they went from anything lighter like how do you like to have fun to things that were much, much deeper, what is your practice of spirituality if you have one? And if you don’t what’s your deeper purpose of being in the world? What does that kind of spiritual component of your own life look like for you? And, we structured these dates. The 300 couples took them, and then we videotaped feedback from these couples after each date. And several of the dates were just duds. They went nowhere, but also couples really, really loved and had very, really cool conversations about some of the other topics and sets of questions that we presented them with.
And what we then did is we, John primarily, I really commend him for this, listened to pieces of those 300 couples’ dates and stories that they told each other, answers they gave each other, and we incorporated those into this book so that each chapter represents a particular type of date to have, which is really a particular conversation to have with questions to discuss with one another, settings in which to have these discussions, just suggestions for them, ways to handle things if some conflict arises or doesn’t quite go the way you want it to. And we fed into each chapter some of the stories of what other couples had said and also what John and I had experienced discussing these topics as well as two co-authors.
So, we wrote this book with another couple, Doug and Rachel Carlton Abrams and the four of us wrote it together and with the help of Leora Love who is a fabulous writer and, we told personal stories all the way through these chapters. So, the book comes out as a really entertaining, fun, but also very informative way to know how you might want to win your relationship if you’re already in a committed one. How to go deeper in your relationship or how to know if you’re in a new relationship, whether this partner is really, you know, has got potential for you as a lasting relationship.
[JOE] Wow. I love how even in writing a book about conversations, there was such a research component as to what works and what people resonated with and which ones were duds. I think so often kind of therapists, counselor types, we have big hearts and big ideas, but we don’t take the time to even just survey like what’s working here. And whether that’s a blog post or a Facebook Live or whatever content we’re creating, we don’t have to do a 300-couple research study. We can see what’s working if we’re just on our own website. So, I love that no matter what you’re applying that research lens and then getting a higher quality of product on the other side.
[JULIE] Yeah, exactly. That is our mission. That’s exactly right.
[JOE] Oh, I love it. I love it. You know, I have a couple more questions and I want to talk about the people that are really inspired to do something beyond the office. So, a ton of our listeners have a group practice or an individual practice, maybe someone who focuses on trauma and EMDR or something along those lines, but they want to take it national. They want to create e-courses, they want to be speakers, they want to write books. They want to do something beyond just the individual work. What recommendations would you have for them in regards to kind of some of those first steps to start to get out there a little bit more beyond just the clinical work?
[JULIE] Oh God. First of all, let me just say bless you, bless you, bless you. That was a view and I bet that’s a lot of people who were wanting to do more than what you’re doing inside your four walls of clinical office. So, one of the things that you can start with is trying to, first of all, tailor your focus. So, what is your focus? What do you, and when I ask that question, what I’m really asking is what are you passionate about? What are you really passionate about? Who do you really want to help the most? That’s what you want to think about. What do you love doing? Who do you want to reach the most? And with what kinds of issues? For me, it was working with incest and sexual abuse and PTSD, as well as a combat PTSD.
All right? Then what? What you start doing is put together a talk. Put together, maybe like a 45-minute talk about what you’re passionate about and be sure that that talk includes a little bit of research. Don’t give a talk without knowing the research because you’re bound to have some academics someday in your audience who will ask you an impossible question and you have to know the answer, or at least guess the answer. And then, what you can do is start reaching out to give free talks about that subject. And you never know who’s really going to be out there in your audience. For example, when I first did my individual practice in Seattle, I really wanted to give talks about incest and how to survive incest, what kind of help is needed, and so on.
And so, I reached out to different places and one of the places I reached out to give a free talk was a vocational training institute in Seattle. And at that vocational training institute, there was a whole population of grownups, mostly, or young adults who didn’t have much education, who had grown up with some stresses, some trauma, and were really looking to improve their lives. Well guess what? A lot of those had been sexually abused, especially the women. And so, you could hear a pin drop as I gave that talk. And with that talk, told some stories, gave hope, lots of hope that one can recover from this and lead a wonderful life and how you get there. And then, had lots of time for questions that they could ask and questions were popping like popcorn. So, that’s one of the first steps.
Give talks like that in your community about what you’re passionate about. Secondly, if you want to train clinicians, think about, this is, for example, something that I did recently, that is now online. I have worked with trauma my whole career, that’s over 40 years and I wanted to really create a program to train clinicians how to treat PTSD within the context of couple’s therapy because I think it works better than almost anything else, including individual therapy. So, I’ve worked very hard to create that training program, created my own structure for how to treat trauma within that couple’s context, and experimented with it, then taught it, several times and got feedback, refined it and finally, we video-taped it, and then put it online and it’s become quite a popular program to access online as part of treating PTSD and treating affairs. It’s all single online program.
Another person, a certified clinician named Robert Navarra, who has been an expert in treating addiction within couple’s therapy and is fabulous, has been doing it for decades. He created a marvelous, wonderful program. He certified in our methods, he’s a master trainer of ours, and he created this wonderful program which we then took into the Gottman Institute. We put that online, that’s become popular. So, you experiment in small ways and then grow it big. Include research, includes stories, include your own clinical knowledge, include your passion and lots of time for questions.
[JOE] I love it. There’s a book called Talk Like Ted where Carmine Gallo, he looked at the top 200 Ted talks and found what they all have in common. And it’s interesting because it’s also what they find in the top New York Times bestsellers and nonfiction. And that’s it. They’re 40% story, they’re 40% research and then 20%, here’s the main takeaway. And I think so often people just say, “Here’s what you need to take away. Here’s my points.”
But you know, our brains are trained to listen to stories around a campfire and nowhere that lions are going to eat somebody. And so, a story and research are so important. I’m so glad that you emphasized that in the talks. Julie, I know we could go on forever, but I want to be respectful of your time. And, the last question I always end with is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[JULIE] Here’s what I would want them to know. And I say this with all humility. No matter what technique you follow, no matter what method you follow, you yourself are the most powerful instrument of healing. You yourself, your heart, your spirit, your mind, your passion, your ability to love and connect. Don’t be afraid to love your clients. That’s what heals them.
[JOE] Oh, such great advice. If you want to connect with Julie’s work, you can head on over to gottman.com. Also, Julie, you guys are giving $50 off of level one training. Gottman.com/Joe is where you can get that. I’ve gone through level one and level two and if you’re working with couples in relationships and want to learn all these tools that Julie’s been talking about, heading over to gottman.com/Joe to get that $50 off. Julie, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[JULIE] Thank you so much, Joe. It’s been a total pleasure. Wonderful.
[JOE] Thanks. Have a nice day.
[JULIE] Thank you.
[JOE] I love how much ground we traveled together on that podcast to go from the clinical work to even just kind of the consulting and launching e-courses and speaking work. It’s just so amazing to see what Julie has done and what she continues to do. I’m really excited about this book that’s coming out in 2019.
You know, if you are looking for growing your practice, like I mean, a lot of you are, you can’t do it without an awesome website and that’s why we’re so excited Brighter Vision is the sponsor. Head on over to brightervision.com/Joe and you can get their deal of the year, $120 off this year. That’s crazy. That’s three months of free time when you look at it that only $49 a month. It’s so amazing. Nope, not quite three months, two months or so.
So, thanks so much for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Next week we have Mike Michalowicz, the author of Profit First and of the new book Clockwork. He’s an amazing guy. He knows business and he’s going to share some awesome tips with us. In fact, he responds to something I say with, I like it. I really like it and you’ll have to hear what that’s all about next week.

[JOE] Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We like it a lot. This podcast is designed to provide accurate authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither of the host, the guests or the publisher are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.