On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, psychologist, author and radio talk show host Dr. Dan Gottlieb continues a multi-show discussion of the introspective month of Elul, which prefaces the Jewish High Holiday season.
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Dan began his practice in 1969 after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees at Temple University. As a young psychologist, his early career specialized in addictions where he ultimately was the director of a community based treatment program in Philadelphia. He was also a graduate of the highly respected Family Institute of Philadelphia, a program that later elected him as president.
During this time he became a respected clinician, teacher and supervisor of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers. He taught at Hahnemann University and consulted and taught with most of the universities throughout the region.
Personally, he was happily married and had loved being a father to his young daughters. However, his early successes were tragically interrupted.
In 1979 Dan was in a near fatal automobile accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down. As expected, there were years of despair and depression. He experienced loss on top of loss as his wife left the marriage and passed away several years later. And in the ensuing years he mourned the loss of his sister and his parents. And for the last three decades, he has been observing life with what he calls “a curious mind and an open heart.” In doing so, he has learned valuable lessons about what it means to be human and how adversity can teach us how to live better and love better.
Despite this adversity, he resumed his private practice which was to grow substantially over the next several decades. In addition to his practice, he has continued to lecture, train and supervise a variety of healthcare professionals.
From 1985 until last year, Daniel Gottlieb hosted “Voices in the Family,” an award-winning mental health call-in radio show aired on WHYY 90.9 FM, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate. He stepped down from his weekly show and now does six specials a year in front of live audiences.
Because of his life achievements including Letters to Sam, which was a best seller in Taiwan, Dan was given the “Fervent Love of Life” award by the President of Taiwan, captured in the picture above.
His most recent book, The Wisdom We’re Born With: Restoring Faith In Ourselves, was released in 2015, to rave reviews from mental health professionals around the country. All of his royalties from all of his books have been donated to children’s charities locally and internationally.
In addition to his writing and radio show, he delivered over 1000 lectures all over the world on a variety of topics affecting the well-being of people, families and the larger community.
As a result of his accomplishments, he has received awards from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the Center for Mental Health Services, the Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists, the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Association, the Council for Relationships and many more.
The essence of his philosophy can be found on his business card. After his name there are no degrees and no fancy titles. His card simply says “Daniel Gottlieb. Human.”
Through personal and professional experience, Dan has learned that our greatest suffering is alienation and loneliness. That is these powerful emotions can produce prejudice, hatred, violence, withdrawal and depression. He has learned that all humans long for human contact, compassion and understanding. And without compassion, our spirits wither.
When asked to summarize his life’s work, he says simply: “I teach kindness.”