I began working for The Gottman Institute in 1997. That’s when I first met Andy Greendorfer, a fellow Certified Gottman Therapist. Along with a small group of clinicians, Andy and I staffed The Art and Science of Love workshops that Julie and John Gottman were presenting in Seattle at the time. We quickly formed a strong connection. He was engaging, funny, and dedicated to helping people. He was a man who embodied emotional and social intelligence.
Andy and I became great friends as we worked together over the years. Other therapists joined the team as the workshops grew and became more popular. After staffing more than 70 workshops, the Gottman Method is truly in my bones and cells.
But over and over again, Andy and I both heard the same feedback from couples: “What’s next?” Or we heard later from couples, “The workshop was great, but now I realize I’m only using a part of it. What else can we do?”
So finally one weekend, Andy and I said to each other, why not? Why not create the next step for those who wanted more practice? We were encouraged by the Gottmans. We laughed and joked and brainstormed with each other. Excitement accelerated. We met many times until we had created our new manual, carefully approved by Julie Gottman.
We created what was then called the “Refresher Workshop.” We thought carefully about where couples got stuck or had trouble integrating the concepts and tools taught in The Art and Science of Love. We then brought new tools to help in those areas. It was a review, but with added information and new exercises.
Andy and I presented the Refresher Workshop for the first time with great feedback and wonderful support from The Gottman Institute. We had two therapists who were our regular assistants, Peg Davies and Mike Rediger. They were helpful in our development process. Each time we presented the workshop, Andy and I would brainstorm how to enhance the experience for couples.
Andy and I both enjoyed presenting the workshop, especially seeing couples really integrating the information and exercises. Many couples chose to take the workshop more than once because each time they heard something a little differently.
Sadly for all of us at The Gottman Institute, Andy developed cancer. He battled with grace and awareness. During his various treatments, he continued his dedication to clients, family, and friends. He was inspiring with his love of life, even in the most difficult times. His sense of humor intact, he and I enjoyed many close and deep conversations about his process and his views of life and death. Just before he died, he was in good spirits as The Gottman Institute staff and therapists honored him with a beautiful dinner celebration of his many contributions.
The Refresher Workshop took a hiatus after he passed away. Our sadness was great. But the feedback I heard at The Art and Science of Love workshops continued: What’s next? What else can we do?
So with another moment of inspiration, I decided to rewrite the manual and asked Mike Rediger to join as co-presenter. Mike agreed and the process began again. Brainstorming with the new manual brought new insights. Mike contributed his own ideas and thoughts.
Mike and I have presented what is now called The Art and Science of Love 2 workshop twice a year for several years now. The Art and Science of Love 2 is a true follow-up to The Art and Science of Love workshop. Connection, empathy, presence, feelings, and attunement are all concepts we encourage in the Gottman Method and we emphasize at The Art and Science of Love 2.
The Art and Science of Love 2 continues to be based on the groundbreaking research of John and Julie Gottman that has proven to be valuable to couples—full of practical findings for what to do in relationships and what to avoid. We enjoy presenting the workshop to a smaller group of 25 to 30 couples compared to the much larger Art and Science of Love. We can interact more with the couples that way, as well as have Gottman-trained assistants help us when couples need support.
Couples have shared that the review we present and the range of new tools and concepts given can be transformational in their relationship. And because couples work very hard at our workshop, they earn the chocolate-covered strawberries we provide at the end.
Each time we present The Art and Science of Love 2, we remember and salute Andy Greendorfer. Even though he is no longer with us, his legacy continues to inspire and encourage couples, just as he would have wanted.