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 at Belmont Institute in Philadelphia. At the time he was director of two outpatient clinics and one inpatient unit supervising over 30 staff. 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 highly 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.
From 1993 until 2008, he wrote a highly regarded column for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled: “Inside Out,” reflecting his perspective on the intersection of the events in our world and the events in our minds and hearts. He has also published 5 books, including the international bestseller: Letters to Sam: A Grandfather’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life .
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.
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.”
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