Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated


Articles by Dr. Friedman
Video and Audio Clips
Annotated Resource Links
Psychology Professionals

Dr. Will’s Perspective on Practicing Psychology:

Dr. Friedman's Practice
Dr. Friedman's Approach
Therapeutic Purposes
Credentials | Experience
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Dedication, Orientation and Acknowledgements

Dedication | Core Therapeutic Orientation | Resource Acknowledgements


A Clearinghouse For Sanity

You can bridge the gap through being more alert, that's why there is so much emphasis on being alert, aware, witnessing, watchful. Why? Because the more you become alert, the more of the unconscious becomes conscious.

God exists in eternity. The only point where eternity meets time is in the present. The present is the only time there is.
—Marianne Williamson

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
—Shakyamuni Buddha (The Buddha)

I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.
—Abraham Maslow

The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.
—Albert Einstein

To unveil, witness and live the sanity you were born with—your "original sanity"—is witnessing consciousness, the True Self and Awareness abiding in peace.
—Will Joel Friedman


The impetus and inspiration for writing and now offering the following articles throughout my career of over three decades was a riveting vision offered by psychologist George Miller, Ph.D. in a 1969 Presidential address as the President of the lead organization in the field, the American Psychological Association (APA). He powerfully encouraged psychologists to discover "how to give psychology away" to the world. This call to "give psychology away" has been further championed by more recent APA presidents Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D. and Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D. This website, and particularly the following articles and the entire "Annotated Resources" page, is warmly, respectfully and fondly dedicated to Drs. Miller, Seligman and Zimbardo and their visionary contribution which actually applies to all fields and all life, and is precisely what our Source timelessly gives and gives and gives without any consideration of reward or return.

In the very same spirit, the articles and links on this website are respectfully dedicated to American medical researcher, virologist and practicing medical doctor Jonas Salk, M.D. who is best known for the discovery and development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine made public in 1955. Until that time polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of postwar America. By 1952 polio was killing more people than any other communicable disease with over 300,000 cases and 58,000 deaths, mostly children, reported that year. United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the world's most recognized person with the disease. Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Salk) goes on to state: "He further endeared himself to the public by refusing to patent the vaccine for his personal profit, as he wished to see it disseminated as quickly and as widely as possible and patenting would have hampered this. When asked who owned the patent, Salk replied: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" Salk gave the polio vaccine away without thought of profit or gain in any way, purely to help meet a huge and pressing need in the United States and worldwide. This website aims, in its own humble way, to do the very same with the broad fields of psychology and psychotherapy.

George Demont Otis  View of Mt. Tam

The "Articles by Dr. Friedman" pages and the links available on the "Resources For Life" page have the purpose of empowering website visitors to be highly informed and self-responsible consumers of health care services in the broadest sense of the term. Further, the articles and links offer a plethora of opportunities for growth, development and evolvement in both the psychological and spiritual realms. I am convinced in my experience in the field of clinical Psychology for over three decades that beyond intelligence, readiness, finding someone to build a therapeutic rapport with, and someone who bring tools, skills and approaches that can be effective in the healing process, the most outstanding qualities people can bring to authentic and sustaining life transformation are an open awareness, a simple acknowledgment of not knowing, persistence, refusing to get discouraged and, above all, a rock solid commitment in action to grow. Paradoxically, these attributes and attitudes in living may be both the most available and rare qualities anyone can bring into life every moment.

Deep thanks is warmly extended to the visionary originators of sensitivity, growth and human potential trainings that have impacted and contributed so much to the quality of my life and understanding in action over the years. The benefits and influences from these trainings and workshops to my professional growth and development and all that is reflected on this website are incalculable. Profound gratitude is kindly offered to Werner Erhard (aka, Jack Rosenberg) who founded est which later morphed into Landmark as well as the Mastery training, John Hanley who founded Lifespring, Steward Emery who founded Actualizations, and Bob Trask who founded ARAS Foundation, among others.

In all you peruse throughout this website, and especially all the articles and links, the vision is for you to take good protective care of yourself at all times. Realizing that every one has their limits, sensitivities and areas of challenge, know what you can tolerate and what risks you are ready for. Above all, do no harm. You can always return to materials at a later date when you are feeling "ready" for the challenge. Consider setting your course for the optimal "just right" level of risk so you can receive what is most fitting and appropriate for you at this present moment. Enjoy.

Dedication | Core Therapeutic Orientation | Resource Acknowledgements

This practice of Presence-Centered Therapy is dedicated to and owes an incalculable debt to three pioneers of effective therapy who are dearly missed to this day.

First and foremost is psychologist Carl Rogers, Ph.D. (1902-1987), generally considered the "father of modern therapy," who over the three decades from the 1940's through the 1960's was the seminal trail-blazer for effective therapy with his Client-Centered Therapy approach. He proposed three basic elements he considered essential in the experiential treatment process of profoundly listening and being wholly present in therapy with clients: (1) Accurate empathy (i.e., "feeling with" clients to understand the client's responses fully and correctly); (2) Unconditional positive regard (i.e., deep acceptance, valuing and validating all aspects of the client); and (3) Congruence (i.e., bringing authenticity, speaking and behaving as you feel, and being who you are in this moment).

Although it was considered less than professional then, and is still looked askance upon to this day in professional circles, to call unconditional positive regard as showing love of one's client, this is precisely what it is. I was remarkably fortunate to meet Carl Rogers while I was attending the University of California at Irvine for my Bachelor's in the early 1970's and he was just as much a consummate gentleman, remarkably present and naturally respectful in person as he unwaveringly demonstrated in his writings and life. Undoubtedly Carl Rogers provided modern therapy its true foundation and heart in living profound presence, deep listening and heart-felt empathy.

Second is psychiatrist/psychologist Frederick (Fritz) S. Perls, M.D., Ph.D. (1893-1970), the originator of Gestalt Therapy and associated with the Esalen Institute near Big Sur, California since 1964. Gestalt Therapy promoted awareness, specifically awareness of the unity of all present feelings and behaviors as well as the contact of the self and the environment. He asserted, "...awareness per se—by and of itself—can be curative.” (Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, 1969, page 16). It took decades for me to truly understand that the follow through in action is included in the Awareness itself. In his workshops Fritz would repeatedly say, "Lose your mind and come to your senses." He famously wrote the Gestalt Prayer. The key idea of the statement is the focus on living in response to one's own needs, without projecting onto or taking introjects from others. It also expresses the idea that it is by fulfilling their own needs that people can help others do the same and create space for genuine contact; that is, when they "find each other, it's beautiful" according to Wikipedia.org.:

I do my thing and you do your thing.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful

If not, it can't be helped. [Perls, F. (1969) Gestalt Therapy Verbatim]

Ever a realist, psychotherapist Fritz Perls allegedly said that almost nobody comes to a therapist to truly transform their life, but only to gain a greater comfort with their neurosis (that is, better manage self-defeating behaviors). He is reputed to have said: "...nobody can stand truth if it is told to him. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable.", "Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge", "Don’t help your patients. Frustrate them. Push them back to their impasse where they have nowhere to turn. Make them push right through their impasse", and "I have one aim only: to impart a fraction of the meaning of the word now." Not prone to either exaggeration or hyperbole, Fritz Perls' wise last words were, "Everything is projection." Fritz Perls brought an articulate, innovative and sometimes irreverent voice to the therapeutic enterprise. Fritz was a relentless advocate of awareness and its sanity being the keys to healing and life transformation.

Third is clinical psychologist Helen H. Watkins, M.A. (1921-2002), who saw a distress signal from one of her clients as having the highest priority, spent her life helping others. She and her husband psychologist John G. Watkins, Ph.D. were seminal figures in developing ego-state therapy, which uses analysis of and collaboration among underlying sub-personalities or ego-states to find the causes of psychological challenges and help orchestrate healthy resolutions. Together they made major contributions in the areas of hypnosis, dissociation and multiple personality (now termed Dissociative Identity Disorder).

Helen was a master therapist, practiced inhabiting "the therapeutic self" and offered emotional resonance with clients in which she co-feels (co-suffers and co-enjoys) and co-understands in a common moment of "withness." Resonance is a temporary type of identification in which the therapist actually experiences inwardly the same feelings as the client, even if in mini-form. Resonance is necessarily balanced with objectivity. As Jack Watkins writes in his book The Therapeutic Self (1978, page 262): " All the therapist's skills and knowledges are then mobilized to help the patient move from the position of pathology, of immaturity, of sickness, to the position of health, of reality, of strength." Most importantly, she would help clients resolve the early unworkable imprints of the pre-natal and birth experiences in a hypnotic trance state given that the feelings the child takes on from the mother do not belong to the child and the child has no way of knowing this or protecting itself from them.

Helen didn't see the world as a struggle between good and evil; she saw only the good and dismissed evil. Rather, she saw the essential struggle as between respect and disrespect. As Jack wrote in his loving homage biography of Helen called Emotional Resonance (2005, page 85):"In thinking of cases, she would constantly asked herself, "What are his/her inner strengths? How can they be mobilized?" Helen perhaps most revealed her approach in once saying, "I quit reading psychology books and listened to patients instead."

Having attended numerous seminars with Jack and Helen as well as experiencing Helen's therapy first-hand in the early 1980's, I can say without qualification that it had and continues to have positive healing impact to this day, to my timeless gratitude. Helen was loved by everyone who knew her. What a gift. What a healing presence!

Dedication | Core Therapeutic Orientation | Resource Acknowledgements

Dr. Friedman is most grateful to The Grace Van Tine Hartley Trust for their kindly granting permission for use of the extraordinary California landscape painting throughout this website by American Impressionist painter George Demont Otis © (you can peruse almost 500 of his paintings on the website link). It is truly a blessing beyond what words can fully communicate.To look at his catalogue is to be transported into a timeless place of radiant beauty and natural serenity.

Dr. Friedman very much appreciates his colleague psychologist Ann Steiner, Ph.D. for her granting permission to offer three links to her website pages in the Resources for Life section. Her graciousness is a gift to all viewers of my website.

Dr. Friedman also very much appreciates his colleague psychologist Noah Oderberg, Ph.D. for his granting permission to offer five links to his website pages in the Resources for Life section. His kindness is a contribution to all who visit my website.

George Demont Otis        Ventanas

© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.


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