Dan Wile
1938 - 2020
Share Dan's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Dan WileAugust 3,1938 - March 18, 2020Daniel B. Wile, nationally and internationally known founder and developer of Collaborative Couple Therapy, died in his Oakland home on Wednesday, March 18, after a long struggle with heart failure. With a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966, Dan went on to a distinguished career as a teacher, author, and therapist.
Dan Wile's impact on the field of couples therapy in America stems in large part from three books: Couples therapy: A nontraditional approach (1981), After the fight: using your disagreements to build a stronger relationship (1993), and After the honeymoon: how conflict can improve your relationship (revised 2008). Dan rarely missed a morning's writing session, revising each paragraph until it shone with clear and vivid prose. At the time of his death, he had completed an advanced draft of what he saw as his most significant written legacy, "Solving the moment: a collaborative couple therapy manual." In accordance with his wishes, Dorothy Kaufmann, his wife and colleague, will be preparing a final version of his book in the coming months.
Dan participated in the training of graduate students in the Clinical Psychology Program at UCBerkeley as they learned to do couples therapy and he co-taught the primary couples therapy course for three years. He gave training workshops in the U.S. and internationally over several decades, a seminal influence on many generations of clinicians. With his wife, he also gave workshops for couples all over the country.
Dan was a mensch, radiating a quality of goodness that could be felt by everyone in his presence. He wore his kindness and calm temperament lightly, with wry humor.
Surviving Dan is his wife Dorothy Kaufmann, whom he met in 2007, her son Steven, his sister and brother-in-law, Eleanor and Stephen Bulova, their children, Peter Bulova and Susan O'Donnell, and his former wife, Joanne Wile.
A memorial service celebrating Dan Wile's life will be held in the late fall or early spring, when it is safe to gather together.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Mar. 27 to Mar. 29, 2020.
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
15 entries
May 20, 2020
Dan's sister, Elly, was my dearest friend from 2nd grade onward. Dan and his friends were also an important part of my childhood as he and Elly were only a grade or two apart in school. He helped me learn to ride a bicycle! He will always be remembered as a wonderful person and friend until distance and time separated us. Bobbie (Levy) Hobson
Bobbie Hobson
May 16, 2020
Dan made such an incredible contribution to couples therapy it's hard to put into words. What stands out most to me are his deep humility and the breadth and depth of his perspective. One can't help but smile at the vulnerable honesty of his self-observations as a therapist and human being. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death, and will sorely miss his presence in the couples therapy landscape.
Robert PhD
May 7, 2020
Danny was my next door neighbor when we were kids. We spent a great deal of time together playing this or that (who remembers?). I really liked Dan and his family, who were extremely warm and gracious to me. My family moved away when I was 13, and we lost touch until a few years ago when I found him on the internet. We reconnected and experienced a warm and satisfying reunion over many weeks. I was not surprised to discover that Dan had grown into such an outstanding individual. It was in his DNA. Rest in peace, my friend. See you one of these days.
Jon Fields
April 25, 2020
May 2017 Oaklands Masterclass
Dan provided a warm and hospitable welcome to learners and seekers of couple work, and sought to share what he'd gathered in a direct and modest way. We had a wonderful and wide group for the May17 masterclass (thanks to all!). A pleasure to study with him at his Oakland home there with Dorothy. A giant of understatement and soft intuitions, wrapped in a bright intelligence and engaging presence. I'm so glad and honoured I got to meet and learn from him. Condolences to Dorothy and their families - with warm memories from Simon d'Orsogna, Melbourne Australia
Simon d'Orsogna
April 17, 2020
I never had the chance to study directly under Dr. Wile's teaching, but learned much from a distance, in helping couples heal through their conflicts. Dr. Gottman referenced his work often and I regret not having the opportunity to thank Dr. Wile personally. Please receive these words as my THANKS! Although he will be missed by many, please know that his legacy continues on. I, and many others, will be sure to continue to carry the torch he has passed on.
Randy Creamer
April 14, 2020
I feel compelled to share something, even though I have never met Dan or attended one of his conferences (although I really wanted to!). I really enjoyed the way Dan came across both on his webpage and in his talks on the videotaped conferences I was able to "attend" vicariously. What struck me most was his self effacing manner. I was truly saddened by the news of his loss. As someone who likes working with couples and as someone who has taught students about couples therapy by introducing them to Dan's ideas, I am deeply grateful for what Dan shared in his work and life. Thank you, Dan. If there is another side, I look forward to meeting you there.
Michelle Gritter
April 14, 2020
What a shame. A great guy who cared about his couples and being a great therapist. His doubling technique made him the foremost expert on process in couples therapy. He will be missed.
Mike Moskowitz
April 12, 2020
I'm so sad to hear of this heartbreaking loss. Dan was a wonderful friend, teacher and therapist. He really was the definition of a Mensch. He was a kind, gentle soul and I am glad that I got to know him. I'm sending love to Dorothy and all of Dan's family.

Judy Goldstein
April 9, 2020
Dan was one of the greatest influences on my professional practice. I was so fortunate to spend the day with him in Brisbane, Australia during his last trip here. I took him sightseeing and we shared lunch and dinner together. We didnt stop talking and sharing ideas the whole time. And then as luck would have it, I randomly ran into Dan on a pedestrian crossing in Melbourne, Australia a few days later and invited him to join me for dinner again where he met one of my sons, my niece and her partner. We had a wonderful and fun night together. RIP Dan, you made a difference and you will be missed. ❤ Trish
Trish Purnell-Webb
April 5, 2020
With Dan's passing some of the art and elegance within psychotherapy has lost a little ground. Safe passage, Dan. Love to you Dorothy.
Doug Johns
April 5, 2020
Dan---my name is Rich Morey and I live in San Luis Obispo County---Atascadero.

I came to your home (your living room) about 10 yrs ago for a weekend intensive to get a better feel for your couples therapy model. I have long enjoyed your work (I first heard of you at a Gottman presentation at UCSF in the mid 90's---aside from himself Gottman said that you were the marital therapy king!)

During the weekend in your home---I was very comfortable and yet very challenged. There was so much to monitor, keep track of, and strategize--joining the spouse that was most bothersome to me, how much-how much, tell me where I might be right and where I am wrong.... Honestly---for those two days I was overwhelmed. But, since that weekend my approach and strategy of working with couples has shifted in a huge way. I am not as Wile-like and I would like to be in my work with couples---but I often hear your suggestions and encouragement in the whispers of my mind. And I am having a lot more fun in my work with couples.

I have not received one of your newsletters recently---I hope that you are well.

I wanted you to know that I have read After the Fight and After the Honeymoon (you gave us copies of each during the weekend intensive training) and I am in the process writing up a handout for clients that draws heavily (really---exclusively) upon your model and these two books. On this rainy, COVID-19, afternoon---as I am working on the first draft of this handout---you clearly came to mind. And I wanted you to know that your influence in the work of this psychologist (me) is alive and well. Thanks for your hospitality in your home those years ago and for thinking thru your clear and creative model.


Rich Morey
Rich Morey
March 31, 2020
Dan was the best there worsted with him briefly, and saw his essence--brilliance, humility, and true empathy. I deeply mourn his loss.
March 30, 2020
I took a training from Dan and was so moved by his gentleness, his skill and his deep and boundless compassion for others. He showed us the true art and spirit of being a couples therapist.
March 29, 2020
My heart goes out to you Dorothy during this difficult and sad time as you bid farewell to such an amazing man.
March 29, 2020
Dan and I co-led couples training workshops at the NCGPS conferences for several years. I so admired his mind and his humor -- but most of all I valued the friendship we developed. I am SO sad to hear of his death,
Sylvia Randall
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences