Dan Wile
1938 - 2020
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Dan Wile

August 3,1938 - March 18, 2020

Daniel 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.
Memories & Condolences
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32 entries
April 6, 2021
I came to know Dan later in my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I found his writing and style much to my liking and integrated it into my approach with couples with good results. My wife and I attended a workshop with Dan and Dorothy and delighted in what we got for ourselves and our couple. Dan was kind, generous, creative, possessed of my kind of wry humor, and quite effective in his work. I am very saddened to learn of his passing.
Wayne Carpenter
Student
March 17, 2021
I use the wonderfully simple idea of "solving the moment" in every single session I have with couples. I tell them that relationships are essentially constituted out of a series of such moments. Your work has been such a gift to our profession. Legacy indeed. Thank you Dan.
Andre Lampa
Student
March 17, 2021
I am very saddened by Dan's loss. I discovered him through his book Couples Therapy at the library of a clinic I worked at in the Philadelphia area in 83 or 84. I liked it so much I considered stealing the book from the library, but instead, I xeroxed the whole thing. And I proceeded to recommend the book to all my therapist friends for years. I actually bought copies of the first edition of After the Honeymoon. I regularly recommended it to clients for years. I particularly loved the point where he says that "reading this book will change the way you see your partner, even if you don't do anything else." I found all the "techniques," he described, his depictions of the steps and background thoughts of unfolding therapy conversations (as well as natural relationship exchanges), the phrasings and perspectives he offered -- all were completely natural to me. They guided me in my practice for years. When my cousin got married in the 90's, I gave them a copies of After the Honeymoon and After the Fight. It was funny, but I have no doubt that it could have been useful to them, too. (They are still together after 30 years.)

It was a pleasure to attend a live workshop he led in Philadelphia in the late 90's, and he was, in-person, just like in his books !

Even though I don't do therapy anymore, I have continued to follow Dan's newsletters and blogs, and I look forward to reading this new book when it comes next week.
Larry More
Friend
March 16, 2021
I can honestly say I love Dan Wile. I fell in love with his work when I read chapter 5 of a couples therapy textbook for my class in couples therapy. It wasn't assigned but after reading it I was so impressed that I considered it the best chapter in the entire book. I attended a couple of different seminars here in Dallas Texas and enjoyed every minute of them. I attribute my "of course" technique to him and his book on couples therapy. I'm so glad I got to tell him about it. My only regret is that we did not get a chance to write an article together. I'm in shock, sad and definitely grieving his passing. He deserved to be 10 times as well-known and respected as he was. Maybe I should say 100 times. Whether you call it ego analytic or collaborative couples therapy it was absolutely brilliant and I am a much better couples counselor because of it. May God bless you and hold you close forever Dan. Cedric
Cedric Wood
Friend
February 6, 2021
Checking in I am shocked to discover one of my mentors, Dan Wiles passing. With deepest sympathy as you remember Dan to Dorothy Kaufmann, 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. I attended his Atlanta Collaborative Couple Therapy Workshop Feb. 2019. We will miss you Dan. Thank you for helping so many of us become better therapists. -Richard L Taylor / Atlanta
Richard L Taylor
Student
January 29, 2021
Dan was a brilliant writer and teacher and has influenced my work as a therapist immensely.
Jonah Green
Student
December 24, 2020
Dan was kind and attentive, even to me whom he never met. responsive to an email, humorous. and his way of doing therapy the easiest and deepest I've learned. now, I'm sad he's gone, glad he lived. and wondering what happened to the DVDs that used to be available for sale to learn from him?
Michelle Salois
Classmate
October 8, 2020
I was only to see Dan on two occasions, both at professional workshops, but I was deeply struck by his clinical skills and, most importantly, his humanity and care. I feel blessed to have had a few brief interactions with him.
Michael Vernon
Student
October 6, 2020
So sad to lose Dan. His wisdom, wit, practical insight and application made me a better couples counsellor and person. What a gift he gave to the field and to the relationships we share. Thank you, Dan.
- Michael Davy (Australia).
Michael Davy
Student
September 30, 2020
I took several training workshops with Dan and I consider him the greatest influence on my work as a couples' therapist because of his amazing capacity for empathy and clarity. In addition, I found him to be one of the loveliest people to know. I miss him very much and still wish I could turn to him for advice. My deepest regrets to his wife Dorothy for your loss of this wonderful man.
Lee Crespi
Coworker
September 23, 2020
I use many of Dan's techniques and strategies in my couples work. It is not an overstatement to say that he changed the way I practice marriage therapy. Thank you so much, Dan, for your contributions to the field and for your kindness. I still refer to your books, especially Couples Counseling, and I look forward to reading your newest book when it is ready for publication.
Cindy
Student
August 28, 2020
I knew Dan since the mid 1980's. I was teaching Couples Counseling at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and brought him in as a guest teacher every semester. He would do a couple therapy session each time he came, with a student in the class and their partner. Everyone in the class looked forward to his coming since he had gathered such a good reputation from other students in the program. They were never disappointed!
I taught this class at CIIS for 30 years, as well as similar classes at St Mary's ,
college and JFK, where he would also come as a guest teacher.
In The late 80's , we taught a class in Couples Therapy together at the New College of California.
In the four decades we worked together, we became close friends. I always appreciated his openness and his honesty.
Dan was a brilliant therapist, a loving man, and a very kind human being. I learned so much from him. He had a beautiful view of human nature and treated people with the respect they deserved. He was truly a humanistic therapist, hated the medical model diagnoses, and always gave people the benefit of the doubt.
I remember when Dan met Dorothy and realized she was a very special person. He brought her over to my house so that I could meet her, and we double-dated on several occasions.
I truly loved Dan, and have had trouble believing that he is gone from the physical world. He will always have a place in my heart .
Judye Hess
Friend
August 27, 2020
I’m so very sorry we have lost Dr Dan Wile. He was brilliant, humble and a truly helpful person.
Heidi Hartston, PhD
Coworker
August 18, 2020
Dan, you are perhaps one of the most clear and gifted thinkers that have contributed to modern psychology to date. Your seminars and instruction were key in shaping my path professionally and I will be forever grateful for the guidance. You will be deeply missed in this field however your books will continue to guide many in their professional journey far into the future. Thank you for your kindness and generosity!
Your student, L
L Ohlson LMFT LPCC
Student
June 25, 2020
Dear Dan,we hear that you passed away in March this year only now and hearing that we have been feeling really sorry and sad.
Eleven years ago you kindly accepted our invitation to come to Prague to have a three day seminar in our Institute for Psychonalytically Oriented Couples and Family Psychotherapy (IPPART) and you did come together with Dorothy.
We spent very fruitful time learning with you and what you taught us about your gentle and non blaming though strong and impressive way how to listen and talk to people in emotional turmoil we have been forwarding since then to our students.
We thank you a lot and as our teacher and loving and lovable person you will stay with us for ever in our hearts.
Yours Slavoj Titl and Lucie Lucka, IPPART, Prague, Czech Rep.
Lucie Lucká
Student
June 20, 2020
I am thankful for your investment in my life as a person and a therapist. So many people have been changed as a result my encounters with you, it is hard to measure. I thank God for placing you in my life. I wont be the same. I miss you.
Chaplain (LTC) Dan Hardin
Friend
June 8, 2020
I had the absolute pleasure of attending a Couples Therapy workshop with Dan in Perth, Australia a few years ago. The workshop was wonderful and I continually (and always will) use the techniques in my work with couples. Dan had such a beautiful presence in the room and was such a generous presenter. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from him directly - I am a better therapist for my couples due to him and for that I will be forever grateful. Rest in peace Dan and thank you.
Natalie King
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
Friend
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
Acquaintance
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
Acquaintance
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.

Warmly,

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.
Dagmar.
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
Sylvia
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