About Dr. John Grey

Dr. John GreyFor more than thirty years, John Grey has specialized in conducting intensive marriage retreats. He has helped thousands of couples save their marriages and he is internationally recognized as a pioneer of couples retreats, and a thought-leader in the field.

John’s approach is based on scientific findings in neuroscience, attachment and the bases of relationship satisfaction. He began his career as a research psychologist, then went into private practice, conducting communication training programs for helping professionals.

In 1990 John started developing his intensive retreat program as an approach to helping couples in distress or crisis repair relationship ruptures, resolve core issues, find clarity, rebuild trust, and reconnect to positive feelings.

(Use this link to read about Hazal Grey →)

Early Training & Work

John received his Doctorate in Psychology in 1975 from Stanford University, where he taught psychology and was a founding co-director of Stanford’s preeminent research center CCRMA, hailed in the book This is Your Brain on Music. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation Department of Psychobiology, John’s research on how the brain processes music has been published in scientific journals and cited in dozens of university textbooks and thousands of research papers.

The practical application of his research in pioneering digital music resulted in one of the largest royalty income streams in university history. The role he played in the development of digital music technology is chronicled in the book The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution.

In addition to his speciality in the psychology of language, communication, and perception, John was trained extensively in cognitive and behavioral psychology, with a focus on short term, goal-directed coaching to achieve practical results.

John collaborated with John Grinder, PhD (Tony Robbins’ teacher), developer of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), and he led professional communication training programs for counselors, therapists, and medical and helping professionals. As a recognized NLP trainer, John played a part in the early development of the field of personal and professional coaching.

For over a decade, John studied personality theory with Helen Palmer, author of The Enneagram in Love and Work — focusing on how to resolve relationship problems and conflicts generated by partners’ differences in personality.

John is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), fully trained in the body-based trauma healing methodology of Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger.

Couples Retreat Leader

In 1980, John started a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and began leading professional communication training programs at Esalen Institute, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and Scripps Medical Institute in La Jolla.

During this time, he was also on Dr. John Gray’s (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) personal referral list for couples counselors.

As a recognized leader in the field of intensive marriage retreats, John conducted his first couples retreat in Berkeley in 1990. For the last 25 years, he has been giving intensive marriage retreats in Sonoma County.

He started developing an intensive retreat program after seeing how the traditional counseling approach of weekly sessions was ineffective, especially for helping couples in high distress or crisis.

Strengthening the power of this intensive format has been John’s unique, integrated approach to working with couples.

His innovative methodology is distinctly different than most approaches to couples therapy or marriage counseling, whether presented weekly or intensively. Read more about how John’s approach is different →

John offers practical, proven skills for partners to transform their marriages. He gives couples the tools they need to stay on track and maintain satisfaction. His background in linguistics, neurobiology, and attachment theory has enabled him to develop uniquely powerful methods to help couples overcome reactive patterns, renew positive connection, and build secure relationships that thrive.

Trainer of Couples Therapists

As a trainer of couples therapists, John stays current with the other major thought-leaders in the field. He has received advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) of Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight.

He is also trained in Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM) of Larry Heller, author of Healing Developmental Trauma, and is informed by Relational Life Therapy of Terry Real, the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy by Ellyn Bader, and the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy by John Gottman.

And John has top credentials in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) of Stan Tatkin, author of Wired for Love, widely considered a most effective state-of-the-art approach to couples therapy.

As a recognized expert in the use of the PACT methodology, John was asked to be on the Founding Core Faculty of the PACT Institute.

He subsequently played a major role in the development of the core PACT curriculum and its training program for couples therapists and marriage counselors.

PACT founder Stan Tatkin says, “John’s work is of help to anyone wishing to repair an ailing relationship. With decades of experience behind him, he is a highly intelligent, creative force in the arena of science and relationships. His work is inventive and inspiring.”

John has trained marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage counselors, and psychotherapists in the highly effective PACT approach to couples therapy. PACT-trained therapists help partners to build secure-functioning relationships based on compassion and understanding.


As a strong advocate of the self-help approach, John has written three books on the topic of relationship healing and health that offer couples practical tools to work though differences, maximize their shared happiness, and minimize negative patterns, triggering, distress, or emotional reactivity.

His first two books were Becoming Soulmates and Relationship Tools for Positive Change. John’s third book, published by New World Library, is Five-Minute Relationship Repair — Quickly Heal Upsets, Deepen Intimacy, and Use Differences to Strengthen Love.

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, said this book “presents a step-by-step process for using any relationship conflict as a doorway to deeper intimacy and expanded awareness. Everything you need to create a secure, lasting bond with your partner.”

John also created The Joy of Relationship Cards, a self-help game. Dr. John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, said this is “a powerful tool to expand your joy and happiness in relating. This tool can help you improve communication, deal with issues, explore dreams, and reawaken vitality of connection.”

In a Documentary Film

John’s work is featured in the documentary film “I’m Going to Break Your Heart” about Canadian rock star couple Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk, who have been married for 20 years. “The film captures their creative process while following the pair into sessions with couples coach Dr. John Grey.” — Billboard Magazine

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