For more than thirty years, John Grey, PhD has specialized in conducting intensive marriage retreats. He has helped thousands of couples save their marriages and has become internationally recognized as a pioneer of couples retreats and a thought-leader in the field.
John’s approach is based on scientific research on relationship satisfaction, neuroscience and attachment. He began his career as a research psychologist at Stanford, after which he went into private practice and conducted training programs for therapists and helping professionals. In 1990 he started his intensive retreat program for working with couples in a more effective way.
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. With major funding by the National Science Foundation, John’s research on how the brain processes music has been published in scientific journals, featured in university textbooks and cited in thousands of research papers. The role he played in developing digital music technology is described in the book The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution.
Since 1980, John has been in private practice working with couples in the San Francisco Bay Area. He conducted his first couples retreat in Berkeley in 1990. For the last 25 years, he has been leading intensive marriage retreats in Sonoma County. Over the past four decades, he has presented training programs at venues such as Esalen Institute, University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, and the Scripps Institute. During this time, he was also on Dr. John Gray’s (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) personal referral list of couples counselors.
John has extensive training in cognitive and behavioral psychology, aimed at short term, goal-directed coaching to achieve practical results. He worked with John Grinder, PhD (Tony Robbins’ teacher), developer of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), and led communication effectiveness training programs for counselors, therapists, and medical and helping professionals. As a recognized NLP trainer, John was a part of 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 caused by partners’ differences in personality. Additionally, John is 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
John has been leading couples retreats for the last 30 years and is a pioneer in the field of intensive marriage retreats. He developed his retreat program because he found traditional counseling’s weekly hour-long sessions too limiting. But beyond the power of his intensive format is John’s unique, integrated approach to working with couples. His methodology is distinctly different than most approaches to couples therapy or marriage counseling. Read more about how John’s approach is different →
John offers practical, proven skills to partners to transform their marriages. He gives couples the tools they need to stay on track and maintain satisfaction. His background in neurobiology research and attachment theory has enabled him to offer uniquely powerful methods to help couples overcome reactive patterns. He regularly helps couples on the brink of divorce to renew positive connection and build secure relationships that thrive in shared happiness and intimacy.
John stays current with other thought-leaders in the field. He has advanced training in the Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) of Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight. He was trained in the Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM) by Larry Heller, author of Healing Developmental Trauma. He is also informed by the Relational Life Therapy of Terry Real, the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy by Ellyn Bader, and the Gottman Method Couples Therapy by John Gottman.
In terms of the most state-of-art approach to couples therapy, John has well-established credentials in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT). This leading approach, founded by Stan Tatkin, author of Wired for Love and We Do, draws from neuroscience, attachment theory, and arousal system management. In recognition of his expertise, John was asked to help co-found the PACT Institute and its training program (more on this below).
Trainer of Couples Therapists
John is an internationally recognized expert in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT). He is a founding core faculty member of the PACT Institute, for which he helped develop the primary curriculum and 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 couples understand their individual attachment styles and to moment-to-moment shifts in arousal states to build secure-functioning relationships built on compassion, love, and understanding.
As a strong advocate of self-help, John has written three books on the topic of intimacy and relationship that give people practical tools to maximize shared happiness and minimize reactive patterns and distress. HIs first two books were Relationship Tools for Positive Change and Becoming Soulmates.
John’s latest book is Five-Minute Relationship Repair. 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, an interactive self-help system. Dr. John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, said this is “a powerful tool that can 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
Browse publications by Dr. John Grey:
- Five-Minute Relationship Repair
- Relationship Tools for Positive Change
- Relationship Help Cards
- Solo Piano Music: The Heart Also Opens