Hilary Goldstine, Ph.D.

Clinical Staff Member
Hilary Goldstine, Ph.D.

Hilary Goldstine, Ph.D.

I came to the University of California at Berkeley as an undergraduate in 1963. Back in those days it was easy to graduate in 4 years, which I did with honors in Psychology. I wrote my honors thesis on the cross- cultural concepts of mental illness. I wondered if the people we thought were schizophrenic would also be considered mentally ill in other cultures. Being an undergraduate at Berkeley was great. I took a full year course on cognitive psychology and I even took an experimental class for one term which had a text called, “The Rat”. I received a tremendous education at Berkeley and indeed, met my husband who was then a graduate student at Berkeley in clinical psychology. After the university I spent several years with my young family before returning to graduate school. I also volunteered at the county mental hospital and help set up an alternative therapy center for groups and individuals interested in self-exploration.

When I returned to graduate school at the California School of Professional Psychology I also began working at the health center at the University of California as well as the Berkeley Therapy Institute. I helped set up the first sex counseling program at a University and became involved in running women’s groups as well as working with couples especially around issues of sexual confidence and adequacy. Ultimately, this work with couples and sex became my dissertation and I book I co-authored with my husband, Katherine Larner and Shirley Zuckerman. The book is called The Dance-Away Lover: And Other Roles We Play in Love, Sex, and Marriage. We did quite a bit of interviewing and listening to tapes of those sessions in order to put a meaningful book together. We even said the men are from Mars and women are from Venus in our preface long before anyone else used that concept.

Our book, like my work, believes in families and working things out, if at all possible. Back in 1977 when the book came out, other people were saying marriage needs to be open (the people who wrote that book were soon divorced) or one might need many marriages to fulfill different stages in one’s life. Even though we were from radical Berkeley we were actually very sensible. All marriages go through disappointments and differences which we called Stage 2 in a relationship; Stage 1 being the first fall in love stage. We encouraged people with the idea there was something beyond the power struggles and unhappiness and by our wills we could make it so.

In 1979 I began working with Dr. Margaret T. Singer who truly was a genius in the field of psychology. She was a world expert on brain washing and cognitive behavioral therapy. I worked with her up until her death in 2003 and never ceased to be amazed at her abilities to talk with anyone, think of simple and clever ways to handle difficult situations and her belief that acting out and being difficult did not help anyone get over anything. She had wise insights into many aspects of psychology and I was truly fortunate to have studied with her all the years I did.