A while back I was reading the book, "May cause miracles" by Gabrielle Bernstein. One of the included exercises was to write a gratitude letter to a person who affected me deeply - and this is...you!

When I met you for the first time, I was in deep pain, sorrow, full of insecurities and self-blame. There were so many things that I did not understand. So many things that I felt responsible for, blaming myself. Through many hours of talking and sharing with you, and many more hours of reflecting and journaling myself I was able to see the light and learn and grow. It was incredibly hard work with sometimes almost unbearable pain, but it pays off. I am in a much better place now, where I honor and love myself so much more. I see reality so much clearer. I am more aware of my own needs and wants and I know it's up to me to make sure that I get them met. I know what I no longer accept and what is not healthy for me. I know what my non-negotiables are and I set my boundaries. I am still in the middle of my journey of growth and discovery. I am still very much work in progress like you used to say. But I feel in a much better place with so much more grounding and happiness from within. And more loving attitude towards myself and others. 

I am incredibly thankful for the day I met you. Grateful that you guided me along this life-changing  journey. You listened, you asked, challenged me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, inspired me, comforted me, motivated me, you made me look at things differently - and ultimately opening this new perspective and way of living to me. Without you I would not be where I am today. You changed my life and brought back the true Sabine. 

For this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The universe has sent you at the right time.

Love, Sabine - 9/28/16

After last session Daniel, not only did the present Dawn go back and speak to Dawn at age 25, but I also called onto the 45 year old Dawn to speak to me now and got some kind words from her too :)  "love myself for all the mistakes as much as the victories"  "Wisdom comes after heartache."  The future Dawn (at age 45) has made peace with this guilt and shame.  She accepts the past (in regards to what we are uncovering right now about what happened in my relationship with Callie (daughter).

We figured things out and have come to peace.  That is what I want more than anything right now.  To understand and accept everything we spoke about in today's session.  This is huge.  It feels like ALL of my work in therapy with both you and Dr. Wilson is coming together and getting ready to reveal something huge.  

We have worked so hard together on both the micro and mezzo levels of my life...but today we went back and looked at things from the macro level and holy shit!  For the past several sessions we have been uncovering deep stuff each time.  God only knows what will come out on Monday.

I read your recent blog article about expressing love within the therapeutic relationship.  In response to that article: I love you for being my therapist and a constant in my life.  I love you for making it safe to allow these dark parts of me to the surface and then leaving me with a tool afterwards to make it safe again (like today's exercise).  Even though I am I tears at this very moment, they are both happy and sad tears. 

What a cool exercise that was for me to do today.  Thank you and good night!!!

Dawn - San Francisco

Thank you so much for you insightful and illuminating presentation on the Relationship Model of Addiction presented to the MFT students at Cal State East Bay last week.  Mr. Linder, you are truly an inspiring speaker about how deeply relationships affect the way clinicians view the issues involving addictions of all types.  My students felt that they learned a great deal from your guest lecture and they appreciated how genuine and honest you were in your presentation.  We appreciated how open you were to questions from the students and in sharing what your journey has been in developing the relationship model of addiction.  Your three books were very useful in further delving into the relationship model and we look forward to future presentations and books.  

Thank you again.

Linda Whitman-flamm Ph.D, Albany, CA

Dear Daniel,

I am writing this letter to express my appreciation for the remarkable support and guidance that you have given to my wife and me during the time that we have been counseled by you. We came to you two years ago at a time when we experiencing a family crisis that seemed to have been precipitated by selfish and unappreciative children. You proved to be both a careful and caring listener and, more importantly, a very adept family counselor who guided us unerringly through an initial crisis with our son and then through a series of additional situations with our adult children in ways that allowed us to effectively deal with problems that threatened the peace and stability of our family relationships. Most importantly, you adeptly analyzed each of the situations and were able to show both my wife and myself how each one was part of a much larger pattern which had developed between me, my wife, and all of our children, and which had also manifested itself in many of my extra-familial relationships as well. You have been teaching both my wife and me to better recognize, understand, and, most importantly, improve our interactional effectiveness in all of our interpersonal situations.

Your approach to cognitive behavioral therapy has allowed us both, for the first time in our 39 year marriage, to consciously "get into the front seat" in our relationships with our children and to better model the kind of interactions that we expect from them. The entire process has been amazingly enlightening and has transformed our lives from those of second class citizens living in constant fear of "offending" our various offspring to those of responsible and mature parents who expect and receive the kind of treatment from of those around us that we both deserve.

All I can say is Thank You for everything!

-- Client Anonymous

"I want you to know how grateful we all are to you. You helped us through the difficult emotional process of admitting to ourselves, each other and to you how bad the problem has been over the years and how bad it still is in the present. The silence has been broken. We broke free from our deep-seated codependency, and can now trust that our son will decide to enter treatment or not. As you have said, this is the most loving and honest way to communicate to him. Though there was never a question in our minds, he will hear directly from us, perhaps for the first time, how much we love him and yearn to have him back in our lives as a healthy, drug-free, happy son, brother, nephew, etc. We feel strong enough to place limits on the relationship, if he chooses not to enter treatment. As a family, we are stronger and tighter, and no longer have secrets to keep - secrets that kept us apart."

-- Client S

I recently finished your book, Intimacy, the Essence of True Love. There is so much to like about this book and so much wisdom in it. Looking at intimacy as a "practice"...like meditation is a practice, or playing the harp puts a whole new spin on dating as a creative process or an art. It's something you work at that comes from commitment and if you keep at it, you become at least a craftsman and perhaps an artist.

Like you, I think having a great relationship depends upon particular skills. Unfortunately most of us have no one from which to learn those skills. Except in rare instances, our parents' marriages weren't characterized by deep intimacy and don't serve as models for us. Your book is an excellent guide to that skill set and provides guidance where it is otherwise lacking. It saddens me that people give up on their relationships or live together in unfulfilling ways, when so much is possible if you just know how...if you just follow the advice in your book.

Many of your definitions were right on target. I particularly liked this one: a relationship is dysfunctional when being true to yourself jeopardizes the relationship.

Your advice about relying so much on physical chemistry or sexual attraction in choosing a partner is compelling and so much what people need to hear because it is so common to fall into this trap. It always amazes me to see so many people depend on the rush of sexual excitement when, as you point out so clearly, it is not a solid foundation for a relationship.

Your principles are so simple and basic, when applied can counteract some of the most powerful forces affecting our experience. If you grew up in a healthy family, you may have a healthy "template" for attraction. But I know this is more the exception than the rule. I'm one of the others whose previous experience in relationships left me predisposed to sabotaging current and developing relationships.

For many years, my "templates" for attraction lead me to feel chemistry with the wrong people. To wit: my father was depressed. Earlier in my life, if you'd put me in a room with 30 men, 29 of whom were fully ready to love me and one who was depressed, the latter would have been a magnet for me. I would have ignored the 29 healthy men because I had great chemistry with the depressed one.

Thanks for writing a very useful, wise and easy-to-follow book!

-- Anne Lieberman
-- Business Consultant, Author of Making Money

Intimacy, The Essence of True Love is a fresh, insightful guide for developing a rich emotional closeness during every step of an ever-evolving relationship. Daniel Linder's perspective is one that honors the creative process of relationships with vision, purpose and honesty as its heart. He identifies common destructive patterns and offers thought-provoking ideas for avoiding these pitfalls so that a relationship has a chance to develop and thrive. I recommend this book to anyone who recognizes that the way they have been approaching relationships hasn't lead to the true love they yearn to create.

-- Susan Hanshaw, O.M.C. San Rafael, CA
-- Author of Unleashing Your Soul

Daniel Linder's book Intimacy; The Essence of True Love is a blueprint for the recovering addict to understand how to begin to rebuild healthy relationships as the next step in the recovery process. This is a must read for anyone in recovery who wants to have a fulfilling and meaningful intimate relationship over time.

Linder provides many examples of relationship streets the recovering addict may go down where a hole exists and how not to fall in. He also provides examples of alternative relationship streets where the addict will find respect and acceptance, trust and a deep understanding.

-- Joan Marie Menke MA, MFT
-- Business and Life Coach

Linder's Book, Intimacy the Essence of True Love, offers a hopeful stance and practical advice for individuals looking to create healthy relationships. He teaches that it is possible for anyone to learn the necessary skills needed to maintain satisfying and meaningful relationships.

-- Bethany Miller, Psy.D.
-- Clinical Psychologist in private practice

"Linder convinces us to believe that applying these basic principles could empower the recovering addict to transform the quality of his or her relationships. We may draw inspiration from his 'dare to apply' these basic principles for ourselves and see whether they work and whether they're true. These are principles that would behoove all of us to at least consider.

For the treatment practitioner, Relational Recovery is essential psycho-education material. Linder packs a huge amount of 'back to basics' information into a little space."

-- Neil Kobrin, Ph.D
Mill Valley, CA

"I'm done w/your book. I'd like to order 10 copies, please. :)

I can't put how I feel after reading it into words...... It's reassuring, wise, practical, caring, open-minded, straight forward; something you perhaps knew, but reading it made you think about..... I am very impressed and feel more enlightened after reading it. It makes me think about my past relationships and makes me want to think back and analyze them to see why/what occurred and how to be careful and avoid making mistakes!"

-- Sima Boyce
--Teacher, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA

"No single person should be without Linder's fascinating insights about what really goes on between people when they 'date.' Relational is not only easy to read, it is compelling and original. Linder discusses all the things we need to know but were never taught. His examples are so real and familiar; he speaks to the very core of the issues single men and women deal with today. If you are looking for true intimacy, don't pass up this book!"

-- Susan Page,
-- Author of If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?

Subscribe with us!

For free weekly Recovery & Relationship Training Video Blogs enter your information below.

About Daniel Linder, MFT

Daniel Linder

Relationships. I was born with a keen sense about relationships, was always assessing how close and intimate people are with each other. I had a knack for relationships. The importance of relationships cuts to the core of who I am. The combination of clinical training, 25 years of professional experience treating dysfunctional, non-intimate couples and families, as well as rigorous self analysis has given me a lot to work with. I put what seemed to come naturally to me under a microscope in an effort to break the process of building healthy relationships down to concrete essentials: Understanding of Basic Principles, Communication Skills, Self-realization and Intimacy.

Read full bio