The idea of putting the pieces of our lives together only to have them suddenly halted in an accident in the prime of our years is, for most of us, well, paralyzing. Yet that’s exactly what happened in the tale of Daniel Gottlieb, a New Jersey psychologist and family therapist whose journey through the mental health profession was remarkably turbulent. Through a series of trials which may have claimed the professional aspirations of many, this Daniel rediscovered his love for helping people reach their full potential and conquer their concerns.
After establishing a therapy practice and settling down with his wife, Daniel’s progress toward achieving the dream he’d visualized seemed to be putting him within close reach of his own concept of success. But at the age of 33, the budding counselor was involved in a serious car accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down. While coping with the ensuing trauma and adjusting to the new constraints and demands of day to day life, the therapist experienced another round of difficult times; his wife divorced him and several members of his immediate family passed away, all within the scope of a few years. Daniel recounts an especially dark night spent in the intensive care unit of a hospital, feeling oppressed by his life and the events that had recently occurred and established themselves as the core of his reality. That night, a distraught nurse approached him asking for advice or assistance in coping with the death of a loved one, and as Daniel helped guide her through her grief, he realized a profound sense of compassion and love of life within himself.
Daniel resumed his therapy practice and in recent years has taken up additional positions in radio and newspapers, aiming to help others achieve an appreciation of themselves he nearly lost. He has also written several books, much of the proceeds of which have been donated to charities. For his inspiring life story and commitment to caring for others, the therapist has recently been awarded the “Fervent Global Love of Lives” medal in Taiwan.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.