Psychotherapists Charlie and Linda Bloom teach couples therapy classes together, using their long marriage and work relationship as both support and material for their classes. In this interview, the Blooms talk about working together, authenticity in relationships, their own relationship challenges, and building a successful therapy and workshop business in a competitive market.
[3:10] Charlie talks about how he and Linda came to work together. They were married long before they started working together, since 1987. They ran into some relationship challenges early in their joint career of running workshops for couples. They have now become equal peers and appreciate each other’s strengths.
[5:55] Linda tells her side of their early years. Charlie’s career involved a lot of travel and they were often apart. They decided to begin teaching classes together. Linda realized that sharing the story of how they got through their relationship troubles was her life’s work. Initially, she was afraid to speak publicly, but Charlie encouraged her. As a couple, they couldn’t help but work through some of their relationship issues in front of the participants in their workshops.
[10:20] Charlie says that being authentic as a couple when teaching couples therapy is crucial, otherwise the students will sense the disconnect and distrust them. Their main relationship rule is “tell the truth”. Hiding in a relationship leads to divorces and dead marriages.
[12:50] Linda says marketing the class was a challenge for her. Selling a self-help service in San Francisco is challenging because there’s so much competition.
[14:15] Charlie explains that they mainly teach classes in person, but he teaches some teleconference classes. A new multiversity center is opening near them in California, where they’ll soon hold some classes.
[18:30] The Blooms teach in Santa Cruz and at the Kripalu Institute in Massachusetts. Their email list has over 6,000 subscribers.
[19:10] The Blooms also offer individual and couples’ therapy. They have a reputation as “last ditch counselors.” They offer one and two-day intensive sessions for couples in crisis.
[21:44] Charlie and Linda usually teach the intensives together, each providing different tools and ideas.
[25:30] About 15 years ago the Blooms started inviting couples to travel the world with them to do couples’ workshops and take in other cultures.
[28:50] The Blooms’ fourth book, which they have finished writing and are looking to publish, is about their own marriage and how their relationship has intersected with their careers. It’s titled, “Into the Abyss”.
[32:55] During the early years of the Blooms’ joint business, Linda was a workaholic. Then she got cancer and realized that if she was going to recover and keep working she’d need help. She hired a bookkeeper and an assistant and has had this help ever since.
[35:00] Charlie says he now writes more than he works in the private practice. Linda sees clients for 15 hours a week and her goal is to split her time between writing and seeing clients.
[40:22] Linda’s advice to someone going into business is to have a vision to see you through the tough times. Make sure you love what you do and the rest will fall into place. Charlie says there is tremendous satisfaction possible for entrepreneurs, but it’s a challenge. You should prepare to feel discouraged and hang in through the challenges. The process will grow you in ways that nothing else can.
BIO – Linda and Charlie Bloom – Psychotherapists, Santa Cruz, CA
Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been married since 1972. Trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors, they have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975. They are regular presenters at Esalen Institute, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and Multiversity. They have offered seminars Internationally. You can find out more about their work at http://bloomwork.com/.
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