I first met Brian in the spring of 2014 under complex, stressful and somewhat paralyzing personal circumstances. After nearly a half-century allowing myself to endure a deeply toxic relationship, kept afloat by denial of my identity as a gay man, I decided to seek support for my decision to come out. Despite the clarity of my resolve, I admitted to myself that I still needed to find the wherewithal to extricate myself from that relationship and find a way forward into an unknown and potentially perilous future. Remaining rudderless was no longer an option.
Against my instincts not to trust the internet, I let it lead me to Brian. After emailing him with some details of my story and a succinct description of my goal, he arranged for an introductory phone call, during which he gently elicited further details. What especially impressed me (meaning gave me a feeling of trust and safety) was the lengthy and provocatively detailed questionnaire he asked me to complete, with question after question requiring me to think seriously about its specific focus. I found it challenging, to put it mildly, but the reassuring notion that Brian was both compassionate and analytical opened the gate to an exploration that lasted almost a year and a half, during which we met for two hours a week.
There are many remarkable qualities that Brian brings to any exploration of a change journey. They are impossible to rank in order of importance or usefulness. They all are equally so. Brian’s penetrating, flexible intellect is matched by decades of experience that is at once specific and yet flows freely from the totality of that experience.
Brian challenged me to think carefully, and with as much openness and agility as I could, about the obstacles before me as well as the strengths I might bring to bear moving forward. A remarkable listener with an equally impressive memory, Brian helped me again and again confront my assumptions and my own mythology in order to find what might be useful to my journey, and what might be clouding that journey with the detritus of a difficult life story. Sometimes I resisted when something caused me to fill a void with a judgmental reaction. Thanks to Brian’s exceptional patience, I was almost always able to reflect and adjust my thinking to the “open” position.
I realize that my experience with Brian might be viewed through a very specific personal lens. However, having since become familiar with his writings on change, as well as learning about the many ways he has applied his gifts to the thorniest problems, I see little, in principle if not in practice, that cannot find its way toward applicability in even the broadest context.
I urge anyone who has the great fortune to meet Brian to discuss the potential for effecting change to listen carefully to what he has to offer, and to examine one’s own preconceptions and, above all, to pay close attention to the silences in between. Taken together, they have the potential to bring about the most effective kinds of change.
My success is found in the success of my clients. Each has faced and moved through their own difficult challenges; Rob is no exception. While he wrote this as a testimonial to me, it is equally a testimonial to his own commitment and work as he moved more fully into his true self. Brian Gorman