The “Apparent Magic” of the Gordon Model

By Linda Adams, President of GTI

As we recall the many things for which we are thankful, we feel especially grateful to and appreciative of all the people around the world who teach, who advocate for, who use the Gordon Model in their own lives and relationships. Ever since 1962 when Dr. Gordon taught the first PET class in a Pasadena, California cafeteria until August of this year when Sister Estelle Fontaine taught a group in Mauritius (Indian Ocean), we have heard stories of “apparent magic”–stories that are made possible by our representatives and instructors throughout the world. Here are some we’d like to share with you that illustrate the universal applicability and relevance of this model to all relationships.

Married Couple Find Themselves On A Date In Tokyo:

Situation: After dinner. Children are already in bed. A husband and wife are in the living room. The wife took a PET course and is ready to practice a Positive I-Message.

W: Dad.
H: Yeah…?
W: I suppose you must have lots of disagreeable frustration at work.
H: Oh yes, I do–lots of them.
W: You work for such a long time every day, but you know, you’ve never come home in a bad mood.
H: Maybe so. I let it go out while I work, you know.
W: I appreciate to see you in a good mood when you come back home. I feel happy to see you like that at home even after your long work.
H: Well, today, too–I had a quarrel with some colleagues.
W: Oh, yeah?
H: (Then he talked about what happened that day and said there were colleagues whom he trusted so much that we could even quarrel with them).

The wife comments–“There was not so strong a reaction from him that day, but what was surprising was what happened the next day. At around 10:00 that night, he called me on the phone on this way from work and invited me to go to a noodle shop near our apartment. ‘Come down. I’m almost in front of our apartment’. For many years, we had not done something like this. On our way back from the noodle shop, we bought some ice cream cones and went home licking them. I knew what I had wanted to convey to him the day before was understood and accepted by him. The next morning, my husband was telling our children with a big grin: ‘Hey, mom and I had a date yesterday’.”

Sister Estelle Inspires Nuns:

“I went to Mauritius and La Reunion to give some Gordon trainings to Carmelite convent order nuns and to some nuns who take a very active responsibility for older people and children with problems or abandoned ones. It is to be noted that there is no Training Centre there and all of the people whom we have met were delighted with these trainings–their regret is that they did know earlier that such things could exist. Some people told me that it was personal therapy for them, opened them to other ways of living their relationships and made them look to life with much more hope.”

Pickle-Packing Plant Pleased With Productivity In Maryland, USA:

Recently a plant manager shared this about LET Trainer Rob Harris who trained many of their managers, supervisors, and line-leads in the LET skills: “He was able to make a real difference in how the entire plant acted toward one another. I have seen a change in our supervision and leads that we have trying to accomplish for four years. The result is what is most impressive. We have gone the last seven months with lower consumer complaints than the previous year. We have reduced the amount of rework in the plant by $120,000 from last year. We have spent $170,000 less in overtime than the year before. Our cost per case is down by $.07. The intangible change is probably the biggest whereas stress levels are at an all time low and our teams are working together better than they ever have.”

PET Behind Prison Bars:

In December of last year, an inmate at Soledad Prison, a maximum security prison in California, wrote to us letting us know that he had read the PET book in the prison library and that he would like to take a course to learn the skills. We then sent him FET (Family Effectiveness Training, the video version of PET) and received a letter from him several months later sharing this with us: “I must tell you how impressed I was with Dr. Gordon’s program–it has helped me better understand how to interact not only with my own children but with my fellow inmates as well. This is a program that would help all inmates who have the willingness and desire to prepare themselves to successfully reenter their communities.” He then approached the prison administration with the idea of offering the course for groups of inmates preparing for parole. FET was so well-received that there are now three ongoing courses, one of which the prison chaplain facilitates. It has become one of the most popular courses ever offered at Soledad and there are now 300 inmates on the waiting list. Recently, David shared a conversation with a fellow inmate named Albert. “Albert shook my hand and thanked me and said that before he took the FET course, he had never really known how to properly communicate with people. He felt alienated from his own children, his parents, even from his wife. He said he have acted like a drill instructor issuing orders rather than a father, son, husband. It was his way or the highway. Albert said that FET was the best thing he had done in a very long time–‘it changed my life and has given it new meaning’.”

And finally, this from Azza Abul-Fadl in Egypt:

“I enjoy doing these courses and cannot tell you how much I appreciate having the opportunity to work with you on this really wonderful and peace-loving mission. When I was using an I-Message with my nephew the other day to help him resolve a conflict with his fiancee, my sister told her son: “‘Your aunt is speaking the words of God’–isn’t this wonderful!”

Our deepest thanks to each of you who make a unique and valued contribution to making apparent magic like this possible.