More on Dr. Thomas Gordon
Dr. Thomas Gordon (March 11, 1918 - August 26, 2002), born in Paris, Illinois, obtained his BA in Psychology at DePauw University, his MA at Ohio State University and eventually graduated from the University of Chicago with Carl Rogers, who with Abraham Maslow founded humanistic psychology. Until he obtained his doctorate, he worked at the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and became an Assistant Professor in Psychology in 1949.
He wrote a chapter on group-oriented leadership in the renowned book Client-Centered Therapy by Carl Rogers, which released in 1951.
As an Air Force pilot and instructor of World War II cadets, Gordon designed a program to teach new instructors a less authoritative way to train cadets. This experience and his subsequent participation in the National Training Laboratory in Bethel, Maine led to his interest in group-oriented leadership. When he left the University of Chicago in 1956 to work as a psychological consultant for companies, he discussed with employees and their children how they dealt within the family with each other and with things like discipline. That's how he came to see similarities between the parent-child dynamics and that between leader and subordinate. This insight eventually motivated him to set up his parenting course, 'Parent Effectiveness Training (PET)' in 1962.
In his practice, he regularly saw parents who had problems with the upbringing of their children. They reported that it was due to their own upbringing and the relationship they had with their parents. Thomas Gordon was committed to his clients: "Parents are often blamed but seldom trained." That's why he started in Pasadena, California his first parenting course in 1962.
The course became so popular among parents that he soon began training trainers across the United States to teach in their area.
He introduced concepts such as 'Active Listening', 'I-Messages', and the Non-Lose Conflict Resolution method. He was convinced that using power to get your way is detrimental for relationships.
The skills he taught in his books and courses, and continued to propagate his whole life, are now commonplace.
He wrote nine books that were translated into 32 languages, of which more than 6 million have already been sold around the world. His "Parent Effectiveness Training", which he introduced in 1962, was followed by more than one million parents in 53 countries.
This training allows parents to realize that parenting is a continuous search, seeking balance between parental authority and responsibility on the one hand and the space and independence that children ask on the other.
Since the official launch of the Gordon Course Effective Child Care in 1979 in the Netherlands, more than 50,000 people have followed the training.
Hij schreef negen boeken die in 28 talen zijn vertaald en waarvan er reeds meer dan 6 miljoen zijn verkocht over de hele wereld. Zijn "Parent Effectiveness Training", die hij in 1962 introduceerde, werd door meer dan een miljoen ouders in 43 landen gevolgd.
Deze training laat ouders inzien dat het ouderschap een continue zoektocht is, zoeken naar balans tussen ouderlijk gezag en verantwoordelijkheid enerzijds en de ruimte en zelfstandigheid die kinderen vragen anderzijds.
Sinds de officiële introductie van de Gordoncursus Effectief omgaan met kinderen in 1979 in Nederland, hebben meer dan 50.000 mensen de training gevolgd.
Thomas Gordon was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
In 1999, Thomas Gordon received the Gold Medal Award of the American Psychological Foundation (APF) for his ongoing contributions to applied psychology.
Read in Dr. Thomas Gordon's own words how it all began in 1955, with a study of 'Democratic Leadership', from which he eventually developed his 'Gordon model': The Origins of the Gordon Model.
Hear it from the man himself: