Susan Campbell, Ph.D., is an author of nine books and founder of The Getting Real Work and Getting Real Seminars. Dr. Campbell has been a relationship coach for couples, families, singles, and business leaders since 1967. After earning her Ph.D. in Clinical/Counseling Psychology from the University of Massachusetts in 1967, she went on to become a member of that school's Graduate Faculty until 1977, when she left there to join the graduate faculty of Saybrook University in San Francisco. During this time she has also pursued a career as a professional speaker and a consultant and trainer for CEOs, top and mid-level managers, and rank-and-file personnel. She is President of Getting Real Resources, a coaching and training company, which aims at changing the culture to make honesty the new cultural norm and making the world safe for differences.
Her most recent work centers on how to use honest, present-centered communication as vehicle for personal healing and expanded self-awareness. This body of work, called The Getting Real Work, is described in her best-selling, Getting Real and her more recent books, Truth in Dating, and Saying Whats Real. The Getting Real Work is a body of personal and spiritual development practices aimed at helping people get over their addiction to comfort and control so they can be authentically present to the actual possibilities in each moment. The Getting Real philosophy states that instead of being real, i.e. present to the reality of one’s present situation, most people have been conditioned to protect themselves from emotionally painful or uncomfortable information. They then develop various control patterns such as sugar-coating, lying to avoid conflict, and suppressing their true feelings so as not to appear foolish or be judged. Such self-suppression is seen as counter-productive to the evolution of human consciousness and human civilization. According to this philosophy, the work offers 10 truth skills that constitute a recovery program to help people un-learn dysfunctional communication habits and regain the courage to feel and express what they actually see, know, feel and want even if their feelings are uncomfortable, unpopular, or inconvenient. The book Getting Real reminds people that when we were babies or children, we learned to suppress our self-expression so as not to upset the adults too much, and this may have been important for our survival. But we are adults now, and we will not die if someone rejects us or dislikes us. When we try too hard to stay within our comfort zone or control how others view us, we lose much of our ability to deal with life as it is.
Practitioners of Getting Real learn to notice all the various and subtle ways that controlling manifests itself and how people often go on automatic when old wounds get triggered. They learn to replace their automatic control patterns with authentic, in-the-moment self-expression. The 10 truth skills help people regain and refine their human sensitivities, their capacity to feel, sense, see, and hear what is actually going on inside and around them in each moment without the typical distortions that people use to stay comfortable or avoid emotional upset. This enables them to make decisions and take action based on actual data rather then on their assumptions, wishes, or fears. Through practicing the truth skills with willing practice partners, people develop the ability to speak about difficult or sensitive topics with greater ease. They outgrow their addiction to control, and learn to appreciate and deal with situations or people that they once tried to avoid. According to a 2002 article in Science of Mind Magazine,* Campbell calls her program a 12-step program for the rest of us, and asserts that Western Civilization conditions people to place more value on being right, safe, and comfortable (controlling) than on being real, unique, and open to surprise (relating). In addition to her recent books, Campbell has developed three interactive cards games that teach the 10 truth skills--one for the general public, one for couples and dating singles, and one for work teams. She also trains Getting Real Coaches, who learn to host Honesty Salons, which are practice groups for learning to be more skillfully and compassionately honest.
An example of one of the 10 truth skills is Holding Differences, which is the ability to listen openly to a viewpoint or perception that differs from ones own without giving up ones own view and without assuming that somebody’s view is wrong or needs to change. To help people learn to Hold Differences, Getting Real suggests starting with the statement: “I hear that you feel or think______ (repeat your understanding of the others position), while I have a different feeling about that. May I tell you how I see it?” In her book, Getting Real, Campbell states that when people learn to Hold Differences rather than trying to talk someone out of his feelings or views, they develop the capacity to see situations from a more inclusive perspective; they learn to see relationships between things once thought of as separate; they have more satisfying relationships; and their relationship to life becomes more realistic, or real.
The roots of this work are: Buddhist Psychology, Gestalt Therapy, Sensory Awareness, Psychoanalysis, and Jungian Psychology.
In February 2008, Dr. Campbell hosted a conference of thought leaders in the Honesty Movement called The Truth Summit in Northern California. One outcome of the Summit was the creation of The Honesty Charter, similar to The Earth Charter, which gives structure and identity to the emerging cultural movement calling for greater transparency in business, government, and human relationships. To view The Honesty Charter visit honestycharter.blogspot.com/. Campbells work has been featured in many popular magazines including New Woman, Psychology Today, Self, Harvard Business Review, Seventeen, Mens Health, New Age, Fast Company, and Yoga Journal. She has been a guest on many national TV talk shows including Dr Dean Edell, CNNs News Night, and Good Morning America.
In addition to the above, in her 43-plus year career, Campbell has directed a think tank, run non-profit organizations, consulted to Fortune 500 companies, and guest lectured at the Harvard, Stanford, and UCLA business schools.
She speaks on such topics as:
Taking Charge of Change
Conflict and Negotiation
Dealing with Difficult People
Getting Real Confidence
Honest Feedback in the Workplace
Preventing Workplace Violence
Getting Real: The Power of Present-Centered Communication
Communication Skills for Preventing and Resolving Conflict
Truth in Dating: Finding Love By Getting Real
An avid adventurer and proponent of "living your life out loud," she has lived and worked in other cultures and spent two years sailing her 47-foot sailboat halfway around the world.
She lives in Northern California where she hosts Honesty Salons several evenings per month. Her website is www.susancampbell.com
*Footnote: Campbell, Susan. “Out of Control: How to Get Real and Really Be Happy,” Science of Mind, Volume 75, Number 6, June 2002.