Dr. Stephen Gullo helps victims
of a broken relationship
get back on track
ome call him "New through the stages. Holidays and
York's love doctor!' He birthdays are particularly painful
calls himself a personal because it "renews an emotional
coach. Whatever the bond. But the second year is not as
term, he's a godsend to painful." On these occasions, the in-
people who are suffer- dividual often has flashbacks to time
ing grief and sadness spent with the loved one.
The first stage, of course, is shock,
when their love rela-
and with it comes confusion. "You
Dr. Stephen Gullo, director of the have trouble believing it's over!' Dr.
bereavement program at Columbia Gullo explained. "You have trouble
Presbyterian Hospital in New York, carrying through your daily respon-
has developed what he calls loveshock sibilities!' The second stage is grief
therapy, "a training program that and mourning, just as if one had ex-
perienced the death of a loved one.
trains you how to deal with loss!'
What is loveshock? According to Often depression sets in.
The next stage is blame. The in-
Dr. Gullo, it is "the state of psy-
blames everyone and every-
chological disorientation that follows
for the breakup of the
the break-up of a love relationship!'
It's not a discovery with which he can
be credited, he admitted. It's been blames himself or the other person,
around since the beginning of time. his career, religious differences or
philosophies of life," Dr. Gullo said.
He just gave it a name.
The period of disorientation is Anger is often associated with this
similar to the emotions that occur stage, and individuals may act out
after the death of a spouse. There are this anger through extreme behavior,
several stages to loveshock, from the such as excessive eating or drinking.
Soon the individual begins to
initial feelings over the end of the
relationship to the time when the in- resign himself to what has happened.
dividual has come to grips with the Dr. Gullo calls this the good-by stage.
Not long after, the individual will
On the average, Dr. Gullo said, it want to get his life back on track and
takes individuals about a year to go will want to date again. In the final
stage — resolution — the individual
can get through the day without
thinking of the partner from the
broken relationship. "The psycho-
logical pull has really ended!' he
Hundreds have heard of Dr.
Gullo's approach through his lectures,
television appearances or as clients at
one of his four New York offices or at
his Los Angeles location. He has
many patients from around the coun-
try and has done "phone therapy." He
models his "training program" after
grief therapy "to help a person let go!'
He has found that loveshock has
symptoms similar to Vietnam
veterans suffering shellshock.
A pioneer in loss and grief
therapy, Dr. Gullo holds a doctorate in
psychology from Columbia Universi-
ty. He has been an assistant clinical
professor in behavioral science at Col-
umbia Medical Center, co-authored
three books on loss and grief and is
consulting editor for Advances of
Thanatology, published by the Colum-
bia Medical Center. His book
Loveshock: How to Survive a Broken
Heart and Love Again (Simon and
Shuster) is due out this month.
When he treats individuals, he ex-
plains what they are going through is
normal behavior. Pain is normal,
Gullo says, because "that is what
helps us heal!' It is those who deny
they have pain who have an abnormal
The "love doctor" tells his pa-
tients what stages they are going
through in loveshock. He cautions
against overeating as well as getting
into a new relationship before they're
The therapy program takes eight-
to-10 weeks, and clients may come in
once or twice a week. Gullo is quick
to point out that what he does is not
psychotherapy. Persons needing
psychological or psychiatric help are
referred to the appropriate
To help individuals between
visits, Gullo lends out tapes, in-
cluding the motivational variety. He
also gives clients "assignments," such
as dealing with their "obsessional
thinking" or trying to get through the
weekend without overeating.
More women seek out his pro-
gram than men. Men, he said, often
have severe reactions; they want to
jump off buildings. "Most men have
a greater level of hiding emotional
vulnerability. Women can talk it out."
Gullo has trained a number of
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS