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Monday, March 31, 2008

AWESOME ENDEAVORS: Interview with Dr Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Author of “Dating From The Inside Out”

Listen to HSM's exclusive podcast interview with Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, a licensed psychologist, soon-to-be new mom, and the owner of My Dating School in Manhattan where she facilitates classes on dating. The website is www.mydatingschool.com. She also writes a monthly dating column, called “Dr Date” in the Improper, a popular New York lifestyle and entertainment magazine. She’s been quoted in many publications, including Glamour. Dr. Sherman is a regular speaker at The Learning Annex. She’s been a dating expert on radio & television and has coached many private clients on creating successful relationships.

In addition to all this, she is a Brooklyn author. Her new book entitled “Dating From The Inside Out “ - How To Use The Laws Of Attraction In Matters Of The Heart can be ordered online at Amazon.com. Below is a written, abridged version of the Hip Slope Mama "Awesome Endeavors" interview. To listen to the extended podcast interview please click "Play" below.

HSM: What made you start ‘My Dating School’?
DR. SHERMAN: I started, ‘My Dating School’ because I had many clients who were attractive, successful and happy in their work, friendships and family life, but they were frustrated that they could not find a life-mate. They kept picking the same type’ of partner in different packaging. They were frustrated because they said that they wanted one thing but kept attracting and choosing something else. I wanted to help them become more conscious and successful in their love relationships. Often they would all say the same things and they would think that they were the only ones. They would say that all their friends have a relationship or there is no one to go out with or maybe they should stop dating. And, it’s one thing for me to tell them that a lot of what they’re feeling is normal. It’s another level to actually have other people in the class sharing their experiences because a lot of times when someone tells their story you can really hear yourself in it. And you can also meet people who are going through similar things to maybe go out with to singles events. I started to see dating as a learning experience, not just something that you have to get through in order to get married and my classes were a result of that...

HSM: Your new book is entitled ‘Dating From the Inside-Out’, what does that mean?
Dr. SHERMAN: I called it ‘Dating From the Inside-Out’ because, in my experience, a lot of dating books and dating experts speak about changing your appearance, how to manipulate, what to say … sort of universal rules that you should play act rather then be yourself. So there is a big focus on the outside and affecting the other person on the outside in order to get what you want. What I really wanted to do, as a psychologist, was to show that probably at least 75% of what goes on first happens inside and we don’t know that. For instance, a lot of people will say “This person never called me. What was it about me? What did I do?” Sometimes it could be something about you, but a lot of times it could be something about the other person’s dating psychology. For example, maybe they had a controlling mother and you are really mellow and fun so you don’t match their unconscious type therefore they are not going to call you again. Or maybe they tend to be very ambivalent in relationships and they get scared. Or they have this pattern of having a great date and then not calling. You don’t know, so a lot of times we blame ourselves but we don’t really understand where that other person is coming from. Or vice versa, we end up acting out the same thing again and again and we don’t really understand why we’re doing it. I think my book is different from a lot of books because if focuses on our dating psychology and understanding what we create inside is what we get outside.

HSM: From your experience with My Dating School, why would someone pay for dating classes or coaching?
Dr. SHERMAN: In this lifetime, we pay for what we value and it’s funny how there is so much stigma around that even when it comes to pyschotherapy. I think that is changing, but people will say, “why do I have to pay someone to care about me or talk to me”? But that is not what it’s about. You are paying a professional to see what you can’t see to help you become the best you can be and that affects every area of your life. So we are coming to accept that about therapy now, but when it comes to our love lives we still have this romantic notion that everything will just fall right into place.

In this society we have so many different areas that we have to work on. We have to be a daughter, a friend, a worker and we don’t dedicate a lot of time to getting out there and meeting people. So it doesn’t always just happen easily and we have this myth that it should. So, we don’t want to put in any action or effort and also we don’t think we should have to get advice or coaching or we shouldn’t have to pay to get online to actually meet people or pay for an event. So we end up being very passive and then we say, “Why is everyone happy but us? Why has everyone met people? and I think it is a real defeatist myth and it doesn’t really empower people to take action and create what they want. I try to encourage people. For instance, there are dating sites that are free. There are ways around it, but it is a limiting belief that really stops you from having all the resources that would help you in this area. It makes sense to invest time, energy and money in manifesting something significant. If you wanted a great job you would invest in someone to review your resume, a career coach, pay for job posting sites and invest in a good interview suit. Yet when it comes to love we mix a cocktail of hope, luck and destiny and pray that it will transform our lives.

HSM: Does being a psychologist add to your power to your niche as a dating coach?
Dr. SHERMAN: Many dating coaches set goals about what a client wants in a mate and helps them alter their looks, behavior and actions to meet a mate. As a psychologist, I address things on a deeper level, helping them understand why they choose the mates that they do and how to create a relationship that is different from their past dating psychology. Dating coaches know a lot about external action but they don’t look at the inside piece and I haven’t really read any books by psychologists about dating because they don’t look at it often as a serious subject, so they might talk about marriage or other things but it’s been largely neglected in the field. So I felt like I bridge the gap, since I’m both (a dating coach and psychologist), to look at the inside and how it leads to the outside.

HSM: Is there is a correlation between dating well and marital success?
According to my dating philosophy there is a correlation between dating well and your later marital success. Success is not just marrying someone; it is marrying someone who is a great partner for you! If you know yourself and know what you want in a partner, you will be better prepared to co-create a life with that person. Also, by dating you will be learning what you do not want and becoming aware of what you do in relationships that does not work. You will have interviewed your husband so both of you want the same key things. Sure, marriage will present other challenges but you will start out better prepared then people who just ‘fall in love’ and act only on chemistry.

HSM: What is a Dating Action Plan & how does a dating support group & dating coaching make it successful?
Dr. SHERMAN: A Dating Action Plan holds you accountable for taking specific action steps on your dating goals. For example, Sally wanted to meet someone but she never went out. Her Dating Action Plan listed two things she would do each week. A Dating Coach or support group would help her be accountable for her action commitments and would help her understand what got in her way when she did not follow through.