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Daniel Sonkin


Daniel Jay Sonkin, Ph.D. was a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT16644) in an independent practice in Sausalito, California. From 1981, his work has focused on the treatment of individuals and couples facing a variety interpersonal problems. He retired in March, 2024 after 43 years in practice. In addition to his clinical experience, he has testified as an expert witness since 1977 in criminal cases where domestic violence is an issue. He has also evaluates defendants facing the death penalty conducting social histories with a focus on their childhood abuse and its impact on adult criminal behavior. He has also testified as an expert witness in malpractice cases and licensing actions.

As one of the early specialists in the field of family violence, Dr. Sonkin has developed a widely used protocol for treating male batterers. His book, Learning to Live Without Violence: A Handbook for Men has been published in English, Spanish and Japanese and is utilized by treatment programs around the world. He is also the author of numerous articles and books on domestic violence and child abuse including, The Male Batterer: A Treatment Approach; Domestic Violence on Trial: Psychological and Legal Dimensions of Family Violence; and Wounded Boys/Heroic Men: A Man’s Guide to Recovering from Childhood Abuse; The JurisMonitor Stabilization Program for Stalkers; A Counselors Guide to Learning to Live Without Violence; the co-editor of Intimate Violence: Contemporary Treatment Innovations; and Domestic Violence: The Court-Mandated Perpetrator Assessment and Treatment Handbook.

He has also written software for assessing violence for windows-based computers.

For many years he integrated attachment theory and neurobiology into his clinical work with perpetrators and victims of violence, as well as his general psychotherapy patients. He edited a book with Don Dutton entitled Intimate Violence: Contemporary Treatment Innovations, published by Haworth Trauma and Maltreatment Press. In it, he and Don Dutton wrote a chapter on treating domestic violence from an attachment perspective. He has attended the Adult Attachment Interview Institute in Minneapolis and has recently completed several articles on attachment theory and psychotherapy. You can read more about his approach to psychotherapy by reading the numerous articles he has written posted here online.

In addition to his clinical practice, he was an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counseling at Sonoma State University from 1994 through 2004, a former member of the Ethics Committee (1989-1998) and is a former member of the Board of Directors (1998-2000) of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

He is the recipient of the 1989 Clark Vincent Award for Literary Contribution to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is the 2000 recipient of the Honorary Distinguished Clinical Member Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

In March, 2024, after 43 years, Dr. Sonkin retired his clinical practice.