Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Author and Media Psychologist“What I get to do on a daily basis is so fulfilling.”—Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. ’76
Why is it so difficult for many women to find lasting love? Manhattan psychologist Diana Adile Kirschner Ph.D. ’76 has some theories.
“It starts with not being truthful about what they’re doing to sabotage themselves,” she says. “Are they getting out there? Are they picking guys who aren’t into them? Or are they doing the ‘not perfect, I’ll pass’ syndrome?”
Dr. Kirschner is the author of Love in 90 Days, a dating guide that’s designed to help readers break these patterns and find lasting love in just three months. Last spring, she appeared on Fox Television’s Morning Show with Mike & Juliet to demonstrate how her techniques work. Over 13 episodes, she helped Amelia, a perennially dateless 37-year-old, boost her self-esteem and rapidly sort through the duds to get to some studs.
Dr. Kirschner’s techniques for finding love include casually dating three people at once and abstaining from sex.
“Once you start having sex,” she explains, “you get dopamine, which is the infatuation brain chemical, you get oxytocin, which is the bonding chemical, and the body falls in love quickly, even before you know if you like the person.” In three months, Amelia did indeed find a boyfriend, whom she was still dating at Thanksgiving, when she called Dr. Kirschner to thank her again.
Dr. Kirschner, who’s also hosted a PBS special on finding love and is regularly invited to dispense dating advice on programs such as The Today Show, is a big fan of reaching out to the lovelorn through television.
“You can’t do the kind of deep transformational work that you would do through one-on-one therapy,” she says. “But you can give hope and certain guidelines that can be tremendously helpful.”
Dr. Kirschner decided to major in psychology as an undergraduate at the University of California at Los Angeles after her own heart was broken. Her fiancé ended their engagement over the phone, and she dove into the subject to better understand relationships.
“As I learned more about psychology, I decided I wanted to help people,” she says. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at what is now the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies.
After Adelphi University, Dr. Kirschner ran the Institute for Comprehensive Family Therapy, a postgraduate training center for mental health professionals near Philadelphia, with her husband, Sam Kirschner Ph.D. ’75, a psychologist she met at the Derner Institute. Dr. Kirschner studied healthy couples and wrote lots of jargon-filled academic papers on how they behaved. But, she says, “the lessons we saw were so profound that I thought I’d like to transfer this to a greater audience.” Love in 90 Days, first published in 2009, is her third book for a general audience.
The paperback version of Love in 90 Days came out in February, and Dr. Kirschner is reaching out to romanceseekers in novel ways. She regularly posts dating advice videos on YouTube and is in talks to develop a love advice text-messaging service, as well as a movie based on her book.
“What I get to do on a daily basis is so fulfilling,” Dr. Kirschner says. “I love the feeling I get when I’ve connected with people and given them something I think they can really use to transform their lives.”