Justin Sterling

A.Justin Sterling

Private Sessions with Justin Sterling

Private "Clearing" Sessions

  • Are you struggling with an issue in your relationship(s)?
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  • Have you ever wanted to have a private session with Justin?

Now is your opportunity! Individual or couples welcome.

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An interview with Justin Sterling

How did you get started in relationship counseling and the Weekends?

I had a professional relationship with a director of a women’s organization that counseled women about how to be successful in their career. We began to see a correlation between women’s ability to be successful in their careers and their inability to be successful in their personal relationships. This organization began referring clients to me and I experienced a great deal of success with those clients. Then we decided it might be productive to address in seminar form the similar issues that these women had. The first seminars were very successful and the women who completed them referred other women and it just grew from there.

Could you describe your basic philosophy about men and women, relationships and marriage?

The essential core of the philosophy is that men and women are different on many different levels—biological, psychological, intellectual, emotional. Even though in the past 30 years the popular culture has tended to ignore those differences, I believe that men and women should embrace those qualities that that make them intrinsically male and intrinsically female. The model of relationship I encourage both men and women to adopt is one which is predicated upon defining the differences between men and women; and identifying , embracing, and projecting those differences into the relationship. As men and women begin to understand and accept their differences, they can begin to respect and accept each other in a successful long-term relationship that is based on celebrating those differences rather than trying to become more like each other.

Could you describe your basic philosophy of the Women's Weekend?

The basic philosophy of the Women's Weekend is that when a woman begins to accept and embrace all of her female characteristics, then she can make wise choices. These choices are very personal ones, ones that will affect the direction and outcome of the rest of her life. A woman’s freedom lies in the acceptance of her feminine nature, not in trying to adopt what are fundamentally male characteristics. A woman’s happiness and satisfaction in a long-term relationship with a man lies in accepting her man just as he is, without burdening him and the relationship with her expectations that he will change to accommodate the way she thinks he should be. The more a woman accepts herself, the easier it is for her to accept her man.

Could you describe your basic philosophy of the Men's Weekend

If I had to describe it in a simple way, I’d say that even though men think women want them to be more like women, they really don’t. They want a man who has the courage to be himself and not sell himself out by pretending to be someone else, a man they can respect because he doesn’t let anyone (including his woman) push him around. The basic philosophy of the Men’s Weekend is that men must be encouraged to rediscover their essential masculinity and, through that, redefine what it means to be male in this culture. The Weekend philosophy helps men understand the conflicts they face and find their own power, success and personal freedom through becoming “the man they always wanted to be”.

You say women should be 100% responsible for the success of the relationship - can you expound on that?

Whether or not men will admit it, the success of a long-term committed relationship is not really all that important to them. In a way that’s good, because men basically don’t have the desire or the skills to create a successful relationship; however, women do. Simply put, the one who has the skill and the desire should be the one who is responsible for its success.

If the woman is completely responsible, then what is a man's role in a relationship?

A man’s role is to make sure he doesn’t become feminine in his actions and attitudes, and to begin to learn what he as a man can do to accommodate or take care of a woman in the best possible way. A man who is secure and confident in his masculine identity has more to bring to a woman, which enables her to more effectively assume responsibility for the success of that relationship.

Many people say your philosophy is a throwback to the 50's ...

My philosophy is really about accepting, respecting and honoring biology, psychology and evolution. Many people believe that we, as a society, have reached a certain level of awareness about men and women. However, I see many cases where people seem to believe what they would like to be true about men and women, rather than what history and biology have proven is actually true. I think what I’m offering both men and women is a choice; a choice to see relationships in a different way; a choice to try something that has worked for thousands of people who have utilized my philosophy and techniques.

Why is there so much secrecy around the Weekends

The Weekends are very personal, and the women and men who attend these Weekends do so for very personal reasons and to deal with very personal issues. It isn’t so much about secrecy as it is confidentiality. The Weekends are not quite in the mainstream and people who are in sensitive positions, positions of influence and power, might not want to be associated with something that isn’t quite mainstream. We are careful to make sure we protect the privacy of the men and women who attend these seminars.

With regard to the information in the seminars, coming to the seminar is like a surprise. Each person’s experience is unique and personal; in fact, it has been a part of the tradition that men and women who have graduated from the Weekends do not want to “spoil” it for the men and women who they sponsor into the Weekend by revealing what it was for them. The seminars offer a means of profound insight and self-discovery. If we reveal or attempt to prepare the participants for it, it would negate the spontaneous and deep effect the Weekend has on each person’s life. It isn’t so much that we keep it a secret, it’s that we keep it fresh and new, as a discovery should be.

Some people find it peculiar that you have volunteers working for a profit making company.

I can’t explain why people think this is peculiar. Many profit-making companies utilize the skills and talent of volunteers. Many volunteers tell me that the Weekend has had a profound effect on their lives in very personal ways, and they get a feeling of fulfillment by helping make sure the Weekends are available to their friends and family. For many, it is a continuation of the Weekend experience and they find the satisfaction in giving something back.

Is the Sterling Institute of Relationship a cult?

Not being an expert on cults, I’m not really qualified to say. When I started doing these seminars, it was not with the intention of starting a cult. If what we do happens to fit into what some people consider is a cult, I can’t debate that. When I look at cults, I don’t see many similarities between what the SIR does and what these organizations do. People are not asked to turn over their possessions, money or free will; there is no “brainwashing”; there is no sex. We’re just an organization that produces seminars that have a profound effect on men’s and women’s lives. And, since the very first seminar, there has been a tradition that seminar graduates volunteer to produce subsequent seminars. It is important to them to play a part in the continuation of something that so greatly affected their lives.

What do you hope to achieve through your work?

I hope to have some kind of affect on decreasing the divorce rate, and reducing the devastating effects divorce has on children, as well as the way these children of divorce affect future generations. Divorce hurts children. It makes them become emotionally and psychologically disabled in many ways. With over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, we are raising a generation of “quitters”, people who are unable for form deep and lasting emotional bonds with other people, the key factor in keeping a marriage together. As men and women become more connected to their essential natures and learn what it takes to create and maintain a successful long-term relationship, the ills of society will diminish. I hope the work we are doing will bring lasting benefit to our society.

What do you mean by a “true global community” that is mentioned in your purpose statement?

People are beginning to realize how alike we are when reduced to our basic elements. It does not matter where we are from, what our backgrounds are, there are some basic desires and needs that bring us together. As the world becomes smaller, the things we have in common become more obvious. As we begin to witness a global economic community, I also think we are poised for a more emotional, personal, and value-oriented global community.