Harriet Lerner

Harriet Lerner

American clinical psychologist.
Date of Birth: 30.11.1944
Country: USA

Biography of Harriet Lerner

Early Life and Education
Harriet Lerner, an American clinical psychologist, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, with her parents Archie and Rose Gouldhor. Even as a child, Lerner had a clear understanding of her path in life and a strong desire to become a clinical psychologist. Her parents, who both had only a middle school education, wanted their daughters to achieve success in a time when women were expected to do little more than "find someone." Lerner recalls, "Success for me and my sister Susan was on par with religion. My father would say, 'My daughters are going to be doctors' even though we were still in diapers." Despite their modest means, Lerner and Susan spent their weekends exploring places like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Public Library, and Brooklyn Museum. These places offered freedom and only required a subway token, as Lerner recalls. Her mother had unwavering faith in her children and adhered to principles of parenting that she trusted. Lerner remembers, "Even in the most difficult economic times, my mother, Rose, believed that for Susan and me, four things were essential for success: 1. Good shoes (not stylish ones) 2. A firm, quality mattress 3. The best pediatrician (none other than Dr. Benjamin Spock) 4. Psychotherapy. Unlike other parents who saw therapy as a last resort for the mentally ill, my mother believed that this system would improve our education. As soon as she had medical insurance, she took me to therapy sessions when I was not even three years old."

Harriet Lerner

Career and Achievements
Lerner's belief in the power of psychotherapy greatly influenced her career choice. She decided to become a clinical psychologist even before she stopped attending preschool. She attended local public schools in Brooklyn, including Midwood High School. Lerner completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she specialized in psychology and Indian studies. During her third year, she studied in Delhi, India. She earned a Bachelor's degree in educational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the City University of New York. It was at the City University of New York where Lerner met her future husband, Steve Lerner, also a clinical psychologist. Before defending her doctoral dissertation, Lerner conducted research at the non-profit hospital "Mount Zion" established by the Jewish community in San Francisco. In 1972, she moved to Topeka, Kansas, for a two-year post-doctoral program at the Menninger Foundation, where she later became a staff member. Lerner initially planned to return to Berkeley or New York, but the two years in Topeka turned into two decades. She now considers herself a Kansan, having overcome her "coastal arrogance." Lerner has learned to love the simple life, as evidenced by her inability to parallel park and her love for the vast open skies. After the Menninger Foundation relocated and closed its doors in Topeka, Lerner and her husband moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where they currently have a private practice. They have two sons, Matt and Ben.

Harriet Lerner

Notable Work and Recognition
Lerner gained prominence for her research in the field of women's psychology and family relationships, as well as for her bestselling books. Feminism and family systems theory continue to be topics she explores in her writings. Lerner has dedicated her writing career to translating complex theories into accessible and useful prose. She has become one of the most trusted and respected experts on interpersonal relationships in the United States. Lerner has received numerous awards, including the Kansas Distinguished Literary Award and the William Allen White Award for outstanding achievements in literature and journalism. The Governor of Kansas established a special "Harriet Lerner Day" in her honor, and she has been named "Kansas Woman of the Year."

Harriet Lerner

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