ABOUT DR. HARRIET LERNER
EDUCATION AND CAREER
Harriet did her undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she majored in psychology and East Indian studies, and spent her junior year doing independent research in Delhi, India. She received an M.A. in educational psychology from Teachers' College of Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the City University of New York.
Harriet completed her pre-doctoral internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco and moved to Topeka, Kansas in 1972 for a two-year postdoctoral training program at the Menninger Foundation. She then joined the staff where she was a teacher and supervisor in the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry for over two decades.
After Menninger closed shop in Topeka and moved to Houston, Harriet and her husband Steve (also a psychologist) moved to Lawrence, Kansas where they currently have a private practice. They have two grown sons, Matt and Ben.
Lerner is best known for her scholarly work on the psychology of women and family relationships, and for her many best-selling books. Feminism and family systems theory continue to inform her writing. Lerner lectures and consults nationally, while her psychotherapy practice remains at the heart of her work.
A BIT OF FAMILY HISTORY FROM HARRIET
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, where I spent my childhood at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Museum. These places were free and just a subway token away.
My mother, Rose, had strong principles about how to raise my sister, Susan, and me. Even during the hardest economic times, she made sure that we had four things that she believed were essential to our later success:
1. Good shoes (I don't mean stylish)
2. A firm, quality mattress
3. A top pediatrician (none other than Doctor Benjamin Spock).
4. A therapist
Harriet and her 92 year old mother, Rose, in Topeka, Kansas.
Unlike other parents of the day who considered therapy to be the last resort of the mentally ill, my progressive Jewish mother thought it was a learning experience. She put me in therapy before I was three, after obtaining a health insurance policy that provided weekly therapy sessions for one dollar.
I often joke that my mother would send me to a therapist if I came home from school with anything less than a B plus. I’m exaggerating, but only a little bit.
My mother's belief in therapy undoubtedly contributed to my early career choice. I decided to become a psychologist before finishing kindergarten - a decision I never veered from.
photo credit: Sunflower Publications/Jason Dailey