Harriet Lerner

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Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., (born November 30, 1944) is a clinical psychologist, a contributor to psychoanalytic concepts regarding family and feminist theory and therapy,[1][2] and also, the author of many books written for the general public. From 1972 to 2001 she was a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas and a faculty member and supervisor in the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry. During this time she published extensively on the psychology of women and family relationships, revising traditional psychoanalytic concepts to reflect feminist and family systems perspectives.[3]


Lerner did her undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin, where she received a government grant to study and pursue independent research in Delhi, India. She received her M.A. in Educational Psychology from Teachers College of Columbia University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The City University of New York. She did her predoctoral internship at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco and completed her postdoctoral training at the Menninger Clinic, where she subsequently joined the staff.[4]


Lerner is best known for her general-audience books which provide a framework for understanding and improving family and work relationships.

The Dance of Anger, a New York Times bestseller that has been translated into more than 35 foreign editions, was the first book published in the United States on the subject of women's anger.[5] Women in Therapy is a compilation of her professional publications related to the psychology of women.

She is an award-winning children’s book author with her sister, Susan Goldhor.[6]


  • The Dance of Anger, 1985, revised in 2005
  • Women in Therapy, 1988
  • The Dance of Intimacy, 1989
  • The Dance of Deception, 1993
  • Life Preservers, 1996
  • The Mother Dance, 1998
  • The Dance of Connection, 2001
  • The Dance of Fear, 2004
  • Marriage Rules, 2012
  • Why Won't You Apologize, 2017

Children's books[edit]

  • What’s So Terrible About Swallowing An Appleseed?, 1996
  • Franny B. Kranny, There’s a Bird in Your Hair!, 2001


She has two sons. Matt Lerner is the co-founder of Walk Score. Ben Lerner is a poet a novelist who has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, among other honors. She is married to Steve Lerner is a psychologist and filmmaker.


  1. ^ About. Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.
  2. ^ Harriet Lerner from HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.
  3. ^ Garvey Lecture Series at Friends University. Friends University. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.
  4. ^ Harriet Lerner, PhD" Health care speaker. Speakers on Healthcare. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.
  5. ^ "PAPERBACK BEST SELLERS: May 21, 1989". The New York Times. May 21, 1989. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  6. ^ Franny B. Kranny. There's a Bird in Your Hair!. Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.