Judith Lewis Herman

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Judith Lewis Herman
Born1942 (age 81–82)
Nationality (legal)American
Alma materRadcliffe College
Harvard Medical School[1]
Known forResearch on complex post-traumatic stress disorder and incest
Scientific career

Judith Lewis Herman (born 1942) is an American psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and author who has focused on the understanding and treatment of incest and traumatic stress.

Herman is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Director of Training at the Victims of Violence Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a founding member of the Women's Mental Health Collective.

She was the recipient of the 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the 2000 Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women's Association. In 2003, she was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Early life[edit]

Herman was born in New York City to Helen Block Lewis, who was a psychologist and psychoanalyst and taught at Yale, and Naphtali Lewis, who worked as a professor of classics at City University of New York.[2] She received her education at Radcliffe College and Harvard Medical School.[3]


Herman's work focuses on the understanding of trauma and its victims, as set out in her second book, Trauma and Recovery.[4] There she distinguishes between single-incident traumas – one-off events – which she termed Type I traumas, and complex or repeated traumas (Type II).[5] Type I trauma, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, "accurately describes the symptoms that result when a person experiences a short-lived psychological trauma".[6] Type II – the concept of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) – includes "the syndrome that follows upon prolonged, repeated trauma".[7] Although not yet accepted by DSM-IV as a separate diagnostic category, the notion of complex traumas has been found useful in clinical practice,[8] although the 11th revision of ICD (ICD-11), released in 2018, included that diagnosis for the first time.[9]

Herman also set out a three-stage sequence of trauma treatment and recovery. The first and most important involved the establishment of safety, which might be especially difficult for those in abusive relationships.[10] The second phase involved active work upon the trauma, fostered by that secure base, and employing any of a range of psychological techniques.[11] The final stage was represented by an advance to a new post-traumatic life,[12] possibly broadened by the experience of surviving the trauma and all it involved.[13]

Herman is studying the effects of the justice system on victims of sexual violence to discover a better way for victims of crimes to interact with what she perceives as an 'adversarial' system of crime and punishment in the U.S.[14]



  • Herman, Judith Lewis (1997) [1992]. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 978-0-465-08730-3.
  • Herman, Judith Lewis (2000) [1981]. Father-daughter Incest. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-07651-8.
  • Herman, Judith Lewis. (2023) Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice. London: Basic Books.ISBN 978-1-5416-0054-6 [15]

Selected book chapters[edit]

  • Herman, Judith Lewis (2003), "Introduction: Hidden in Plain Sight: Clinical Observations on Prostitution", in Farley, Melissa (ed.), Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress, Binghamton, New York: Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press, pp. 1–16, ISBN 978-1-136-76490-5. Sample pdf.

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ "Judith Herman". harvard.edu. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Judith Herman". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Judith Herman". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  4. ^ John Marzillier. To Hell and Back. 2012, p. 302.
  5. ^ Marzillier. To Hell and Back. 2012, pp. 2,12.
  6. ^ Whealin,Ph.D., Julia M.; Slone,Ph.D., Laurie (May 22, 2007). "National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet: Complex PTSD". National Center for PTSD, United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  7. ^ Herman, Judith Lewis (1997) [1992], "A new diagnosis", in Herman, Judith Lewis (ed.), Trauma and recovery: the aftermath of violence - from domestic abuse to political terror, New York: BasicBooks, p. 119, ISBN 978-0-465-08730-3.
  8. ^ John Marzillier, To Hell and Back (2012) p. 304.
  9. ^ Cloitre, Marylène (2020). "ICD-11 complex post-traumatic stress disorder: Simplifying diagnosis in trauma populations". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 216 (3): 129–131. doi:10.1192/bjp.2020.43. PMID 32345416. S2CID 213910628.
  10. ^ J. L. Herman, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1440-1819.1998.0520s5S145.x
  11. ^ John Marzillier. To Hell and Back. 2012, p. 182.
  12. ^ D. Goleman. Emotional Intelligence. 1996, p. 213.
  13. ^ John Marzillier. To Hell and Back. 2012, p. 256.
  14. ^ "Center for the Humanities-War: 2009/2010". deimos3.apple.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  15. ^ Kenneally, Christine (March 14, 2023). "What Should Justice Look Like for Trauma Survivors? Ask Them". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 23, 2023.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]