Lerner, Harriet 1944-

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LERNER, Harriet 1944-

PERSONAL: Born November 30, 1944, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Archie (an office manager) and Rose (an art gallery employee; maiden name, Rubin) Goldhor; married Steve Lerner (a psychologist), 1972; children: Matt, Ben. Ethnicity: Jewish. Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.A., 1966; Columbia University, M.A., 1967; City University of New York, Ph.D., 1972. Politics: "Progressive, feminist."

ADDRESSES: Agent—Jo-Lynne Worley, Worley Shoemaker Management, 215 W. 53rd St., Kansas City, MO 64112-2815. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Author, lecturer, consultant, and workshop leader. Menninger Clinic, Topeka, KS, staff psychologist and psychotherapist, 1972-2001. Psychologist in private practice.

MEMBER: American Psychological Association, American Orthopsychiatric Association, Kansas Psychological Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Authors Guild.

AWARDS, HONORS: Kansas Woman of the Year, 1990; Harriet Lerner Day, Proclamation of the Governor of Kansas, 1990; Woman of Distinction Award, Girl Scouts of America, 1996; "Woman of Words" Honor, Woman of the World, 1996; Kansas Distinguished Award for Literature; Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair! was chosen as one of the "Children's Choices for 2002" by the International Reading Association/Children's Book Council; Parents' Choice award, Parents' Choice Foundation, for Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!.

WRITINGS:

The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, Harper (New York, NY), 1985.

Women in Therapy, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1989.

The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.

The Dance of Deception: Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Life Preservers: Good Advice When You Need It Most, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

The Dance of Fear: Rising Above Anxiety, Fear, and Shame to be your Best and Bravest Self, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

children's books; coauthor with sister, susan goldhor

What's So Terrible about Swallowing an Apple Seed?, illustrated by Catharine O'Neill, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

other

Author of audio tapes on adult topics. Author of a monthly column in New Woman, 1989—. Contributor of numerous articles on human relationships to popular and professional journals. Member of editorial board, Child, Lilith, Lamaza Family Magazine, and MOMbo, Inc.

SIDELIGHTS: Harriet Lerner is a psychologist whose books, including The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships, and The Dance of Deception: Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives, offer many insights into feminine behavior as well as advice on living to one's fullest potential.

Lerner's upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, had a profound influence on her later work. Visits to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Library, and the Brooklyn Museum were frequent. Her mother was passionate about art, and she passed to her children an "enduring love of art and beauty," said the author in A Reader's Guide to the Work of Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. She recalled that her mother considered four things essential for her childrens' success: "good shoes (I don't mean stylish); a firm, quality mattress; a top pediatrician (none other than Doctor Benjamin Spock); and a therapist." Lerner began writing in Brooklyn, keeping a diary that helped her to see writing as an everyday activity—one that could bring great comfort.

In her psychology books, Lerner seeks to help people understand how interpersonal relationships work, and how to deal with common problems that arise in human relations. The "Dance" series of books treats different situations in women's lives. Reviewing The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate in Library Journal, Lisa Wise found it to be "an accessible and well-organized work that, with its predecessors, belongs in all libraries." A reviewer from Publishers Weekly also recommended the book, commenting that it bolstered the author's reputation as "one of the most helpful writers on the topic" of difficult relationships. In an interview with Lauren Picker for Town & Country, Lerner gave some advice for living a satisfying life, saying: "Peace of mind doesn't just descend upon us; we have to make a new plan, to be willing to give up the old ways… The key is to get self-focused and calm enough to do your best thinking about how to have more calm, love and inner peace in your life. Meditation, therapy, friendship, creative pursuits, exercise, yoga and gardening are just some of the paths that you can take to reduce stress, to become more centered and to foster your best self."

In addition to her self-help books, Lerner has also written stories for children, collaborating with her sister, Susan Goldhor. In What's So Terrible about Swallowing an Apple Seed?, little Rosie swallows an apple seed. When her older sister Katie successfully plants the notion that a tree will now grow in her stomach, Rosie also swallows the lie. Until Rosie learns the truth from a friend, Katie uses her sister's gullibility to advance the story, going as far as to examine Rosie's ears for sprouting branches. Rosie learns it's okay to question what her sister tells her. A Kirkus Reviews critic questioned the "cruel prank" which forms the center of the story, but School Library Journal contributor Carolyn Jenks termed the story a "lighthearted, honest celebration of the imagination," concluding that the work is "an imaginative journey of fantastic possibilities." The sisters collaborated again on Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair! The title character in this story loves her wild, frizzy mane of red hair, and strenuously resists her family's efforts to get her to cut it in a short, neat style like her prim sister Bertha's. She unwillingly has her hair pinned up for a family reunion, only to have a bird take up residence in her huge nest of hair. "Franny's independent mind and unshakable self-confidence will inspire fledgling iconoclasts," approved a reviewer for Horn Book.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

books

A Reader's Guide to the Dance of Connection, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

A Reader's Guide to the Mother Dance, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

A Reader's Guide to the Work of Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

periodicals

Biography, February, 2002, pp. 49-52.

Booklist, June 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 1891.

Horn Book, July, 2001, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 441.

Horn Book Guide, spring, 1997, p. 36; spring, 1998, p. 36; fall, 2001, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 263.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1996, p. 1052; April 15, 2001, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 588.

Library Journal, September 1, 1999, review of The Mother Dance (audio version), p. 255; August 1, 2001, Lisa Wise, review of The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate, p. 139.

MOMbo, October, 2001.

New York Times Book Review, May 20, 2001, Jane Margolies, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, January, 2001; June 25, 2001, review of The Dance of Connection, p. 59.

School Library Journal, September, 1996, pp. 183-184; June, 2001, Ann Cook, review of Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!, p. 122.

Time, November 18, 2002.

Town & Country, September, 1999, Lauren Picker, interview with Harriet Lerner, p. 136.

Working Mother, October, 2002.

online

BluePrint for Health, http://www.blueprint.bluecrossmn.com/ (February 28, 2002), Connie Matthiessen, review of The Dance of Connection.

Harriet Lerner Home Page, http://www.harrietlerner.com (February 11, 2003).