NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Louise A. Frey ( 1924 - 2009)
Louise Frey received her MSW degree in 1948 from the Columbia University School of Social Work where she was one of the first students to be placed in a clinical group work setting. This was the beginning of a social work career as an innovator of group work services in health and mental health programs. The second phase of her career was spent developing continuing education based on adult education and systems theory.
In her early career, she was a group worker in the Palmer Institute in Detroit in the School Age Child Development program. Following this, she managed to convince the Yale Medical School Psychiatry Faculty that they should hire a group of social workers to help them implement an American version of the concept of treatment, as promulgated by Maxwell Jones in England. The results of Louise’s work are described in books by anthropologist William Candell and psychiatrist and political scientist, Robert Rubenstein.
After three years in the Department of Psychiatry, Ms. Frey returned to New York as the first caseworker at Fountain House. She then went on to spend a summer at a camp for orthopedically limited children and then assumed directorship of a demonstration project integrating children from special classes into regular club groups in community centers.
She joined the faculty at the Boston University School of Social Work where she implemented a NIMH grant to establish group work practice, field work and courses in clinical settings. She retired in 1991.