NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Roberta K. Graziano brought important theoretical insights into mainstream social work education and practice. She taught what is believed to be the first course in object relations theory in a school of social work (at Smith College in 1983). She later taught this course in the post-Master’s program at Hunter College School of Social Work and in subsequent doctoral courses. She published one of the first articles on the subject in the Clinical Social Work Journal in 1986, an article which is still used in many practice courses.
In her psychotherapy practice Graziano noted that many of her women clients were struggling with issues that had, until the 1980s, been overlooked in the DSM and in the mental health field generally. When the category of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was added to the DSM, she developed a theoretically-based social work approach to adult survivors of child sexual abuse and presented her findings internationally. This led to the eventual incorporation of trauma in social work studies.
Graziano was a caseworker for Connecticut public social services in the AFDC program during the 1960s. She practiced as a psychiatric social worker at Booth Memorial Medical Center, in Queens, NYC from 1972 to 1987 in addition to maintaining a private practice.
She was affiliated with Hunter's Silberman School of Social Work for a number of years, serving as director of the Aging and Health Program and as interim associate dean. While at Hunter, Graziano developed a specialized work-study MSW program for full-time employees of social work agencies serving older adults in New York City, affording access to advanced education especially for staff members primarily from lower income communities of color.
Graziano earned her DSW in 1989 from the City University of New York. She received her MSW from Smith College School for Social Work in 1968.
Graziano also attended Washington Square Institute from 1979 to 1982, where she received a certificate in psychotherapy.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Roberta Graziano served as a consulting editor to Gerontological Social Work Journal, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, and Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. She was a reader for the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work from 1996 to 1999 and reviewed manuscripts for Social Work in Health Care in 1990.
Graziano has written dozens of articles, chapters, reviews and a book on group work and aging. Publications include:
Graziano, R. (2006). The road to success: Designing, implementing and evaluating a work-study program in aging and health. Proceedings from the Fifth International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health, Hong Kong.
Salmon, R. & Graziano, R. (Eds.) (2004). Group Work and Aging: Issues in Practice Research, and Education. Binghamton:, NY: Haworth Press.
Graziano, R. (2003). Trauma and Aging. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 40(4), 3-21.
Graziano, R. (1992). Treating Women Incest Survivors: A Bridge between "Cumulative Trauma" and "Post Traumatic Stress." Social Work in Health Care, 17.