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Florence Lieberman (1918 - 2010)


Pioneering Contributions

Florence Lieberman was known for her extraordinary contributions to the field of clinical social work in New York City while a professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work.  She was the founder and first Chair of the National Academy of Practice in Social Work.


She made major contributions as an editor and writer in the fields of mental health, child and adolescent social work, and family/group therapy.  She authored six professional texts and served as editor of the Clinical Social Work Journal and as editor of Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 


Career Highlights

 During the 1940’s, Lieberman was a caseworker at New York City’s Department of Social Services and served as a Disaster Relief social worker in Louisville, KY in 1945.


Lieberman worked at the Madeline Borg Child Guidance Clinic’s Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services from 1956 – 1964.  She served as a senior social worker, group therapist, and student supervisor.  She was a researcher for the Center for Urban Education’s Headstart Program from 1966 – 67.


Florence Lieberman retired as Professor Emerita at Hunter College’s School of Social Work, where she was a professor from 1966 – 1986. 


From 1977–1982 Lieberman served as chairperson of the National Education Committee of the National Federation of Clinical Social Work.


Biographic Data

Lieberman received her D.S.A. in social work from Columbia University in 1968.  She received an M.S.S. from Smith College’s School of Social Work in 1956 and her B.A. from Hunter College in 1938.


Lieberman was a Diplomate of the New York Society of Clinical Social Work Psychotherapists and a charter member of NASW.  She was also a member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and of the Standards Committee of the National Registry of Health Care Providers in Clinical Social Work.


Significant Achievements and Awards

1986: Awarded Smith College’s Day-Garrett Award, given annually to one or more members of the Smith Community in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of social work or who have been significant members of the SSW educational community.


1983: Elected Distinguished Practitioner in Social Work, National Academy of Practice in Social Work


Significant Publications

Lieberman, Florence. Clinical social workers as psychotherapists. Psychology Press, 1982.


Lieberman, F. (1994). The relevance of countertransference.  Journal of Analytic Social Work, 2(2), 77-81.


Lieberman, F. (1990).  The immigrants and Mary Richmond. Clinical and Adolescent Social work, 7(2), 81-84.


Lieberman, F. (1989). Clients or patients: Families of children with developmental disabilities. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 6(4).


Lieberman, F. (1987). Clinical practice and the social issues of foster care. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 4(3 & 4).



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