NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Mary G. Larounis
Mary Larounis native home is Greece, although she has spent over 30 years in Paris. She prides herself in assisting foreigners with adjusting to life in a new country. She drew heavily on her own rich experiences, as well as her impressive educational and professional credentials, to become a founding member of the International Counseling Services (ICS). Providing invaluable assistance to the international community in the French capital, the ICS helps people "explore and resolve problems that are making life more stressful or less satisfying than it can be."
Mary Larounis first left her own home on the Ionian Island of Cephalonia when she was 16 with the strong support and encouragement of her highly educated parents to study for two years at Pierce College in Athens. Originally, her dream had been to become a doctor like her father, but at junior college, she came into contact with psychology and social work, and she left for New York in 1953, where she enrolled in Hunter College for a three-year BA course.
She received her masters degree in social work from Columbia University in 1957. After this she was set to return to Greece, but she met George, an American lawyer and engineer, whom she married the following year. They remained in New York for another two years. Dr. Larounis received further training and became a member of the American Psychological Association, before leaving for Paris, where her husband had been transferred as president for Europe of an American company.
She teamed with a colleague, Irv Levin to start the first English-speaking agency in Paris, with the help of the American Aid Society and the US embassy, to assist Americans in distress.
In 1987, she received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Paris VII, basing her thesis on The Sexual Identity Crisis of 10 American Students Studying in France.
Social Work Pioneer - 1997