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Lydia Rapoport

Lydia Rapoport’s contributions to crisis theory transformed how social workers and therapists handle crisis intervention. Rapoport graduated from Hunter College at nineteen and earned her MSW from Smith two years later. She became a caseworker in Chicago and a supervisor at Jewish Children’s Bureau and at Michael Reese Hospital. She began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley in 1955, where she remained until her death.  In 1959 she spent a year studying crisis and trauma at the Harvard School of Public Health, and in 1969 created the Community Mental Health Training Program at Berkeley. She created a model of crisis intervention still in use today: relief of symptoms, restoration of pre-crisis function, understanding what triggered the situation, and identifying ways to prevent future problems. She took a brief leave to serve as an educational consultant to Hebrew University’s school of social work in 1963 and accepted a position as the UN’s first advisor on interregional family welfare in 1971. Just before beginning work for the UN, she underwent emergency intestinal surgery and died several weeks later from complications. A collection of her articles, Creativity in Social Work, was published posthumously in 1975.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Lydia Rapoport." (Viewed on December 5, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/rapoport-lydia>.


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