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Joanne Greenberg, Guest Speaker

Our principal guest will be Joanne Greenberg, an internationally renowned, award-winning author of 12 novels and four collections of short stories. Much of her work has been published under the pseudonym Hannah Green.

Joanne Greenberg

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1932, Greenberg received her B.A. in anthropology and English from the American University of Colorado, where she became interested in Native American culture. The short stories she wrote based on her time living on a Navajo Reservation have been used for anthropological study.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is Greenberg's best-known novel, an autobiographical account of her psychological disturbance in her teen years. Her psychotherapist at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland, was Frieda Fromm-Reichman, who was among the several preeminent psychotherapists of the previous generation. Fromm-Reichman was among those who believed that psychotherapy was being effectively provided by lay persons, that a medical degree or a doctorate was not the only route to becoming a competent psychotherapist. She also had a once-removed relationship with Anton Boisen, through Harry Stack Sullivan.

Greenberg was discharged after several years of residential treatment. She did a crash course in high school education and followed up with college and graduate school and a Ph.D. in anthropology, a subject she ultimately taught at the Colorado School of Mines. Besides her university teaching, she volunteered as a “lay psychotherapist” (my epithet) for her local Emergency Services. In that respect, she has much in common with us.