Lydia Rapoport

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Lydia Rapoport (March 8, 1923 – September 6, 1971) was an American social worker and educator. Her contribution to crisis theory shaped treatment methodologies.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Lydia Rappoport[a] was born in Vienna, Austria on March 8, 1923, to Eugenia Margulies and Samuel Rappoport.[3] Her father emigrated to New York City in 1928, in part due to "increased antisemitism and resurgent German nationalism."[1] Lydia stayed in Vienna with her mother and brother in Vienna while he finished high school, staying until 1932.[3]

Rapoport attended public schools in New York City. At the age of 19 she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Hunter College, where she was Phi Beta Kappa.[3] Following an accelerated graduate course, she earned her master's degree from the Smith College School for Social Work at 21 in 1944.[3] She studied at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1959-1960 under Eric Lindemann and Gerald Caplan.[1]

After doing casework, working with children and at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Rapoport earned a certificate in child therapy from the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis. She was an intake supervisor at the Child Guidance Clinic of the University of Chicago and a supervisor at the Jewish Children's Bureau. As a counselor at the Institute for Juvenile Research, she diagnosed and treated children with emotional issues.[3] Rapoport won a Fulbright scholarship in 1952 and continued her studies at the London School of Economics.[1]


Rapoport moved to California to be near her brother, in 1954. She began her associates with University of California, Berkeley as a field supervisor for their students before becoming a faculty member a year later and full professor in 1969. In 1969, she established the Community Mental Health Training Program at their School of Social Welfare.[1] She became an inter-regional adviser on family welfare and family planning for the United Nations in January 1971.[3]

Her work is "an integral part of the foundation of current crisis intervention and crisis-oriented brief therapy. She identified the goals of crisis intervention: relief of symptoms, restoration of precrisis functioning, understanding of precipitants, and identification of remedial measures. This model continues in use today."[1]

Rapoport died on September 6, 1971, in New York City of acute bacterial endocarditis.[3]



  1. ^ Lydia changed the spelling of her last name from Rappoport to Rapoport.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lydia Rapoport". Jewish Women’s Archive. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. ^ Lukton, Rosemary Creed (September 1974). "Crisis Theory: Review and Critique". Social Service Review. 48 (3): 384–402. doi:10.1086/643151. JSTOR 30015126. S2CID 143841384.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Meginnes, Jo Anne (2002). "Rapoport, Lydia (1923–1971)". In Commire, Anne (ed.). Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. Waterford, Connecticut: Yorkin Publications. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3.