Mary-Joan Gerson, Ph.D., ABPP, is an Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervisor and has served as the Director of the Advanced Specialization in Couple and Family Therapy at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.
Active in Division 39 of the APA, Dr. Gerson is the Founding President of Section VIII, Couples and Family Therapy, as well as Founding Co-Chair of the Committee on Psychoanalysis and Health, and the Committee on Psychoanalysis and Community.
She is the author of many journal articles and book chapters including a full-length book, The Embedded Self: An Integrative Psychodynamic and Systemic Perspective on Couples and Family Therapy (second edition. 2009); Routledge.
She has served in Nigeria (1965-67) in the Peace Corps, had a Fulbright Fellowship in Namibia, and has taught all over the world, as well as published five award-winning cross-cultural books for children:
- People of Corn: A Mayan Story
- Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale
- Fiesta Femenina: Magical Women of Mexican Folklore
- How Night Came from the Sea: A Story from Brazil
- Omoteji’s Baby Brother – A young Nigerian boy thinks of a very special gift for his new baby brother’s naming ceremony.
Mary-Joan Gerson was inspired by her two years in Nigeria to adapt an ancient African pourquoi tale, which was first recorded by an anthropologist named Ulli Beier, who lived in Nigeria for twenty years. While in the Peace Corps, Dr. Gerson worked on two projects that were designed to encourage writers and teachers to develop a Nigerian children’s literature. She chose as context for the tale the Bini kingship era of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, in order to highlight the grandeur of African culture as well as its deep and abiding relationship to nature.
Dr. Gerson is now a clinical professor of psychology at New York University, where she directs a training program in family therapy and teaches and does research in psychoanalytic development.