Lois Holzman, PhD – Long Bio


Lois Holzman has spent her adult life challenging the concept of “normal” and exposing the philosophical assumptions and political justifications that make normalcy so seductive (and so misguided).

Trained as a developmental psychologist and psycholinguist at Columbia University, Lois identifies more comfortably as a romantic scientist and developmentalist. With colleague Fred Newman, the late public philosopher and founder of social therapy, Holzman developed social therapeutics, a “psychology of becoming” that incorporates play, performance and practical philosophy to inspire human development/community development through group creativity. Lois is director of the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy, an international education and research center located in New York City that promotes alternatives to our culture’s diagnostic way of life. The Institute’s faculty of psychologists, educators, physicians, nurses and social workers teach and train professionals and non-professionals alike in how to live a non-diagnostic way of life and become day-to-day creators of their relational-emotional lives, leaving the constraints of definition and diagnosis, illness and patient, behind in the process.

Lois travels the world bringing her message to groups as varied as rock climbing experiential educators, corporate leadership consultants, postmodern psychotherapists, Chinese Marxist philosophers, Brazilian youth workers, Bangladeshi business students, and teenagers from America’s inner-cities. Lois is the author of 10 books—including The Overweight BrainHow Our Obsession with Knowing Keeps Us from Getting Smart Enough to Make a Better World and Vygotsky at Work and Play—and dozens of chapters, articles and essays. She writes an advice column on everyday developmental dilemmas at The Developmentalist.