Weston resident Barbara Levi-Berliner realized after having her first child that she "didn't have a clue how to parent." So Levi-Berliner, a social worker, embarked on a mission to fuse her knowledge of sociology and psychology with anything she could learn about child-rearing. As a result, she moved into family counseling.
She has since raised three children and continues to facilitate group sessions with other parents. One of her groups has met every Wednesday for the past 16 years.
"The group members really help each other," she said at her home, surrounded by her daughter's artwork and an assortment of books. "I may be able to fine-tune a little and help people tweak, but the knowledge that they can give each other -- and me just being there to facilitate -- is tremendous."
Growing up in Manhattan, Levi-Berliner witnessed the diversity of life and the variety of lifestyles that define New York. "I decided at the age of 12 that I wanted to be a social worker. I felt very lucky in the lifestyle I was living, but I realized there are a lot of people that needed help. ... It's been a wonderful career for me."
Her first experience in the field involved taking care of a 200-bed halfway house for former psychiatric patients in Brooklyn. "That was quite challenging," she said in a tone of understatement.
She then worked for the Yale Psychiatric Institute after she and her husband, Ed, moved to Weston 25 years ago.
When she's not priming the conversations among the members of her group, Levi-Berliner enjoys traveling and a good book. She's also working on a book about raising children, but it will only be given to her children as a gift. "I have no intention of publishing it ," she said.
At the end of the day, her happiness lies in the simple fact that she enjoys her vocation. "I am someone who loves her work," she said.
Click here for information about Race to Nowhere, a documentary on the education system that Barbara has helped bring to Bethel Cinema.
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