Bernice Augenbraun

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Bernice Augenbraun

Birthplace: New York, NY, United States
Death: September 19, 1990 (57)
Los Angeles, CA, United States (Cancer)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph Augenbraun; Jennie Augenbraun and Jennie (Scheindla) Schechter
Sister of Seymour Augenbraun and Seymour Augenbraun

Managed by: David Goldfarb
Last Updated:

About Bernice Augenbraun

Augenbraun, Bernice

1932 - 1990

Respected clinician, teacher and advocate for social justice

Augenbraun, Bernice Bernie Augenbraun, LCSW, was a highly regarded psychiatric social worker and an inspiration to those who knew her. She was a skilled teacher, trainer and writer and her skills in working with people were legendary. A thoughtful and introspective practitioner, she viewed clinical social work as a vocation which "dedicates itself to the enhancement of the integrity of the human being." She was one of the leaders of the movement for licensing of social workers in the state of California (1969). And, she was one of the first social workers in private practice in Los Angeles, instrumental in the creation of the Society for Clinical Work. She served as the Society’s founding President.

Augenbraun was a social activist driven to action by the enormity of the pain of oppression inherent in the human condition. She was a founder of the NASW Women’s Council Prison Project and traveled to the prison regularly to provide social work services. Additionally, she was a tutor at the California Institute for Women State Prison through the University Without Walls from 1981 through 1986.

No account of Bernice Augenbraun’s life is complete without a description of her work with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. From 1972 until 1990, she consulted and trained the staff in many subjects pertinent to the needs of clients. She was on the faculty of Cambridge School, Pacific Oaks College and the Wright Institute of Los Angeles. She also worked with social service organizations including Catholic Social Services, Jewish Family Services, Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry, Youth and Famiy Center and the Committee for International Human Rights.

As a committed feminist, Augenbraun marched for the passage of the Equal Right Amendment and for Freedom of Choice. She advocated for disenfranchised clients, specifically women in prison and their children, and helped social workers understand the barriers imprisoned mothers face in maintaining contact with their children. She took risks as she increasingly questioned the hierarchical relationships within society that she believed created and supported oppression such as racism, sexism, ableism, ageism and homophobia. Bernice Augenbraun was a woman full of wit, wisdom and principle.

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Comments from David Goldfarb (7/13/2010):

Bernice was a very kind family members. She welcomed us warmly when we moved from New York to Los Angeles. She also was helpful in my sister attending Beverly Hills High School. To attend you needed a Beverly Hills address for your living address with family. Bernice offered her Beverly Hills home address for my sister to be a part of so she could attend that High School. Rita loved the school and graduated. Thank you Bernice for your help and kindess.

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Bernice Augenbraun's Timeline

December 30, 1932
New York, NY, United States
April 1, 1940
Age 7
New York, Kings, New York, USA
September 19, 1990
Age 57
Los Angeles, CA, United States
September 1990
Age 57