Our Founder

Susan head shot December 2013 001 revisedSusan Weitzman, PhD, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, educator, researcher, national lecturer and litigation consultant. She was on the clinical staff of the Department of Outpatient Adult Psychiatry at the University of Chicago Hospital for 12 years and taught for many years at the University of Chicago’s Graham School for Continuing Studies, SSA’s Professional Development Program, and Loyola University’s School of Social Work in Chicago. Dr. Weitzman specializes in and lectures on attachment and separation, as well as addictive and abusive relationships. Her years of research resulted in her groundbreaking work, Not to People Like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages (Basic Books, 2000). National media coverage led to a documentary movie on the subject, now in development.

Dr. Weitzman lectures and conducts workshops nationally and runs intensive weekend retreats for women recovering from upscale abusive relationships. In addition to her private practice, litigation consulting and expert witness work, she is the mental health expert/commentator on WSBT-TV (a CBS affiliate in Indiana), appearing on their morning news program within a segment called “Moms First.”   Her commentary on topical issues airs weekly. Dr. Weitzman has been on Oprah, 20/20, Fox News, National Public Radio and in People magazine, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work including Social Worker of the Year in Illinois in 2002.

 

Identifying a Need

In 1992, psychotherapist Susan Weitzman, Ph.D., began researching domestic violence in upscale marriages and found an unexpectedly large number of victims who were trapped by circumstances that are generally envied. She worked with and interviewed hundreds of middle- and upper-class women. The result was her groundbreaking book, Not to People Like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages.

Until Dr. Weitzman’s book, upscale violence was largely ignored. Her findings brought to light the unique challenges and special needs of middle- and upper-class women trapped by their own silence and it debunked the myth that domestic abuse does not happen to people who have so much going for them. Helping these painfully privileged women and educating the public became her tireless mission.

The overwhelming response to her work led Dr. Weitzman to establish a center specifically for the population she’d newly identified. In November 2001, The Weitzman Center was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

 

Pioneering a Path to Guidance and Healing

The Weitzman Center—the first organization of its kind—began pioneering national outreach programs, such as its Care Kit, along with presentations, lectures and workshops. Today the Center offers education, professional training and information.

 

There Is Much to Be Done

Until The Weitzman Center was incorporated, no other organization was working solely to inform helping professionals and the public about upscale violence. We are here to offer hope and assistance and change the face of what we, as a culture, think of as domestic abuse. Violence against women is not limited and defined by economic or educational boundaries. It can, and does, happen to “people like us.”