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About the Founder: SaraKay Smullens

SaraKay Smullens is the best selling author of Whoever Said Life Is Fair?, published under the name Sara Kay Cohen by Charles Scribners and in paperback by Berkley Press. Her latest book, Setting YourSelf Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendships, Work and Love, was published in September '02 by New Horizon Press. The theoretical base of the book is published in Annals, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Psychotherapy Association in their September '02 journal.

A family therapist and family life educator, through the years SaraKay has been an impetus for many highly effective political and social initiatives. While an undergraduate student at Goucher College, she co-chaired an intensive effort that led to the peaceful desegregation of the entire Towson community where her college was located. Her efforts resulted in an award by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Prior to the 1960 election of President John F. Kennedy she organized a student sponsored traveling mobile unit that distributed material about the late President throughout the Towson area.

Following President Kennedy's election SaraKay worked at the Democratic National Committee where she coordinated the activities of the Young Democrats in a three state area. With the encouragement and support of the late President, SaraKay began her graduate work in social work at the Catholic University in Washington. Her first marriage brought her to the Philadelphia area where she has remained following a divorce and subsequent remarriage several years later. A column that SaraKay wrote during this period for the Philadelphia Inquirer is credited with humanizing and effecting major changes in Pennsylvania's archaic and prejudiced divorce laws.

A member of the Board of Overseers of the Pennsylvania School of Social Work, her alma mater, SaraKay initiated the concept of the Crystal Stair Award, a description drawn from the poignant Langston Hughes poem, "Mother to Son." The award is given to a "natural social worker" of any profession who has worked passionately toward social justice and the elimination of prejudice and oppression. The first Crystal Stair Award was given to Marian Right Edelman in the spring of 1997.

SaraKay was one of the initial group of Philadelphia women working to create the Philadelphia group which became Women's Way. She has served as both vice chair and chair of the Philadelphia County Child Welfare Advisory Board, where she has stressed the importance of an interdisciplinary, collegial community centered approach in addressing all challenges and problems. A Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and a Certified Family Life Educator, SaraKay has wide teaching experiences and has published and lectured extensively in her field. In the role of family life educator she has appeared on radio and television programs nationwide, speaking about family values necessary in intimate relationships: dignity, mutual respect, respect for differences of opinion, humor, common sense and patience.

In her clinical practice SaraKay combines the treatment modalities of individual, couple, family, and group psychotherapy with family life education to meet the expressed goals and needs of the individuals and families who consult with her. A pro bono consultant to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, her current private practice of more than twenty years follows experience as a marriage and family counselor and Director of Family Life Education for Jewish Family Service of Philadelphia, where she coined the term "relationship counseling." She has also held positions as family therapist at the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center and protective service counselor for the Philadelphia Society to Protect Children from Cruelty. 

Learn more about SaraKay at her website:



804 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA  19130