Making Lemonade: The Life and Work of Violet Oaklander, Ph.D – DVD


This 75 minute documentary was produced by founding member Claire Mercurio, Ph.D., along with her husband, Peter, and eldest son, Paul.  In the film Violet shares a number of significant stories about her life and work.  Her narratives are intimate and compelling.  From getting burned at age 5 to her involvement with Gestalt therapy in the midst of her son Michael’s fight with systemic lupus, Violet carries the viewer along on her journey.  It is a journey of tragedy and despair as well as triumph; it is the journey of a woman with groundbreaking ideas and an intuitive sense of what children need.
In November, 2011 Claire Mercurio, Ph.D., documentary producer wrote about the making of this documentary:   “I was first introduced to the work of Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. in 1990 at a Los Angeles outpatient mental health clinic with a child and adolescent program.  I was accruing my psychology internship hours, and my supervisor gave me a copy of “Windows to Our Children.”  I was enthralled and inspired and said to myself, “this is what I want to do!”
Three years later, newly licensed and with a 3-month-old in tow, my husband and I moved to Santa Barbara.  The only person I knew there was my son’s pediatrician, so I thought I would find a “Mommy and Me” type group, and looked under “parenting” in the yellow pages.  I could not believe my eyes – I was staring at the name “Violet Oaklander, Ph.D.”  I immediately called the number – and she picked up the phone!  I was practically speechless, but managed to inquire about her workshops and trainings.  Before long Violet was my supervisor, my mentor and my friend.

When Violet’s friends and family met at Taffy’s restaurant in October of 2003 to discuss forming a foundation in her honor, I knew I wanted my contribution to be a documentary of her life and work.  As my husband Peter is a professional film camera operator, it made sense to me.  Then my oldest son Paul got involved with video production in high school, so I thought it could be a family affair.  Making the film was a labor of love all around.  I am truly grateful to have Violet as a continuing source of inspiration.”