David S. Byers

Associate Professor of Social Work
David S. Byers headshot


Phone 610-520-2606
Location Social Work 218
On Leave


  • B.A., Sarah Lawrence College
  • M.S.W., New York University
  • Ph.D., Smith College School for Social Work
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University


David S. Byers is an Associate Professor currently on leave from Bryn Mawr. In spring 2024, he will be a Visitor at the School of Social Science at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study to develop a new book project on the history of queer and trans affirmative clinics.

David’s research focuses on community and clinical ethics, especially related to care and allyship in settings of precarity and stigma. His work examines the ethical claims embedded in both informal helping responses and professionalized, clinically oriented care work. In the case of peer-based helping, he studies why and how adolescents and emerging adults try to support peers facing bias-based bullying and cyberbullying — and why they don’t. In the clinical realm, his research explores the ethical frameworks and improvisational tactics of front-line clinicians organizing in “clinical activism” for devalued and stigmatized care work. Across these projects, David’s scholarship works to inform and localize translational research with critical focus on the ethical experiences of direct care.

He has published on these topics in the journals Social Service Review, American Psychologist, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, among others. He has also written guest essays for The New York Times, Slate, and Time related to queer and trans affirmative social work and psychotherapy.

David has more than a decade of direct practice experience as a licensed clinical social worker and supervisor. He also serves as Chair of the Ethics Track for the CSWE Annual Program Meeting.

Research and Scholarly Interests: Clinical theory, ethics, practice, and research; Translational research; LGBTQIA+ studies; Psychoanalytic theory; Adolescence and emerging adulthood; Social identity and intersectionality; Restorative justice; Social work education; International social work; Qualitative methodology