Childhood. I was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria in 1946, the youngest of three children. My parents came from Berlin in the 1930s, escaping both the rise of the Nazis and the terrible recession in Germany. With skill and determination, and an element of fortune, they established a successful business in the chemical industry in the north of England. Until the age of 12 I lived in Whitehaven, enjoying a carefree and secure life in a small, northern town. 

Adolescence. In 1958 my father sold his business and we moved to a large house on the Surrey-Berkshire borders. My brother and I attended the City of London School, travelling into London every day with the throng of commuters. This abrupt change, social as well as geographical, had a huge effect on me, which I write about in my memoir, The Gossamer Thread. A Life in Psychotherapy.

Psychologist. In 1964 I went to Oxford where I studied Psychology and Philosophy and began my long involvement in matters of the mind. I trained as a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry, London University and completed my doctorate there in 1975. During this I was offered a part-time lectureship at the Institute and so began the first stage of my professional career as a researcher and teacher.

Psychotherapist. Throughout my career, I have always worked as a psychotherapist. I trained in three major schools of psychotherapy (behavioural, cognitive, psychodynamic) and I practised in several settings including psychiatric hospitals, GP practices, psychotherapy departments and, finally, as a private psychotherapist from my home in North Oxford.

Writer. In 1992, when I was in Perth, Western Australia as a Visiting Fellow, I began writing fiction. In the early mornings I wrote short stories and, eventually, a novel. Realising I needed to learn more of the craft of writing, I attended various writing courses. In 2002 I graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University College. In 2006 I brought my psychotherapy practice to an end and began work as a writer.