I was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria in 1946, the youngest of three children. My parents came from Berlin in the 1930s, escaping the rise of the Nazis and the terrible recession in Germany. They settled in Cumbria setting up a successful chemical factory which in 1957 was taken over by Albright & Wilson.
In 1958 my family moved to the south of England. I attended the City of London School for Boys. In 1964 I went to the Queen’s College, Oxford where I studied Psychology and Philosophy. I graduated in 1967.
In 1968/9 I trained in clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London University. After graduation I worked at the Institute as part-time lecturer and clinician, carrying out clinical work at the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals. At the same time I registered for a PhD evaluating the effects of social skills training on socially anxious psychiatric patients. I was awarded my doctorate in 1975.
From 1976 to 1982 I was a lecturer in clinical psychology at the University of Birmingham. In 1982 I was appointed the Regional Tutor in Clinical Psychology at Oxford Regional Health Authority and head of the newly established clinical psychology training course. In 1994 I left that position to work as a private psychotherapist based in North Oxford. In 2006 I retired from my clinical practice in order to write.