Susie Orbach

b. 1946

Susie Orbach was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2019.

Susie Orbach started writing as a way of sharing what she was learning in the consulting room. A child of the political explosions of the sixties and seventies she was drawn to rethink psychoanalytic ways of understanding from a gendered and social perspective.  Writing was then part of a political project to cascade those new knowledges.  After the success of Fat is a feminist issue(1978) she went on to write about women’s psychology in general as she and  her collaborator Luise Eichenbaum developed new theory and practice in psychotherapy and  psychoanalysis.  The body and troubled eating became an even  larger issue within the culture and Susie returned to write several more books including Hunger Strike (2001) and Bodies (2009).  In 1999 she started to write about case material in a new way: imagining and inventing people in therapy with a therapist called Susie.  The stories in The Impossibility of Sex are told from the perspective of the therapist and are interwoven with her private thoughts, dilemmas and theoretical propositions. Susie has continued in this vein with her radio series – also a book – in which characters created by a director and actor (characters unknown to Susie) enter the consulting room and she works with them. This was to keep an element of surprise and authenticity which is a hallmark of analysis while keeping confidentiality.

She was a Guardian Columnist for 10 years and a visiting Prof at LSE also for 10 years. She has written numerous clinical and academic papers. She is the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement award from the British Psychoanalytic Council and has been awarded several honorary doctorates.

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Image credit: Andrew Crowley