Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy


Home What's New

Psychoanalytic Writings

Psychotherapy Service Email Forums and GroupsProcess Press Links

RMY Writings RMY Personal Information RMY Reading Lists

Robert Maxwell Young

Personal Information

Robert Maxwell Young (Bob) grew up in the wealthy suburb of Dallas, Highland Park, which was featured in the 'Dallas' television series. The family of his mother, Suzanne, were members of the local aristocracy, but their land and money had been dissipated by his mother's father, who was a minor figure in various Washington administrations (Harding, Coolidge and Hoover). Bob's father, Harold (see 'Homage to HMY'), was born in Vernon, a small town in Alabama, and orphaned at nine (father) and thirteen (mother). He worked for the Dallas office of the Department of Commerce and then for a manufacturing firm that made cotton gins, where he was a department head and assistant to the president. They lived in a cottage in the affluent suburb depicted in the ‘Dallas’ TV series, with his sister, Peggy (five years older). Bob was delivering newspapers and supporting all but his food and lodgings from age 10. He was a devoted high school swimmer and interested in motorcycles and the military (ROTC – Cadet Colonel), which was still prominent in the wake of the war. His other main preoccupations were girls and dancing.

He won a scholarship to Yale, where he was at first seriously out of his depth. But he worked very hard and was soon on the Dean's List and a Ranking Scholar and finally Phi Beta Kappa and a Scholar of the House. His main interests were philosophy and religion, but he also had bursary jobs in the Law School Library and the Institute of Human Relations, where he observed and recorded psychotherapy sessions of Professor John Dollard. He decided to become a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and won a scholarship to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1958.

He married a week after graduating, and his wife was immediately pregnant with their son, David, who now writes television drama scripts in London. It was soon clear that her depression was serious, and at the end of the second year of medical school it was obvious that the family could not stand the strain of medical student life. A fellowship to go to Cambridge and study history of medicine was an opportune way of dealing with this situation, and they sailed in autumn, 1960. The mother soon decamped and was eventually diagnosed as having a manic-depressive psychosis; she took her own life in 2005. Bob and David lived together in a flat in Cambridge, where the university had no requirements to attend lectures. They were joined a year later by Sheila Ernst, and she and Bob were married in 1964. They had a daughter, Sarah, in 1968, who is a barrister doing research for the Immigration Appeals Tribunal in London and completing a doctorate on immigration law, and another, Emma, two years later, who is a doctor in London specialising in Accident and Emergency medicine. David has four sons, Sarah has two and Emma has a daughter.

Bob and Sheila were very much caught up in the politics and cultural issues of 1960 and beyond. They were also involved in a particular struggle to prevent the deportation of a German student radical, Rudi Dutschke, a case with internatrional ramificatioins and which was lost. He moved to Denmark where they visited him in 1970 and came home with the idea of setting up a commune. It was short-lived and sundered their relationship (as it did others) in 1971. Sheila moved to London, and Bob lived from then until the mid-1980s with Margot Waddell, first intermittently in Cambridge and from 1975 in Islington, London. They separated in 1985. They have two children, Nicholas (27 in 2006) and Anna (25). Bob has lived with Em Farrell since 1992, and they have a daughter, Jessie (born 1996). Sheila, Em and Bob are psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and Margot is a psychoanalyst.

Bob spent a year or more fixing up a derelict house and was involved in various political projects, e.g., setting up a co-op to distribute left and alternative publications, writing and producing the Radical Science Journal, later re-launched as Science as Culture. He was also involved with various collective projects and study groups. In 1979 he was invited to take the leading creative role in a new television series which evolved into a dozen hour-long documentaries under the title Crucible: Science in Society on Channel Four, which had an associated book series published by Pan. The documentaries were on the whole well-received, but the contract was not renewed, probably for political reasons. He then set up a publishing venture, Free Association Books, which brought out over 300 volumes under his editorship, among which was the journal Free Associatioins: Psychoanalysis, Groups, Politics, Culture. When Free Association Books needed more capital he took on partners, and they pushed him out of the company. These disappointments led him into psychoanalysis, and he soon decided to train as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and went into provate practice in 1983. He also returned to academic life, first as Visiting Professor of Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Kent and then as Professor of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Sheffield until his retirement at 65. While at Sheffield and under the guidance of  Ian Pitchford he turned to creating web sites, discussion forums and ejournals on the internet, in particular, and
where his writings and those of many others can be found.




| Home | What's new | | Psychoanalytic Writings | Psychotherapy Service | Email Forums and Groups | Process Press | Links |