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Joseph, B. (1999). Parthenope Bion Talamo. Brit. J. Psychother., 15(3):368-369.

(1999). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 15(3):368-369


Parthenope Bion Talamo

Betty Joseph

Parthenope Bion Talamo died tragically in a car accident in July 1998, along with her younger daughter Patrizia aged 18, Parthenope herself being 53. I had known her since she was about 3 and although at times we might not meet for long periods we somehow always remained in contact. In her early years she and her father lived in Iver, Buckinghamshire; I got to know her as her father and I were students together at the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Parthenope was a striking and determined little girl even then and managed to start school on her own initiative as the school was next door to their home and she climbed through a hole in the intervening hedge.

Parthenope is probably best known in England for her writing and lecturing about her father and his work but she was also, I believe, a gifted and concerned clinician. Although many people may have heard her speak on various occasions she was probably not well known personally here as she had lived for many years in Italy, in Turin, and was a member of the Italian Society.

She had a very sad beginning: her mother died a few days after her birth, and for her early years she was looked after by a simple but very devoted housekeeper. When she was 6 her father remarried and the family moved to Croydon. Here her brother Julian - now a consultant anaesthetist - and sister Nicola were born. Understandably she did not find life easy and as a child went into analysis with Lois Munro - an analysis about which she always spoke most warmly as an adult.

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