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Arden, M. (1989). The Evolution of a Psychiatrist: Memoirs of a Woman Doctor, by Beulah Parker, Yale University Press, 1987, 224 pages, £22.50. Free Associations, 1R(17):115-125.

(1989). Free Associations, 1R(17):115-125

The Evolution of a Psychiatrist: Memoirs of a Woman Doctor, by Beulah Parker, Yale University Press, 1987, 224 pages, £22.50

Review by:
Margaret Arden

This autobiography is interesting for many reasons and rewarding to read on many levels. Beulah Parker was born in 1912 into a social class that no longer exists, the youngest child in a disturbed family which presented her with very serious life problems. Her struggles to find herself make fascinating reading. Her outstanding medical and psychiatric career has often been the result of being in the right place at the right time, so that she obtained experience and was given responsibility in a way which was denied to the women doctors who followed her. After early struggles she qualified as a doctor at the age of thirty and had a distinguished career in mental health. She has been in private practice as a pyschoanalyst for forty years.

Dr Parker has written several successful books. Her Mental Health In-Service Training has been continuously in print since its first publication in 1968. She has written a dramatized account of her work with a disturbed adolescent boy, My Language is Me, which became a best-seller. In A Mingled Yarn she wrote an extremely frank account of her family psychopathology. She was enabled to do this by the early death of her siblings. Her sister, nine years her senior, died of chronic alcholism. Her brother, five years older, became increasingly schizophrenic and committed suicide at the age of forty.

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