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Robert M. Young - Personal Information

Robert 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 an orphan from Alabama and worked for the local office of the Department of Commerce and then for a manufacturing firm which made cotton gins. They lived in a cottage with his sister, Peggy, and Bob was delivering newspapers and supporting all but his food and lodgings from age 10. He was a devoted swimmer and interested in motorcycles and the military, 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. 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. 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), and Bob and David lived together in a flat in Cambridge, where there were 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 now a barrister in London and doing a doctorate on immigration law, and another, Emma, two years later, who is a doctor in London.

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, who was eventually deported to Denmark, where they visited him in 1970. This led to the project of setting up a commune, which 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 have two children, Nicholas (18) and Anna (15). Bob now lives with Em Farrell, a psychotherapist specialising in eating disorders, and they have a baby daughter, Jessie.

Click here for Bob Young's Electronic Autobiography


The Human Nature Review
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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