Psychologists seem to be everywhere these days, but it’s a little known fact that in 1970 there were only a few hundred clinical psychologists in the whole of the UK. Author Alan Smith was one of these pioneers; working in the British National Health Service at the beginning of this young profession.
Now retired, he has published his autobiography in the form of a diary, describing events and anecdotes relating to his profession, including being trained in a modern psychiatric hospital – but working in an old mental hospital built as a Victorian lunatic asylyum. Additional background information gives the reader an understanding of the profession.
Alan’s autobiographical work turns books like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted on their head as readers get to see not who is being treated, but who is doing the treating. It details the progression of the psychological industry from 1969-2000, covering a frustrating battle against business management ideas being introduced by the government and obstructive attitudes adopted by some psychiatrists.
At times shocking but always interesting and well-written, From Tests to Therapy is aimed at the general reader as well as mental health professionals, and will appeal to history lovers too.
Inspired by Richard Bentall’s Doctoring The Mind, Alan’s book offers an interesting and rare insight into the world of Clinical Psychology. From its difficult early history to the respectable career it is today.