The University of Wisconsin Press

Gay & Lesbian Interest


Surviving Madness
A Therapist's Own Story
Betty Berzon

Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies

"I loved it. Berzon does a terrific job of tellinga rich, conflicted, and ultimately triumphant life story and setting it in the context of milestones in the history of the gay rights movement, a history that parallels her own growth. I was genuinely moved." -- Joan Larkin, Living Out series editor.

Betty Berzon, renowned psychotherapist and author of the bestselling book Permanent Partners, tells her own incredible story here. Berzon's journey from psychiatric patient on suicide watch—her wrists tethered to the bed rails in a locked hospital ward—to her present role as a groundbreaking therapist and gay pioneer makes for purely compelling reading.

Berzon is recognized today as a trailblazing co-founder of a number of important lesbian and gay organizations and one of the first therapists to focus on means of developing healthy gay relationships and overcoming homophobia. Her sometimes bumpy road to success never fails to fascinate. Along the way she encounters such luminaries as Anaïs Nin, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Sitwells, Evelyn Hooker, and Paul Monette. Her recollections here provide a collective portrait of her fellow pioneers and a stirring lesson in twentieth-century history.

It is, however, the intimate story of Berzon's own private passage toward self-discovery—from mental breakdown and suicide attempts, through hospitalization, eventual triumphant recovery, and her own coming out as an open lesbian at the age of forty—that makes this memoir an urgent, insightful, and deeply emotional testament to human survival.

Betty Berzon has been a psychotherapist for thirty years. A member of the American Psychological Association since 1964, she is author of several popular books, including Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships That Last and Setting Them Straight: You Can Do Something About Bigotry and Homophobia In Your Life.

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A Therapist's Own Story

Spring 2002

250 pp., 26 b/w photos

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Cloth $27.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-17620-4
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Updated July 25, 2011

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