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Philippa Perry

Philippa Perry (née Fairclough; born 1957) is a British psychotherapist and the author of the graphic novel, Couch Fiction; a graphic tale of psychotherapy (2010),[1] and How to Stay Sane (2012).[2]

Philippa Perry
Philippa Fairclough

1957 (age 61–62)
Alma materMiddlesex Polytechnic
OccupationPsychotherapy, journalism
How to Stay Sane
Spouse(s)Grayson Perry


Early lifeEdit

Philippa Perry was born in Warrington, Lancashire, and educated at boarding school and at a Swiss finishing school.[3]

She worked as a litigation clerk, an enquiry agent, and a McDonald's employee. She went to Middlesex Polytechnic where she gained a degree in Fine Art as a mature student.[4]


In 1985 she trained and volunteered for the Samaritans, after which she trained as a psychotherapist. Perry worked in the mental health field for 20 years, ten in private practice, before being published.[3] In 2010 she joined the faculty of the School of Life.[5]

She had a regular column about psychotherapy in Psychologies Magazine[6] for two years; in September 2013 she became Red Magazine's agony aunt.[7] She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in psychology and was an occasional presenter for The Culture Show on BBC Two.

Perry has presented various documentaries including: Sex Lies and Lovebites: The Agony Aunt Story (BBC Four);[8] Being BiPolar (Channel 4);[9] The Truth About Children Who Lie (BBC Radio 4);[10] and The Great British Sex Survey (Channel 4).[11]


In April 2016 Perry announced her support for the Women's Equality Party.[12]



In 2010 the academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, published Perry's book, Couch Fiction: a graphic tale of psychotherapy.[1] It is a graphic novel that tells a tale of a psychotherapist and her client, from both their perspectives. Underneath the graphic novel boxes, Perry takes the position of commentator and provides footnotes on what might be going on between them and what theories the therapist is drawing on or should be drawing on. There is an afterword by Professor Andrew Samuels.

How to Stay Sane, published by Pan Macmillan May, 2012[2][13] The School of Life Self Help Series edited by Alain de Botton.

Various articles including
  • Perry, Philippa (2007). "Working with dissociation". The British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, special issue: Integrative Practice with an Emphasis on Working with Trauma. Palgrave Macmillan. 4 (2): 29–42. ISSN 1759-0000. Archived from the original on 2016-06-27.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Preview.
  • Perry, Philippa (2009). "Relational marketing?". The British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, special issue: Aspect of the Integrative Endeavour. Palgrave Macmillan. 6 (2): 47–51. ISSN 1759-0000. Archived from the original on 2016-06-27.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Preview.
  • Perry, Philippa (18 January 2011). "How to be happy: a psychotherapst's view". The Guardian.
  • Perry, Philippa (2 May 2010). "Ideas for modern living: chemistry". The Guardian.
  • Perry, Philippa (23 February 2012). "Gender and the tyranny of the normal". The Guardian.
  • Perry, Philippa (3 April 2012). "Why children kill their parents". The Guardian.

Perry is a monthly Agony Aunt for Red (magazine).[7]

Personal lifeEdit

She is married to artist and cross-dresser Grayson Perry, and they have a daughter, Florence, born in 1992. The Perrys live in London.[citation needed] She has often been asked what it is like being married to a transvestite and says, "Being the wife of a trannie is great, he always makes me look fantastic".[14] When asked the same question by a Buckingham Palace Press Officer when the Perrys went to a reception there in 2005, she said, "As obsessions go, it's better than football".[15]


  1. ^ a b Perry, Philippa (2010). Couch fiction: a graphic tale of psychotherapy. Junko Gratt (illustrator). Hampshire, England New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230366220.
  2. ^ a b Perry, Philippa (2013). How to stay sane. New York: Picador. ISBN 9781250030641.
  3. ^ a b Cooke, Rachel (18 April 2010). "I love Susie Orbach and Harvey Pekar comics – so I wrote Couch Fiction, a comic book about psychotherapy". The Observer. London. p. 13.
  4. ^ Randall, L. (30 April 2010). "Interview: Philippa Perry - Writer". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  5. ^ "About us". School of Life.
  6. ^ Perry, Philippa (16 May 2012). "Twitter chat: your mother and you". Psychologies Magazine. Lagardère Active.
  7. ^ a b Gilchrist, Hannah (2 September 2013). "Tell us your dilemmas". Red (magazine). Hearst.
  8. ^ Philippa Perry (presenter) (6 May 2016). Sex Lies and Lovebites (Television). BBC Four. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  9. ^ Philippa Perry (presenter) (4 March 2015). Being BiPolar (Television). Channel 4. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  10. ^ Philippa Perry (presenter) (23 August 2016). The Truth About Children Who Lie (Television). BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  11. ^ Philippa Perry (presenter) and Goedele Liekens (presenter) (25 February 2016). The Great British Sex Survey (Television). Channel 4. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  12. ^ Catherine Mayer, Lily Allen, Ninotchka, Hugh Quarshie, Stella Duffy, Tanya Moodie, Philippa Perry, Jack Monroe and Leila Bertrand (27 April 2016). Give half your votes to equality on 5 May - WE think that's fair #VoteWE (Video). Women's Equality Channel via YouTube. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  13. ^ Page, Benedicte (6 April 2011). "Alain de Botton launches series of 'philosophical' self-help books". The Guardian. London.
  14. ^ Wynne Jones, Ros (13 December 2003). "Grayson Perry on cross dressing and happiness as "Britain's pre-eminent transvestite"". Daily Mirror.
  15. ^ Macdonald, Marianne (16 February 2005). "Just a sweet transvestite". Daily Telegraph. London.