Isaac Marks

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Isaac Meyer Marks (born 1935) was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He trained in medicine there, qualifying in 1956. His training as a psychiatrist began in 1960 at the University of London (at the Bethlem-Maudsley Hospital) and was completed in 1963. In 1971 he was a founder Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in 1976 he was elected a Fellow.

Between 1964 and 2000 he conducted clinical research at the Institute of Psychiatry,[1] University of London, and the Bethlem-Maudsley Hospital. He collaborated with the Chief Nursing Officer there, Eileen Skellern, to develop an innovative course for nurses in behavioural psychotherapy, which started in 1973.[2] He became Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute in 1968, and Professor of Experimental Psychopathology in 1978. In 2000 he became Professor Emeritus.

From 2000-2003 he ran a computer-aided self-help clinic at Imperial College, London, where he was a Visiting Professor. He is now also Honorary Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Marks’ research included the treatment of anxiety, phobic, obsessive-compulsive and sexual disorders; interactions between drugs and behavioral psychotherapy; development of a nurse behavioral psychotherapist training program (in relation to which he coined the term 'barefoot therapist', modelled on Mao Zedong's term Barefoot Doctor); community care of serious mental illness; and health care and cost-effectiveness evaluation. He has developed computer aids both to evaluate treatment outcome and for self-help - matters which continue to be a central interest.

He was also instrumental in the creation of the self-help organisation Triumph Over Phobia and was a founding member of the BABCP. He is married to Shula Marks.


  • Living with Fear: Understanding and Coping with Anxiety (1978) ISBN 0-07-040396-1
  • Cure and Care of Neuroses (1988) ISBN 0-88048-162-5
  • The Practice of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (foreword) (1991) ISBN 0-521-41741-4
  • Hands-on Help: Computer-aided Psychotherapy (2007) ISBN 978-1-84169-679-9
  • Fears, Phobias, and Rituals: Panic, Anxiety, and Their Disorders (1987) ISBN 0-19-503927-0