Philippa Perry

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Philippa Perry
Born Philippa Fairclough
(1957-11-01) 1 November 1957 (age 58)
Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Education Middlesex Polytechnic
Known for Psychotherapy Journalism
Spouse(s) Grayson Perry

Philippa Perry (née Philippa Fairclough; born 1957 is a psychotherapist and the author of the graphic novel, Couch Fiction; a graphic tale of psychotherapy, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010, and How to Stay Sane, published by Pan Macmillan in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Philippa Perry was born in Warrington, Cheshire, and educated at boarding school and at a Swiss finishing school.[1]

She worked as a litigation clerk, an enquiry agent, a McDonalds’ employee and she also went to Middlesex Polytechnic where she gained a degree in Fine Art as a mature student. She is married to the artist and cross-dresser Grayson Perry.[2]

She is often 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”.[3] 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".[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.[1] In 2010 she joined the faculty of the School of Life.[5]

She had a regular column in Psychologies Magazine about Psychotherapy for two years, in September 2013 she became Red Magazine's agony aunt. [1] She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in psychology and an occasional presenter for The Culture Show on BBC2.



In 2010 the academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, published her book, Couch Fiction: a graphic tale of psychotherapy. 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[6] The School of Life Self Help Series edited by Alain de Botton.

Please note that this is not the same Philippa Perry that wrote Tabitha Miggins: Ship's Cat (On the Pill Ferry) (published by Bristol Folk Publications).

Various articles including
  • "Working with Dissociation", The British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. Published by UKAPI Volume 4, Issue 2 (2007) Integrative Practice with an Emphasis on Working with Trauma.
  • "Relational Marketing", The British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration Published by UKAPI Volume 6, Issue 2 Aspect of the Integrative Endeavour
  • "How to be Happy", The Guardian, 18 January 2011
  • "Ideas for modern living: chemistry - Our tendency to fall for a type of person is a subconscious act of transference", Observer, Sunday 2 May 2010
  • "Gender and The Tyranny of the Normal" Guardian 23 February 2012
  • "Why Children Kill Their Parents" Guardian 3 April 2012

Philippa Perry is a monthly Agony Aunt for Red Magazine.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Grayson Perry, the artist and 2003 Turner Prize winner and they have a daughter, Florence, born in 1992. The Perrys live in London.


  1. ^ a b Cook, R (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. 
  2. ^ Randall, L (30 April 2010). "Interview: Philippa Perry - Writer". The Scotsman. 
  3. ^ Foster, J (13 December 2003). The Daily Mirror.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ MacDonald, M (16 February 2005). "Just a sweet transvestite". Daily Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ School of Life.
  6. ^ Page, Benedicte (6 April 2011). "Alain de Botton launches series of 'philosophical' self-help books". The Guardian (London).