Phillip Hodson

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Phillip Hodson (born April 1946 in Bedfordshire) is a British psychotherapist,[1] broadcaster and author who popularised ‘phone-in’ therapy in his role as Britain's first 'agony uncle'.[2][3] His afternoon and evening counselling programmes ran on LBC Radio in London for nearly 20 years.[4] Thereafter he worked on Talk Radio and with Jimmy Young on BBC Radio 2.


He was a regular children's counsellor on BBC1 for six years with Saturday Superstore and Going Live! presented by Sarah Greene [5] and Phillip Schofield, where he was noted for addressing serious juvenile concerns not normally treated on children's television, and for his fine line in chunky knitted jumpers bearing animal designs.[6] Hodson also worked on BBC1 Daytime with Dr Miriam Stoppard for three years dealing with problem phone calls besides psycho-analysing celebrities. He also filled the agony slots in the first years of both TV-Am and GMTV.[7]

Hodson co-presented TV South's afternoon Problem Page for five years and was subsequently given his own interview chat show Hodson Confidential. This ran for three series, and was networked several times. He has also made several documentaries including films for Newsnight on subjects ranging from scandal-prone politicians [8] to whether therapy is replacing religion.


"Hodson is one of the few regular contributors to The Times who has also written extensively for the popular press including agony pages for Reveille, The Daily Star, Today and the News of the World. His column also appeared in She Magazine, Woman's World, Cosmopolitan, First Magazine (USA), Family Circle, Fast Forward, TV Quick, Oklahoma Magazine, Woman and Home and Woman's Journal. Hodson won a ‘columnist of the year’ in 1984. He has been an outspoken critic of the ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude of male conservatism - clashing, amongst others, with the sociologist Frank Furedi.[9][10]

Books, academic and psychotherapy work[edit]

Hodson has written 13 books mainly on sex and relationships but also covering the operas of Wagner. His most important is probably Men: An Investigation into the Emotional Male,[11] which accompanied a BBC TV series in one of the first male engagements with the challenges of feminism. He has also taught psychology at graduate level and made training films for Video Arts Ltd about using counselling techniques in the workplace, also winning several industry awards. In addition to his psychotherapy practice, Hodson has been chief spokesperson for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy since 2000.[12]

Phillip Hodson has been ‘happily unmarried’ to author and psychotherapist Anne Hooper for over 30 years with whom he has a son Alex Hooper-Hodson and two stepsons, Barnaby and Joel Levy.[13] All three work in the media, Alex being author of teen guide to life 'The Boy Files' published by Wayland Books as well as the weekly columnist for the Daily Record's 'Teen Talk'.

Alex was also the agony uncle of Sugar magazine for six years until the magazine's cancellation in 2010, as well as writing Sex Talk With Alex - also for the Daily Record.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "No station is more identified with phone-ins than LBC. This is where Phillip Hodson pioneered sex therapy on air, Brian Hayes perfected the art of cutting off callers in their prime, and the late Peter Cook - for reasons we can only guess at - pretended to be Sven, a Norwegian fisherman living in Swiss Cottage, over a period of four years". Paul Donovan, Radio Critic, The Sunday Times, July 30, 2006
  3. ^ "Phillip Hodson has contributed more to the British therapy boom than anyone. For 15 years, with clear, concise, psychotherapy broadcast live on LBC, he has destroyed the myths and stigma that often surround therapy. In the past two years, his listeners have doubled and now they will increase further. In response to his success, his airtime has doubled, from one hour to two, four times a week". The Observer, January 21, 1990.
  4. ^
  5. ^ - enter 'growing pains'
  6. ^ "There is, as there doubtless has to be, quality material in the Going Live! mix. Perhaps the most important of the interactive elements is Growing Pains, the nine-minute slot when Agony Uncle Phillip Hodson answers letters from troubled youngsters. He deals with divorce, bereavement, anorexia, the betrayal of friends and unrequited love in the classroom in a straightforward, if necessarily sketchy way - always urging that the child confides in a trusted adult. But Hodson is a professional who knows exactly how to address his audience..." The Guardian, March 23, 1992.
  7. ^ British Film Institute Filmography -
  8. ^ e.g. Newsnight on Mark Oaten MP -
  9. ^ "Crowned 'Britain's answer to Frasier Crane' by Men's Health magazine, Phillip Hodson has written advice columns for the Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, She, Cosmopolitan and Woman's Journal as well as hosting The Phillip Hodson Hour on LBC for 15 years. 'It's hard work and you open yourself up to a lot of people who are very needy and a lot of people who are actually quite mad,' he says. His career has been dogged by 'sexism in Fleet Street' and 'aggressive, egocentric male publishers' who see men as news reporters and want a woman writing the agony pages. Hodson was sacked by Piers Morgan from the News of the World, where he was asked to write more about sex but wasn't allowed to write about homosexuality, and was replaced by actress Diana Dors at the Star. He's currently spokesperson for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and would return to writing if the price was right, as he thinks the field is still suffering from a lack of men. 'I think I've been a pioneer.' But, he says, 'My bust just wasn't big enough.'" The Independent - On Agony Columnists, December 5, 2005
  10. ^ British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, Volume 32, Issue 3 August 2004, pages 407-412 - Why the Brits are in Two Minds About Therapy by Phillip Hodson; Response to Frank Furedi ibid
  11. ^ Hendry, Sharon (10 February 2009). "Why men don't want sex any more". The Sun. London. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "About Me". Phillip Hodson official website. 

External links[edit]