The true story of the little-known mental-health pioneer who revolutionized how we see the defining problem of our era: anxiety.
Panic, depression, sorrow, guilt, disgrace, obsession, sleeplessness, low confidence, loneliness, agoraphobia…The international bestseller Hope and Help for Your Nerves, first published in 1962 and still in print, has helped tens of millions of people to overcome all of these, and continues to do so. Yet even as letters and phone calls from readers around the world flooded in, thanking her for helping to improve—and in some cases to save—their lives, Dr Claire Weekes was dismissed as underqualified and overly populist by the psychiatric establishment. Just who was this woman?
Claire Weekes was driven by a restless and unconventional mind that saw her become the first woman to earn a Doctor of Science degree at Australia’s oldest university, win global plaudits for her research into evolution, and take a turn as a travel agent, before embarking on a career in medicine. But it was a mistaken diagnosis of tuberculosis that would set her heart racing and push her towards integrating all she’d learned into a practical treatment for anxiety—a tried-and-true method now seen as state-of-the-art 30 years after her death. This book is the first to tell her remarkable story.
“By thinking outside the box, and exercising extraordinary clinical sensitivity, the brilliant physician Claire Weekes created a treatment protocol to the unending benefit of tens of millions of patients over the years.”
—Dr David Barlow, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at Boston University
“A vivid portrait of an intriguing woman ahead of her time, this is a story of hope, empowerment, and vindication.”
—Gina Perry, author of Behind the Shock Machine and The Lost Boys
“Claire Weekes found worldwide fame with her bestselling books on ‘nervous illness’ in the 1960s and 1970s—but despite gratitude from thousands of sufferers, she is almost forgotten today. This revelatory biography should change that...comprehensively capture[s] the unconventional life of this brilliant woman who was lauded for her evolutionary studies.”
—Books + Publishing
“This biography restores Weekes's often overlooked contributions to anxiety treatment.”
“With Judith Hoare’s The Woman Who Cracked the Anxiety Code, we have a chance to learn about Weekes’s varied life and, as important, become reacquainted with her work…A splendid tribute to Claire Weekes—a tribute long overdue.”
—Sally Satel, Wall Street Journal
“In her biography of Weekes, veteran journalist Judith Hoare has rescued the Australian doctor from obscurity and placed her squarely in the history of the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders…Displaying the hallmarks of an accomplished journalist, this is a fascinating biography of a free-spirited and innovative woman, an insight into the history of evolutionary and psychiatric theories, and an introduction to Weekes’s methods and her books.”
—Carol Middleton, Australian Book Review