The World According To... Susie Orbach

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The Independent Culture
Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, author and visiting professor of the London School of Economics. Aged 58, she lives in London with her partner

Is fat still a feminist issue?

Sadly yes, if not more so because, in the past 10 or 15 years, we have seen the penetration of body anxieties to girls at younger and younger ages. In fact, they take it for granted that they should be completely messed up and preoccupied with their bodies. This isn't right.

What is the best way to cure an eating disorder?

Persistence. Once you are in the grip of one, then life feels safer. The best place to start is seeing what [sufferers] are doing with food and helping them to see that there is another way around it.

Which habit would you like to break?

Needing to respond to my e-mails. They just pop up all the time.

Does Tony Blair need therapy?

I've no idea. I think it must be extremely difficult to be carrying all the different arguments that he's carried on Iraq and know how to come to terms with that. When you may have, in good faith or not in good faith, perpetrated a story to take your country to war - which has not only distressed its population, but has caused enormous havoc in Iraq - that's a hell of a thing to come to terms with.

What's on your bedside table?

The Reconstruction of Warriors by E R Mayhew, a fantastic book about airmen who were disfigured during the Second World War; EMDR and the Energy Therapies by Phil Mollon, a

book by a psychoanalyst colleague looking at the body therapies; Yiddish with Dick and Jane; psychoanalytic journals; nail file; clock; pad of Post-its for taking notes.

What's the biggest cause of unhappiness in the Western world?


What was the last lie you told?

I can't think of one.

Describe your idea of bliss

Hanging out with friends and kids, eating, cooking and dancing about, and not having an agenda. I like to cook modern Mediterranean style. I couldn't live without eating pasta at least five or six times a week. A blue sky and no damp in the air.

Shere Hite or Germaine Greer?

Both, as they bring something to the table and I'm not into competing with who's the best woman around.

The diet industry is...

One of the most pernicious industries that we have. It prays on women and increasingly men, and its profits depend on the failure of its product. Most of its products would not stand the test of consumer efficacy.

Was Princess Diana assassinated?

I don't think I've got any evidence one way or the other.