1st Edition

The Story of a Clinical Neuropsychologist

By Barbara A. Wilson Copyright 2020
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    From a disadvantaged childhood to becoming one of our best-loved clinical neuropsychologists, this exceptional book tells the life story of Barbara A. Wilson, who has changed the way we think about brain injury rehabilitation.

    Barbara’s story shows how it is possible to have a fulfilling career alongside a successful family life, even when faced with the deepest of personal tragedies; the death of her adult daughter Sarah. Clinical and neuropsychologists will recognise Barbara’s influence on rehabilitation practice and her tireless aim to get what is best for people needing neuropsychological rehabilitation. It will inspire those with brain injury and their families who may struggle to make life meaningful, as well as encourage readers to stick to their beliefs and triumph in the face of obstacles.



    Michael Wilson


    Chapter One: Early life: wartime years

    Chapter Two: Grammar schooldays in South London

    Chapter Three: Marriage, babies and being a hippy

    Chapter Four: University as a mature student

    Chapter Five: My career starts: discovering brain injury rehabilitation at Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre

    Chapter Six: Charing Cross, Southampton and Cambridge

    Chapter Seven: Founding the Oliver Zangwill Centre

    Chapter Eight: The death of Sarah, journey to the Cotahuasi Valley, finding The Compassionate Friends and the importance of family.

    Chapter Nine: Return to work and my final years as a professional


    Chapter Ten: Retirement and post retirement: The Raphael Hospital

    Chapter Eleven: Other happenings

    Chapter Twelve: Family and friends,

    Chapter Thirteen: More About Travels

    Chapter Fourteen: Final Thoughts



    Barbara A. Wilson has worked in brain injury rehabilitation for 42 years. She founded the Oliver Zangwill Centre and the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. She has won many awards including an OBE for services to rehabilitation.

    "Prof Wilson chronicles her rise from humble origins to world-renowned expert in neuropsychological rehabilitation in this fascinating memoir that will appeal to professional colleagues, people with brain injuries and their families, and all others who want to learn about a people’s hero". - Jill Winegardner, Ph.D., Director of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, Neurological Institute, University Hospitals, Cleveland Medical Center, USA.

    "In this book, with characteristic honesty and charm, Barbara A. Wilson tells the story of her full and varied life and her unparalleled career in neuropsychological rehabilitation. It documents missions to retain and develop new clinical services and brings about paradigm shifts in assessment and rehabilitation for people with brain injury world-wide, achieved through a combination of intellect, pragmatism, care and determination, with the unwavering support of Barbara’s husband Mick and family, and despite deep personal tragedy through the loss of their adult daughter Sarah. There is nobody quite like Barbara, and no book quite like this one. I recommend it most highly." - Jessica Fish, PhD, DClinPsy, St George’s Hospital and King’s College London, UK.

    "In these memoirs, Barbara Wilson OBE traces her remarkable life from her disadvantaged childhood through to her professional achievements, many awards, and highest honours. Professor Wilson, one of the most well-known and highly-respected clinical neuropsychologists, recounts an inspirational career dedicated to improving the lives of people with brain injury. The book also contains moving accounts of the grief and subsequent personal growth that occurred after the untimely death of her daughter and highlights the marvellous adventures of a "serious traveller". Written with great candour, honesty and passion, the book integrates her life with the social milieu of the time." - Robyn L Tate, Professor Emerita, The University of Sydney, Australia.

    "Professor Barbara Wilson has inspired countless people around the world who have sought to better understand, assess and manage the consequences of brain injury. Barbara’s compassion, determination and intellectual rigour are clearly reflected in her academic papers, books and her teaching. But in this deeply personal, honest account of her life, Barbara tells us about the people, experiences, challenges, successes, failures and tragedies that have shaped her as a person. Her story is fascinating, not just because it helps understand how she became one of our greatest ever neuropsychologists, but because it is story of overcoming adversity, of courage, love, and resilience in the face of devastating loss. This is a book not just for those who know Barbara or know something about neuropsychology, it is a book for anyone who wants to be the best they can be, whatever the obstacles that life puts in the way." - Jon Evans, Professor of Applied Neuropsychology, University of Glasgow, UK.