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Sylvia Plath trauma, Sylvia Plath biography, Sylvia Plath suicide, Sylvia Plath mental illness , Sylvia Plath life, Sylvia Plath history, Sylvia Plath depression

Trauma and the Golden Lady
The Life and Death of Sylvia Plath
by Bob Fournier, Ph.D.

While Sylvia Plath’s life was short-lived, her accomplishments were immense, and two college archives now house her writings and valued possessions. Raised in an era when women were taught and expected to be subservient to men, Sylvia wanted more. She seemed to have all that anyone would need to succeed and be happy; however, something was wrong—seriously wrong.

As she reached out for help in her time of desperation, Sylvia found a mental health system that was itself troubled and desperate for change. Although the system helped, it also traumatized her. While little was known about posttraumatic stress at the time, Dr. Fournier argues that it became a major factor in the life of this Golden Lady.

Trauma and the Golden Lady shows what it is like for a person to struggle every day to keep their demons at bay and stay sane, while living with severe mental health problems. Over and over, Sylvia worked to perfect herself and avoid falling into a bottomless hole of nothingness and despair. With passion and a heavy heart, she focused on both these goals until the very end.

Ultimately, Sylvia Plath’s personality development and life struggles, along with the effects of the trauma events she experienced, contributed to a suicidal movement that led to her death. While Sylvia’s demise left a wake that affected the lives of many, helping some and hurting others, she was truly a woman to be known and remembered.

“Trauma and the Golden Lady isn’t an ordinary biography; it’s a biography with a focus: the impact of trauma on the life of renowned American Poetess, Sylvia Plath.”

“I found the discussion of those left behind to be particularly poignant… I can’t help but think that this exploration will help other survivors move on-no, move forward-with their lives.”

“This was a fascinating read, to look at Plath’s life through the lenses of trauma and mental illness.”

“I love the (author’s) voice… a uniquely wise voice that I could listen to (or read) for hours.”

Bob Fournier, Ph.D. photo

Dr. Bob is a Clinical Social Worker who specializes in mental health, specifically counseling related to issues of suicide, suicide bereavement, and posttraumatic stress. Bob has been active in the study of Suicidology for the past forty years, including research, public speaking, writing, publication, and clinical practice. Dr. Bob’s clinical work has included a deep appreciation of the role of culture and spirituality in healthy human development.

He maintains a private practice of psychotherapy on Cape Cod, and has spent the past eighteen years working with military Veterans at the VA Primary Care Clinic in Hyannis, MA. Bob is happily married to his wife, Tessie, of almost forty years. They have three children together—Jonathan, Anthony and Jennifer—all succeeding in their own professional careers. Bob’s continuing interest in Sylvia Plath began in 1976, during research for his Assumption College Master’s thesis in psychology, which he titled “An Existential-Phenomenological Study of the Suicidal Moment.”


Bob Fournier, Ph.D.

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