Establishing Children’s Mental Health Services at LDC
Dr. Lucy Daniels is a writer and clinical psychologist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1989, she founded the Lucy Daniels Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering emotional and creative freedom through education, outreach and psychoanalytic treatment and research; and the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, which uses psychoanalytic principles to promote the emotional development of young children and their parents.
Throughout her early life, Daniels struggled with the inability to fulfill the expectations of a wealthy and socially powerful family. She left high school at 16 and spent five years in psychiatric hospitals in treatment for severe anorexia nervosa. In 1956, less than a year after her release, a novel she had written in the hospital, Caleb, My Son, was published by Lippincott and became a best seller. The story of a father-son conflict associated with the Brown decision to end segregation, Caleb, My Son appeared in several countries and won Daniels a Guggenheim Fellowship in literature.
By 1961 when her second novel, High on a Hill, was published, Dr. Daniels had married and given birth to two of her four children. Over the next several years, she found writing fiction more and more difficult, and felt ashamed of her lack of education. In 1968, she entered college and began studying psychology at the University of North Carolina. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa four years later, and then pursued clinical training in psychology, which led to a doctorate in 1977.
While her education enabled Dr. Daniels to help others, it was psychoanalysis that freed her from both chronic anorexia and a debilitating writer’s block. In her words, analysis “enabled me to make the journey from the desert of creative paralysis to creative freedom.”
Now a prolific writer, Dr. Daniels works both in her private practice and her foundation to help other creative individuals overcome emotional conflicts, often through an analysis of their dreams. In 2002, Dr. Daniels published her memoir, With a Woman’s Voice: A Writer’s Struggle for Emotional Freedom. And in the spring of 2005, Dr. Daniels simultaneously published a primer, Dreaming Your Way to Creative Freedom, which chronicles her 30-year struggle against writer’s block and offers a road map for others to use on their personal journey; and her first novel in more than 40 years, The Eyes of the Father, a compelling story of people controlled by the past.
Dr. Daniels was named a Distinguished Friend of Psychoanalysis by The American Psychoanalytic Association in 1991 and an Honorary Colleague of the Association for Child Psychoanalysis in 1995.
Dr. Daniels has four children and eight grandchildren.