Chris Mawson obituary

Donna Savery
·2 min read

My partner, Chris Mawson, who has died aged 67 of a sudden cardiac arrest, was a psychoanalyst, a gifted clinical supervisor, an author and a teacher. He achieved international recognition as a scholar of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion.

Born in Leicester to Eileen (nee Goddard) and Robert Mawson, a director in a leather company, Chris was the eldest of three brothers. He attended City of Leicester boys’ grammar school.

After completing a degree in psychology at Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1974, he undertook research at Sheffield University into the dreams of manic-depressive patients. This work catalysed a curiosity and vocation that was to last a lifetime.

He trained as a clinical psychologist and worked for nine years at St Mary’s hospital, Paddington Green, and in psychotherapy with children and adolescents at the Tavistock Clinic, before training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. He qualified in 1994 and quickly progressed to become a fellow at the institute and a training analyst. He continued to take patients there until his death, and to run his own private practice at our home in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

We started working together in 2014, shortly after Chris had finished editing the Complete Works of WR Bion (2014). Eventually we became partners in life: living, working, travelling and researching together, collaborating as academics and writers on psychoanalysis and existential-analysis.

An active member of the group of Kleinian analysts in London, Chris led a regular seminar for German psychoanalysts, lectured internationally and in 2019 gave a lecture series in China. Our co-authored book, The Mind’s God-like Voice, is due to be published this year.

Chris, who was a devoted father and grandfather, loved to travel, especially in Europe by train. We made many visits together to Switzerland. And he retained a love of choral music that began when he was a boy chorister, as part of an eclectic range of tastes including improvisational jazz and rock music, from Pink Floyd to Snow Patrol. In his teens and early adulthood Chris had been a Leicester county diving champion and he had a penchant for standing on his head – continuing to do handstands throughout his life.

He is survived by me, by his children, Hannah and Jamie, from his marriage to Susan Hecks, and by his grandson, Rory, and my daughter, Marianne.