Ginsburg’s Psychiatrist Dr. Hicks, True Father of the Beats?


Dr. Hicks, True Father of the Beat Generation?

A Session with Allen Ginsberg’s Psychiatrist – Dr. Philip Hicks
Discussion, Storytelling & Conversation
2 PM Saturday June 27 at Beatnik Shindig, San Francisco
Purchase tickets here
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 Late in the fall of 1954, Allen Ginsberg began to visit a psychiatrist at the Langley Porter Clinic in San Francisco. Allen scheduled one session a week, which he could afford since he had been working as a market researcher in a downtown office. He noted that the fee was a dollar an hour, but he felt it was a worthwhile investment. Earlier psychiatrists had told Allen that he should live a conventional life, get a job, engage in heterosexual relationships, and stop taking drugs if he wanted to be “normal”. And although he actually tried all these things, he still wasn’t happy. Allen was at a low point in his life and troubled emotionally. He felt that he might in fact be crazy, just like his mother, Naomi, and he really didn’t want to end up in mental institutions the way she had. By shear luck, his psychiatrist turned out to be a young doctor named Philip Hicks.During their sessions, Allen told Dr. Hicks of his fear that he’d grow old and no one would love him, to which Dr. Hicks replied that he was “a nice person and someone would always like him and care for him.” It was just common sense advice, but not an opinion shared by other doctors at the time. Homosexuality was treated as a form of mental illness in those days. “Why don’t you do what you want to do?” Hicks asked him. And that’s just what Allen did. He never returned to market research, he moved in with Peter Orlovsky, his life’s companion, and he became one of America’s greatest poets.Without that advice and encouragement from a professional man like Dr. Hicks, we probably wouldn’t have the Beat Generation at all, and possibly poems like “Howl” and “Kaddish” never would have been written. For this we all owe Dr. Hicks a debt of gratitude.

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The Beat Museum’s “Beatnik Shindig” to be held in North Beach and at Fort Mason Center is the largest Beat Generation Conference to be held in twenty years. The last big Beat event was organized by Allen Ginsberg himself in 1995 at NYU in New York City.
We’ve designed this event to appeal to a broad audience – novices, experts, scholars and casual observers alike. The themes of The Beats are timeless – travel, exploration, a search for self, sexual identity and a spiritual quest. Everything that most young people consider to be “normal” in the world today The Beats blazed the trail on: racial equality, gender equality, gay & lesbian rights, environmentalism and saving the planet. The Beats were focused on all of these issues decades before they became mainstream. And The Beats influenced everyone – starting with Bob Dylan and The Beatles. And because they were the first group of non-conformists to come of age with electronic media (radio & television) their message went around the world.
The event will run the weekend of June 26, 27, and 28. It will commence with a Friday evening welcome party in North Beach and sessions will run all day Saturday and all day Sunday at Fort Mason. It will be educational, fun, inspiring and historic. Most events are ticketed and some events are free.
MEDIA: For more information – interview opportunities – press passes for event coverage – contact Lee Joseph at Reverberations Media
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