About Elyn Saks


Elyn R. Saks at University of California campus

Elyn R. Saks is Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; and Assistant Faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis.

Professor Saks received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University, where she was class Valedictorian; an M.Litt. in philosophy from Oxford University, where she was on a Marshall Scholarship; a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was an editor on the Yale Law Journal; and a Ph.D in Psychoanalytic Science from the New Center for Psychoanalysis, where she was awarded the Jaque Brien Prize.

Saks writes extensively in the area of law and mental health, having published four books and more than two dozen articles. Current projects include empirical studies on informed consent and competency, as well as studies on high functioning people with schizophrenia.

Saks is an elected member of the American Law Institute. Her most recent book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, has won numerous honors, including New York Times Extended Best Sellers List, Time Magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of the Year Award, and Books for a Better Life Inspirational Memoir Award. Recently Saks was honored by having a ward named after her–“The Elyn Saks Ward”–at Pelham Woods Hospital for women in Dorking, England. Saks is a 2009 recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

“Is it okay if I totally trash your office?” It’s a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn’t a joke. A legal scholar, in 2007 Saks came forward with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.


  • Categories
    The Center Cannot Hold