John Elliot Bradshaw was born in Houston, Texas on June 29, 1933. He received a bachelor's degree in sacred theology and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He taught at the University of St. Thomas for a year. In 1964, just days before he was to be ordained, he left the Basilian Order. He eventually checked himself into an alcohol-treatment program at a state hospital in Austin. On being released, he returned to Houston and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily for the next three years. He soon began teaching adult Sunday school classes at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and working with addicts in the church's drug-abuse program. He also appeared on local television as the host of a talk show entitled Spotlight and found himself in demand as a lecturer on family psychology. In the early 1980s, he did a television series on the psychologist Erik Erikson's eight stages of man, which was broadcast on PBS. He also created a 10-part series entitled Bradshaw On: The Family, which also aired on PBS. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including Bradshaw On: The Family, Bradshaw On: Healing the Shame That Binds You, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, Family Secrets: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, and Post-Romantic Stress Disorder: What to Do When the Honeymoon Is Over. Many of his books were turned into PBS specials. He died of heart failure on May 8, 2016 at the age of 82.