Gay Watson was born and brought up beside the seaside, in Sussex. After a varied career as a TV researcher, running and curating a gallery and craft shop, parenting and farming, she returned to study in mid-life, gaining an BA Hons degree followed by a PhD in Religious Studies from SOAS, University of London. Simultaneously she trained as a psychotherapist with the Karuna Institute of Core Process Psychotherapy.
Bringing these strands together Gay has written extensively about Buddhism and psychotherapy and, more recently, art. The Resonance of Emptiness; A Buddhist Inspiration for a Contemporary Psychotherapy (1998), her published thesis was followed by Beyond Happiness, Deepening the Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences (2008), A Philosophy of Emptiness (2014), and Attention, Beyond Mindfulness (2017).
For many years Gay was a Trustee of the Dartington Hall in Devon, where she lives for most of the year. The remainder she spends in California, the home of her husband, David.