R.D.Laing: 50 years since The Divided Self
ISBN 978 1 906254 54 4 (2012)
First published in 1960, The Divided Self by Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing (1927–1989) set out to explain psychosis as an ordinary and understandable human experience. Laing’s insight was absolutely revolutionary in its humane approach. One commentator described it as ‘that particular touch of genius which causes one to say “Yes, I have always known that; why have I never thought of it before?”.
Collected in these pages are writings critically appraising Laing’s life, work, frailties, brilliance, and his wide and varied influences over the last half century. You will find transcripts, memoirs, newly commissioned articles and a few previously published papers. Contributions have come from colleagues, friends and clients, as well as people who never knew him personally, yet deeply appreciate his work. Each is different in tone and character. Each captures something unique about Laing and his work.
R.D. Laing was famous for his empathic perception, sagacious intellect and wisdom of the heart, as well as his rebelliousness and falling from grace. In reading this book you may be made to rethink some of your assumptions. We hope that you will find more than a little inspiration.
Introduction Theodor Itten & Courtenay Young
1. 'Variations On My Theme Hanspeter Gschwend
2. Conversation in two Beds Phyllis Chesler and R.D. Laing
3. R.D. Laing in Conversation with Manfred Bleuler Theodor Itten
II. PRAXIS and PROCESSES
4. Take as Long as It Takes Mina Semyon
5. R.D. Laing and long-stay patients David Abrahamson
6. Re-turning, Re-membering and Re-viewing Leon Redler
7. Soteria - A different approach to mental health Voyce Hendrix
8. 50 Years Since The Divided Self Murray Gordon
9. Tales from the boiling pot Bruce Scott
10. The ‘Divided Self’: A personal account Courtenay Young
11. Personal recollections of Ronnie Laing Emmy van Deurzen
12. Love, will, and the hatred of reality Andrew Feldmár
13. The Fabric of Her Hope Susan Griffin
14. Where did it all go wrong? Chris Oakley
III. REFLECTIONS and THEORIES
15. A New Introduction to The Divided Self Anthony S. David
16. From The Divided Self to The Voice of Experience Theodor Itten
17. Sanity, madness & memory Ron Roberts
18. The impact of the ideas of R.D. Laing on UK psychology students Brian Evans
19. More than fifty years after: Laing, Sartre & the Other Ljiljana Filipović
20. Demystifying Madness Brent Potter
21. ‘Physician, Heal Thyself’: The work of R.D. Laing Tom Ormay
22. Psychiatry and the Limits of Dualism Benjamin Sünkel-Laing
23. Editors’ Insert: Re: DSM-V
24. Laing and Szasz Revisited Ron Roberts & Theodor Itten
25. The Liberating Shaman of Kingsley Hall Francis Huxley
26. Two Reviews of The Divided Self A.C. Smith; L. Ratna
27. The Controversy Continues: Letters from The Guardian, 2011.
28. R.D. Laing (1927-1989): A Biography Theodor Itten
29. R.D. Laing Quotations Compiled by Courtenay Young
For anyone interested in Laing and his ideas, this is a fascinating collection of interviews with the great man, followed by reflections - often warm and occasionally critical - of meetings with him, or of the influence he has had on our thinking today. Half a century after the publication of The Divided Self, this book is a timely reminder of Laing the man, and of his enduring importance. Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool.