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R.D.Laing: 50 years since The Divided Self

R.D.Laing: 50 years since The Divided Self

Theodor Itten
Courtenay Young

ISBN 978 1 906254 54 4 (2012)

Cover Price £19.99

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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
I. CONVERSATIONS                                                                                    
       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
       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.

Theodor Itten


Theodor Itten is a Psychotherapist UKCP and Clinical Psychologist MBPS in private practice. He was an apprentice of psychoanalyst R.D. Laing and a student of Social Anthropologist Francis Huxley. From 1972–1981, was educated in Social Science, Psychology, Anthropology and Philosophy in the UK (Middlesex University and City University) and trained in psychoanalytical psychotherapy with the Philadelphia Association, London. He is a past President of the Swiss Psychotherapeutic Association and until recently Executive Editor of the International Journal of Psychotherapy.  He is co-editor of R.D.Laing: 50 years since The Divided Self (2012, PCCS Books) and author of RAGE-Managing an Explosive Emotion (2011 Libri Publishing);  Jähzorn (2007) and  Jack Lee Rosenberg (2002). He currently lives in Hamburg and St. Gallen. Visit his website at http://www.ittentheodor.ch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Courtenay Young


Courtenay Young is a well-known Body Psychotherapist, who has been practicing for over 30 years. He currently lives in Edinburgh, UK, working both in the National Health Service and privately as a counsellor and psychotherapist. He has been heavily engaged for over 20 years in the professional politics of psychotherapy and in the establishment of the independent profession of psychotherapy in Europe. He is the author of two books — Help Yourself Towards Mental Health and First Contacts with People in Crisis & Spiritual Emergencies — and numerous published articles on psychotherapy. He has recently started publishing books about various aspects of Body Psychotherapy under his own imprimatur, Body Psychotherapy Publications. He is also the editor of the International Journal of Psychotherapy. www.courtenay-young.com

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