Tag Archive for 'R. D. Laing'

Some important people in this workshop: R. D. Laing and David Cooper

R.D. Laing was born in Glasgow in 1927 and he studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a psychiatrist. His first experiment in changing the way people designated the mentally ill took place at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital where he and colleagues radically altered the treatment regime in a long-term women’s ward.

Laing moved to London to work at the Tavistock Clinic and trained as a psychoanalyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. Laing sought to develop what he called ‘an existential-phenomenological foundation for a science of persons’ and sought to set out a description of the experience of those labelled schizophrenic. Such people, Laing argued, suffered from ontological insecurity, a lack of faith in their own and others’ reality which led them to create false self systems to fend off psychological and emotional catastrophe. Laing wanted to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible, and to a great many people, including many of those afflicted, he did so convincingly. The discourse of the ‘mad’, he showed, if listened to in the right spirit could make a sense of its own. This was to be the line of thought that Laing would pursue for many years in The Divided Self (1960), Self and Others (1961), Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964) and The Politics of Experience (1967). Continue reading ‘Some important people in this workshop: R. D. Laing and David Cooper’