R. D. Laing

Available Autumn 2020 | Contact us to pre-order

About the book

Scottish psychoanalyst R. D. Laing wrote extensively on mental illness and, in particular, on psychosis. Having also studied existential philosophy, Laing was part of the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s, and believed that madness was not an illness, but a communication of distress. Looking first at Laing's life and who he was as a person, Who the Hell is R. D. Laing? goes on to trace his influences and development of thought before diving into his most important and groundbreaking ideas.

Chapter 1: Laing's Life Story

Chapter 2: Influences on Laing's Thinking

Chapter 3: The Divided Self
Following Laing's contrasting of different states of mind, this chapter looks at his belief that the wider social context – of society and family – is largely responsible for all forms of mental distress and the labelling of one member of the family as 'insane'.

Chapter 4: The Double Bind
This chapter follows Laing's furthering of Gregory Bateson's concept of the double bind, whereby he observed that children, forced to choose between identities, respond by 'going crazy'.

Chapter 5: The Logic of Madness
Here we explore Laing's existential-phenomenological method, and the ways in which he suggested that conventional viewpoints that pretend to be objective are oblivious to the logic of the personal paradigm and its logic.

About the author

Lucy Etherington is a published writer and journalist with a BA in English and Drama from Goldsmith's University, and a BSc in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counselling. She lives in Suffolk with her family and continues to research and write alongside running a private clinical practice as a psychotherapist.