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R.D. Laing and the Paths of Anti-Psychiatry

R.D. Laing and the Paths of Anti-Psychiatry

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Published by: Patricio Andrés Bello on Sep 30, 2012
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05/13/2014

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R.D. and the Paths of Anti-Psychiatry
In the 1960s and 1970s, the radical and visionary ideas of R.D.Laingand others associated with the anti-psychiatry movement challenged thepsychiatric establishment, claiming that diagnosis was scientificallymeaningless—that it was simply a way of labelling socially undesirablebehaviour. These ideas revolutionized thinking about psychiatricpractice and the meaning of madness. Laing’s work, from
The Divided Self to Knots,
and his therapeutic community at Kingsley Hall, madehim a household name. But after little more than a decade he faded fromprominence as quickly as he had attained it.
 R.D.Laing and the Paths of Anti-Psychiatry
provides a thoroughreexamination of Laing’s work from a contemporary perspective.Concentrating on his most productive decade, the author provides areasoned critique of Laing’s theoretical writings and investigates theinfluences on his thinking including phenomenology and existentialismin his earlier work, and American family interaction research and Sartrein his work on interpersonal communication. The book also considersthe experimental Kingsley Hall therapeutic community in parallel withother anti-psychiatry experiments such as the Socialist Patients’Collective in Germany and the restructuring of the entire psychiatricsystem in Italy.Zbigniew Kotowicz also focuses on Laing’s contemporarycommentators, from the political right and left, and from feminism,whose responses were as much a part of the Laing ‘phenomenon’ as hewas himself. Setting Laing’s work in context, he provides a new andmuch needed reassessment of its significance for psychotherapy andpsychiatry today.
Zbigniew Kotowicz
trained as a psychotherapist with ThePhiladelphia Association and has worked as a community therapist andin private practice. He is now a freelance writer and is also the author of 
 Fernando
 
 Pessoa: Voices of a Nomadic Soul.
 
The Makers of Modern Psychotherapy
Series editor: Laurence Spurling
This series of introductory, critical texts looks at the work and thought of key contributors to the development of psychodynamic psychother apy. Each book shows how the theories examined affect clinical  practice, and includes biographical material as well as a comprehen sive bibliography of the contributor’s work.
The field of psychodynamic psychotherapy is today more fertile butalso more diverse than ever before. Competing schools have been set up,rival theories and clinical ideas circulate. These different and sometimescompeting strains are held together by a canon of fundamentalconcepts, guiding assumptions and principles of practice.This canon has a history, and the way we now understand and use theideas that frame our thinking and practice is palpably marked by howthey came down to us, by the temperament and experiences of theirauthors, the particular puzzles they wanted to solve and the contexts inwhich they worked. These are the makers of modern psychotherapy.Yet despite their influence, the work and life of some of these eminentfigures is not well known. Others are more familiar, but their particularcontribution is open to reassessment. In studying these figures and theirwork, this series will articulate those ideas and ways of thinking thatpractitioners and thinkers within the psychodynamic tradition continueto find persuasive.Laurence Spurling
Also in this series:
 John Bowlby and Attachment Theory
Jeremy Holmes
 Frances Tustin
Sheila Spensley
 Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of the Self 
Allen Siegel
The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion
Joan and Neville Symington
 Harry Stack Sullivan: Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy
F.BartonEvans III

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