Michael Guy Thompson: The Legacy Of RD Laing

Will Hall

Is breakdown really breakthrough? Should unhappy people be made to adjust to a mad society? Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing made a huge cultural impact, shaping the psychiatric survivor movement and offering a psychological critique of social conventions in a time of the Vietnam War and the 60s. How are Laing’s revolutionary insights about the family and culture still relevant today?

Michael Guy Thompson, a psychoanalyst and founder of the Gnosis Retreat Center, worked with R.D. Laing in London and has created hospital alternative sanctuaries for people struggling with experiences called psychosis.

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  1. I’m surprised that this pod cast hasn’t generated more discussion. I have two Google News search terms that I employ regularly. One is “psychiatry” and the other is “R. D. Laing”. While there has been a smattering of news about Thomas Szasz, for instance, since his 2012 death. It is less than sporadic. R. D. Laing, on the other hand, hasn’t really vanished from the media spotlight in some quarters since his death in 1989. There are many reasons for this media longevity that one could point to but, all the same, I think one has to consider it a remarkable achievement on his part.