Since the death of the late R.D. Laing in 1989, there has been a wealth of publication on his life and work. Ten books have so far appeared, and more are being written. There is no doubt an active Laingian community at large. Yet in terms of his work being rooted in an ongoing practice, teaching, apprenticing, there is very little common grounding with the brothers and sisters who actually know the work first hand. The Philadelphia Association (founded in 1965) of whom some of us are still members or associates, is no longer the breeding ground for the work and spirit of R.D. Laing and what we contributed to this ongoing tradition. This particular approach to the healing of the suffering soul needs a fresh vessel, and this is the main aim of the ILI. We want to be a forum of learning by doing, of experiencing guided by the most experienced "Laingians" there are, who were all former colleagues, students and apprentices of Laing. As we are getting on in life, this is a very good moment to launch this institute, to gather our wits and spread the word in deed.
The ILI is a collective source of our own wisdom of the heart, therapeutic experience and theoretical reflections, for many of us have also gone on to publish results from our approaches and visions of life, be this in the fields of anthropology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, philosophy and cultural studies.
Now it is time to take up the loose ends again, where Ronnie Laing has left some threads, and where others have gone on to pool them together, to weave them together into a tapestry of learning, which has become invisible since 1981, when both Francis Huxley and Ronnie Laing resigned from the Philadelphia Association, which they served for 17 years. Others, like Loren Mosher, have become Professors and done extremely well with their own research in the field of Mental Health, expanding the frontiers of Laing's approach, there is so much in terms of resources which we now bring together again.
As you might remember, Ronnie Laing was always a researcher and professional, who worked best in collectives and enjoyed the give and take, right from his time in Glasgow University, the Abenheimer circle, The Tavistock family research team, the founding and running of Kingsley Hall, as the first experimental therapeutic community in Britain, the sustaining of the Philadelphia Association, which next year (2005) will celebrate its 40th anniversary. In 1981, at the AvAntiPsychiatry Conference in Louvain, there we founded the International Philadelphia Association, with some present members of the faculty, being present in the inner circle, like Francis Huxley, Loren Mosher, Leon Redler, Andrew Feldmar and me. It was a short lived venture, due to various circumstances. Nevertheless, it was an attempt, also forced by the second generation, to establish a network of learning and sharing expertise, which has not been available before. The central secretariat was in Leuven University. Proceedings of the conference, Small Scale Strategies, was published, and then the whole venture came to an end, very much regretted by the younger generation. Now, the founding of ILI is a very strong and serious : Here we go again. The younger generation is now as old as the old one was 24 years ago. To keep our work going, to keep the life, spirit and vision of R.D. Laing and associates vivid and vital as we are all serving a healing tradition which is ancient and transgenerational, we see reason to invite others to join our movement.
The ILI will provide master classes for already experienced practitioners in the healing arts, who have a first and/or postgraduate degree in the Humanities or Social/ Medical Sciences, and who are looking for an enrichment and enchantment of their therapeutic repertoire and theoretical sagacity.
The faculty of the ILI is formed from the most experienced "Laingians" there are presently in the world, most of whom have known the work of Laing and have enjoyed a close friendship with him, and among each other.
The list of publications is long, and some are still very active in their ongoing research. They will teach a varied and rich curricula, from Structural Anthropology to Integrative Body Psychotherapy, from Archetypal Psychology to refined Hatha Yoga. Community therapy will have its place as well as critical philosophy, informed by the experience of the journey through madness. All the published works will be taught and studied closely. There is a close affiliation with the Society for Laingian Studies, which provide rich archive and source work online, linked to a discussion forum and news letter, as well as with the Laing Archive, in the Special Collection Department (SCD) of Glasgow University Library.
Due to the international nature of ILI there will be two chapters of staff, one in North America and one Western Europe. Venues will include Toronto University, Glasgow University or St.Gallen University.
Once every three years, there will be an International Conference hosted by ILI, in liaison with the Special Collections Department - University of Glasgow, going for four days, where there will be seminars in the morning, studies in the Laing archive in the afternoon with discussion groups, and in the evening there will be the R.D. Laing Lectures, given by the distinguished members of the ILI faculty. The lectures will be published in book form by ibp-books ww.ibpbooks.ch.
Besides the student members of ILI, there is possible membership for Friends of the ILI, who support and aid the work of the Institut, via their annual subscription of 100 Euro, and other donations, to make sure the Institute can run smoothly, provide a well stocked library and easy going administrative services, which will be mostly online, and need to be catered for, yet we will have a physical base in the home of the Institute in St.Gallen, Switzerland.
The curriculum will be designed with utmost care by all the current members of the faculty, and be revised with the help of student feedback. There will be a yearly intake of students. Please refer to the Curriculum page and the enrolment page, if you are interested to join as a student.
The faculty is open to the invitation of other distinguished members of the profession for participation in colloquia and/or seminars. You can look up the current members of the faculty as well as their list of publications on the relevant pages.