August 20, 2014
Theodor Itten and Ron Roberts
The New Politics of Experience and The Bitter Herbs
A lot of what is done in the name of psychotherapy and psychology is driven by motives which are base,
shallow and commercial. Theorising of the human condition too often follows the ideological fashions
of the day, which can be described as biological/corporate fundamentalism. This toxic mixture not only
mystifies the general public but also makes epistemological slaves of professional psychologists. As neoliberal
capitalism continues its forward march, this book considers its influence on the divide between
academic psychology and the psychotherapeutic art of healing. Theodor Itten and Ron Roberts explore these issues from their respective positions on each side of the psychotherapy/academic psychology divide. Calling for a return to a new, authentic and vibrant Politics of Experience, their examination –
elaborating the interplay of practice and theory with everyday experience – is both personal and critical and provides an unusual perspective on what it means to practise in the present day.
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Flyer (download pdf)
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April 10, 2014
Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association Communities
Today, there are few places left for people to escape our modern plight; the cognitive and neuroscientific imperialistic discourse of mental distress. Testimony of Experience is an attempt to transcend this oppressive discourse. It does so by presenting over 40-years-worth of the experiences of ex-residents of Philadelphia Association (PA) communities. These were set up by R.D. Laing and others in the 1960s as a response to reductive medical and scientific theories of mental suffering.
The tyranny of scientific certainty and striving for ‘knowing’ so prevalent within our state-sanctioned ‘mental health’ institutions deprives us of other ways of accommodating our curtailed subjectivities, of what it is to suffer, to live, to be human.
This book re-examines an ancient dictum which is dying out today - the Docta Ignorantia - the doctrine of wise unknowing. Through a philosophically informed critique of positivistic research methodology and an analysis and deconstruction of interviews with ex-residents of the PA communities, this book asks the question that must be uttered to regain our subjectivity; is there room for wise unknowing in mental suffering in a world of certainty?
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October 25-27, 2013
A Weekend Symposium Addressing R.D. Laing's legacy and contemporary relevance in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of his death.
Wagner College, Staten Island, NY
Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., Keynote Speaker
Betty Cannon, Ph.D.
Darlene Ehrenberg, Ph.D.
Brian Evans, Ph.D.
Andrew Feldmar, Ph.D.
Steven Gans, Ph.D.
Miles Groth, Ph.D.
Douglas Kirsner, Ph.D.
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
Peter Mezan, Ph.D.
Andrew Pickering, Ph.D.
Leon Redler, M.D.
Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.
Martin A. Schulman, Ph.D.
Ross Speck, M.D.
Michael Guy Thompson, Ph.D.
Friday, 24. August 2012, I like to inform you all, that on October 2012, a new book about the impact of Ronnie Laing’s life and work will be published.
R.D. LAING : 50 years since ‘THE DIVIDED SELF’
Edited by Theodor Itten & Courtenay Young
PCCS Books (2012)
Together with Courtenay Young, Editor of The International Journal of Psychotherapy, I have collected and edited this book. There are twenty four authors who joined in, and we begin our Introduction as follows:
With this book, our authors and we, the editors, commemorate and celebrate in our various ways, the 50 years (or so) since the publication of R.D. Laing’s: The Divided Self, in 1960. He was then 33 years old. He began writing his first book shortly after he entered clinical practice in the Royal Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow, in 1953, developing his style of relating to patients, listening to them, and conveying his experience by getting his ‘voice’ going. For Laing, the epistemological basis for the science of a person became empirical phenomenology: the ultimate definition was not some erudite theory, but what could actually be seen and heard. In this, he was quite radical and – for him – this was also somewhat transformational.
What was Laing’s basic message just over half a century ago? First of all, it is imperative to listen more carefully to the ‘mad’ communications of all the people that are similar to those who are portrayed in ‘The Divided Self’. Maybe they are not as ‘mad’ as they seem; maybe they are just ‘divided selves’. Whilst simple, this was revolutionary. For centuries, society (we) had excluded, ignored, imprisoned, laughed at, and been afraid of these ‘mad’ people. De facto, their ravings could not therefore be sensible, but Laing just asked us to listen more carefully and take some of their personal ‘stories’ into account: maybe then they would make more sense than heretofore presumed. If you start to ‘be’ with these ordinary people, much like you and me, in a more courteous respectful way, you may find that they might open up to you some of the treasures of their hidden true selves.
See an overview (incl. Contents)
For more Information: please visit http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/.
Special Issue: R.D. Laing - International Journal of Psychotherapy, Volume 15, No. 2, July 2011
Editorial: Theodor Itten
"Variations On My Theme": An interview with R.D. Laing: Hanspeter Gschwend
The Liberating Shaman of Kingsley Hall: Francis Huxley
More than fifty years after: Laing, Satre & the Other: Ljiljana Filipovic
R.D. Laing and long-stay patients: Discrepant accounts of the refactory ward and "rumpus room" at Gartnaval Royal Hospital: David Abrahamson
Soteria - A different approach to mental health: Voyce Hendrix
From "The Divided Self" to "The Voice of Experience": Theodor Itten
The impact of the ideas of R.D. Laing on UK psychology students from the 1960s to the 21st century: Brian Evans
Personal Recollections of R. D. Laing: Emmy van Deurzen
Sanity, madness & memory: R. D. Laing and the post-modern: Ron Roberts
Tales from the boiling pot: Psychotherapy Training and Initiation: Bruce Scott
Re-turning, Re-membering and Re-viewing: Ronnie Laing and "Me": Leon Redler
Demystifying Madness: R.D. Laing and "Hatred of the Unlived Life": Brent Potter
R.D. Laing (1927-1989): A Biography: Compiled by Theodor Itten
Ronald David Laing: Quotations: Collated by C. Young
The International R.D. Laing Institute
was founded on 1 January, 2004
in St. Gallen, Switzerland