19 April, 2015
Elizabeth Day and Graham Keeley on RD Laing and the tragic death of his son | Books | The Guardian
Elizabeth Day and Graham Keeley on RD Laing and the tragic death of his son | Books | The Guardian: His theories overturned the prevailing orthodoxy of the day that mental illness was, as the German psychiatrist Karl Jaspers had put it, 'un-understandable'. He became a countercultural guru in the Sixties and Seventies, attracting a large anti-establishment following who admired his anarchic and individualist philosophies. Laing believed that mental illness was a sane response to an insane world and that a psychiatrist had a duty to communicate empathetically with patients. Once, when faced with a naked schizophrenic woman rocking silently to and fro in a padded cell, Laing took off his own clothes and sat next to her, rocking to the same rhythm until she spoke for the first time in months.