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Mad To Be Normal

: Robert Mullan

Re-released with a new introduction, and to coincide with a film of the same title (directed by the author), Mad To Be Normal is the memoir R. D. Laing never lived to write.  In the last two years of Laing’s life, he recorded hundreds of hours of conversation with Robert Mullan in which he was determined to be as frank and open as possible, and equally determined to ‘put the record straight’. R. D. Laing wrote a number of books during the 1960s which rocked the foundations of conventional psychiatry and galvanized the imagination of millions of ordinary readers. His views were against the grain of conventional psychiatry – his existential approach to madness was controversial, and his work brought into focus matters of individual liberty and the importance of the social context of ‘illness’. The greatest accusation he suffered was that he idealised mental misery – something he consistently denied. Mad to be Normal presents Laing’s own words, about his work and about his life.  It is the most complete record on Laing, by Laing.  Entertaining, maddening, surprising, impressive, occasionally scurrilous, and evoking a compelling portrait of the heady and sometimes self-regarding mood of the 1960s and early l970s, this books necessitates a reassessment of Laing and his work; work which is part of a lengthier and on-going process concerned with the routine care of those disturbed in mind. Dr Robert Mullan is a film director, writer, and producer.  He is the author of a number of books, including Are Mothers Really Necessary?, Social Workers: The Student’s View, and Moving Pictures: The Making of Letters to Sofija. Read more…

Sandor Ferenczi: Reconsidering Active Intervention

: Stanton, Martin

Ferenczi has found some favour in modern times among the followers of Jacques Lacan as well as among relational psychoanalysts in the United States. Relational analysts read Ferenczi as anticipating their own clinical emphasis on mutuality (intimacy), intersubjectivity, and the importance of the analyst’s countertransference. Ferenczi’s work has strongly influenced theory and praxis of the interpersonal-relational theory of American psychoanalysis, as typified by psychoanalysts at the William Alanson White Institute. By Martin Stanton. Read more…

R.D. Laing: Contemporary Perspectives

: Raschid, Salman

Salman Raschid’s unique volume aims to re-establish R. D. Laing’s position, and reputation, as the major critic of orthodox, medically-based, psychiatry. Laing’s complex personality enabled powerful figures in the British psychiatric establishment to malign him when he was at the height of his fame, largely because Laing’s ideas, and public posture, posed a formidable threat to their medical authority. As critic as Peter Sedgwick had observed, Laing’s work was capable of considerable further development. He related mainstream psychiatry’s indebtedness to Laing to the fact that no rival approach possessed any dynamic or momentum of comparable power. Additionally Laing’s theories of schizophrenia had been powerfully aided “by the distinguished cultural and philosophical apparatus in which they reposed”. Subsequent events have proved Sedgwick right, and this book is a record of continuing developments (in theory and practice) of the main corpus of Laing’s work, and an adumbration of likely future developments. The disciplines involved cover, or implicate, such distinct areas of intellectual inquiry as psychiatry (including neurobiology), psychotherapy, philosophy and anthropology. Contributors include Luc Ciompi, Loren Mosher and Louis Sass The ongoing work inspired by Laing, represents a potent challenge to exclusively medically based psychiatry – fashionably described as ‘biological psychiatry’. This book aims to re-establish Laing’s work as a continuing source of inspiration for the development of a truly humanistic psychiatry and psychology, whilst providing the basis of a radical and profound critique, of conventional psychiatry, concluding that R. D. Laing’s is one of the major contributors to the theory and practice of psychiatry, worthy of being ranked alongside such other extraordinary pioneers as Emil Kraepelin, Henry Maudsley, Adolf Meyer and Harry Stack Sullivan. Read more…

Hearing Voices: Embodiment and Experience

: Blackman, Lisa

The hearing of voices is generally regarded as a pathological phenomenon – a form of mental illness. This title challenges the assumption in psychiatry and psychology that hearing voices has a pathological basis, and contains information from people who hear voices but who have found traditional clinical approaches unhelpful. Lisa Blackman also provides information on an alternative approach to hearing voices. Read more…

The Origins of Love and Hate

: Suttie, Ian

The Origins of Love and Hate has long had an underground reputation within psychoanalysis. It is one of the most passionate arguments for a therapeutic practice based on the physician’s love for the deeply deprived patient. It also advocates a view of human nature congruent with the findings of modern biology – a more optimistic vision than that of traditional Freudian psychology. The book is a powerful and early critique of the dual instinct theory of psychoanalysis – Eros and Thantos. Ian Suttie was a Scottish psychiatrist who became a full member of the Tavistock clinic in the 1930s. This book -full of most original (some would say maverick) ideas – was written at the same time as Freud was writing his last works on culture, and a new perspective on therapy was being evolved by the pioneers of child psychoanalysis. Read more…

The Social Engagement of Social Science: The Socio-psychological Perspective v. 1: A Tavistock Anthology (Social Engagement of Social Science, a Tavistock Anthology)

: Trist, Eric; Murray, Hugh

This is a collection of classical writings on the wider relations of the human sciences – especially psychoanalysis and group relations. They are drawn from the work of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations which was set up in 1946 for the specific purpose of relating psychology and the social sciences to the needs and concerns of society. The Institute’s theories, projects and publications have gained international recognition and have led to innovations in social psychiatry, industrial relations, group relations and social science. This volume offers a comprehensive selection of these writings, bringing together for the first time key papers by all the most important figures associated with the Institute’s development and work. It includes papers by J. D. Sutherland, Eric Miller, John Bowlby, Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Isabel Menzies Lyth and D. W. Winnicott. Edited by Eric Trist and Hugh Murray. Read more…

The Dialectics of Schizophrenia

: Thomas, Philip

Defining the nature of schizophrenia continues to be one of the central challenges left to psychiatry and medical science. Here, the biological, psychological and political (social and economic) factors and their strengths and weaknesses are summarised. Refreshingly, author Philip Thomas does not join one or other of the various camps but shows how each perspective is actually necessary if we are to advance to a better understanding of what schizophrenia is. These points are illustrated through recent work by the author and his colleagues with people who hear voices, demonstrating that these experiences are thoroughly understandable in the context of the individual’s life history and social and cultural factors. This is a significant contribution to the ongoing literature on this highly contentious topic. Read more…

Clinical Klein

: Hinshelwood, Robert

In this book, the seminal case histories of Melanie Klein and her followers are closely scrutinised, to examine both what the clinicians were noticing in their patients, and how they conceptualized those processes. What are the contents and processes of the mind as they are revealed in the patient’s speech on the couch, and what is the specific sense a Kleinian makes of them? At once a fascinating history of the Kleinian clinical approach and a superb training text, Robert Hinshelwood’s Clinical Klein is an indispensable work of reference in the burgeoning field of Klein studies. Read more…

Critical Psychiatry

: Ingleby, David

From the Preface to the second impression: The reissue of David Ingleby’s book, 24 years after its first publication, is a very welcome initiative by Free Association Books. When Critical Psychiatry saw the light of day, the debate over psychiatry which had raged in the 1960’s and 1970’s was well past its peak: sales of the book were modest and the publishers soon allowed it to fall out of print, although well-thumbed copies continued to circulate in limited circles. All of us who worked on the book are therefore delighted to see this old war-horse once more being led from the stables. We hope, of course, that the book will not simply be bought as a collector’s item. Inevitably, after a quarter of a century many details have become out of date. However, the book’s basic message seems even more relevant now than it did in 1980. Mental health services have gone on changing, and new research has continued to be generated – but the importance of the book’s central topic has, if anything, become greater. What is this topic? In a nutshell, it is the discrepancy between the size of the problem of ‘mental illness’ and the inadequacy of responses to it. As far as the size of the problem is concerned, the figures cited in the original introduction to Critical Psychiatry have become even more alarming. In Holland, for example – a prosperous country rated highly by its inhabitants on ‘quality of life’- one in four of all adults now experience a diagnosable mental health problem in the course of a year. Such figures are typical for Western countries. Worldwide, the WHO has estimated that depression will become the second most important cause of disability by 2020 – and in the developed world, the major cause. Read more…

Body and Its Pain, The

: Burloux, Gabriel

Physical pain may, in many cases be considered as a psychic symptom, in the same way as anxiety, depression and obsession. This is the main thesis of this work which demonstrates, with the help of many clinical case studies, that chronic pain (for which tests reveal no physical cause) always has its origin in a childhood which is seriously lacking in affection. The book by Gabriel Burloux presents a fascinating theoretical description of pain, with particular reference to Freud’s ideas on the subject, and a detailed account of the treatment by analytical psychotherapy of patients suffering from chronic pain. Read more…