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on 24 April 2013
Ten,academic but accessible, essays dealing with interpersonal experience and interpersonal action.The subjects considered relate to unconscious pretence,phantasy and the effects of collusion and disconfirmation in interpersonal relationships.
Despite being written in the sixties it deals with timeless issues,and is an unsettling disclosure on the methods employed to combat ontological insecurity and the games we play with ourselves that sustain false-selves through self-betrayal.It is particularly applicable to the present situation, whereby the constant pressures of covert advertising enforces the false-self and fosters a situation whereby people lose the distinction between actuality and pretence, and are drawn into interactive scenarios where they confirm each others falsity.
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R D Laing innovator pioneer and provides a long thread of self realisation and the eventual self liberation. This is one torchlight experience on the parade to human freedom. It is a small deceptive book, penetrating hard. Unconscious experience; How can you have an experience you are unaware of? Laing posits an existential point that tips up therapy.

He then makes the case for understanding emotional connection through dialogue with a patient/client/person. Finding out their internal meaning rather than casting a diagnostic framework is key to a will to health. The opposite is the pre-determined doctor diagnosis, good if you have a specific physical condition but not in explaining how it has accrued. Eschewing the unconscious experience which only the therapist can unravel he brings out the real narrative.

Elusion; the process of imagining oneself away, only to wish oneself back again, but this time, as a grafted-on experience rather than a beam from the inner core. Another nod to the Marxist conception of alienation. The false self identity masters experience and then subdues it rather than imbibing and then radiating the moment within a dialectical expression of joy/sadness. The result is the present pre-occupation of living within in a promised future or a schmaltz ridden past. The present is pure disillusionment.

Phantasies are conjured and maintained, with particular emphasis on issues relating to St. Onan.

Working therapeutically with people diagnosed as schizophrenics this book has assisted, not in a Haynes manual dissassembling a motorbike sort of way, but to work with them to ensure grounding is undertaken to unravel their life stories. Too often dismissed as "mad" the place where I now work has begun to change their milieu to meet the needs of the people inhabiting the structure rather than vice versa.

Guess what? It produces more life affirming change, with the most "stuck" accessing further intense psycholgical treatment and support. Obviously not just relied on Laing but he is a catalyst to energise rather than sit back and quote the DSM Manual categorise and drift into a fugue of categorisation and pharmocopia.

Laing had prescience and vision to think far ahead. This book provides the master keys to escape the self imposed prison.
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on 29 July 2013
If you rate RD Laing's approach to mental health this is a must to read.An important work along with his other works.
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