Laing and psychiatric theory

Allan Beveridge

in Portrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young Man

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199583577
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754685 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Laing and psychiatric theory

Show Summary Details


We begin in Chapter 3 with psychiatric theory. Laing was interested in the history of his discipline and read many of the classic texts by the likes of William Battie, William Pargeter, and John Conolly. These men expressed notions about madness and its treatment that Laing was subsequently to adopt and articulate in his own work. In this chapter we also look at Laing’s response to the different traditions in psychiatry as exemplified, at one pole, by the psychodynamic approach of Freud and, at the other, by the somaticist perspective of Kraepelin. Laing was also interested in American clinicians such as Harry Stack Sullivan and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, who advocated a broadly psychotherapeutic approach to patients with schizophrenia. Laing studied object relations theory and was to meet its leading proponents, such as Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott, when he trained at the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London. This chapter examines the influence of these different theories on Laing’s thinking and how he worked out his own approach to psychiatry.

Chapter.  18821 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.