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From the point of view of a man alienated from his source, creation arises from despair and ends in failure. But such a man has not trodden the path to the end of time, the end of space, the end of darkness and the end of light.

He does not know that where it all ends, there it all begins.

- The Politics of Experience [More...]


We're also very excited to announce a new publication by Ron Roberts,

Just War: Psychology and Terrorism, Ron Roberts, Ed.
Just War: Psychology and Terrorism

263 pages
PCCS Books; 1st Edition (16 Mar 2007)

Ron Roberts, Ed.

This extraordinary collection of essays explores "...perspectives on peace, conflict and protest to deconstruct the psychological and cultural processes which support the normalisation of imperial wars. It calls for a more socially responsible psychology in the 21st century, unshackled from state interests, one which places human rights firmly at its centre.

This book should appeal to lay people and readers from a wide variety of social science backgrounds – including psychology, history and international relations."
– PCCS Books

A detailed list of the chapters and authors is available on the publisher, PCCS Books' website; in addition, the SLS Peace & Conflict colloquium features earlier editions of two of the essays: Laing & Chomsky: Perspectives on International Order, and Indifference or Hidden Agenda? The Response of British Psychology to the Iraq War (with Anthony Esgate).

Have thoughts to share about this or other issues of Laingian interest? Feel free to post them on our web-based discussion forum, or email discussion list. If you aren't signed up to either, now might be a good time to do so, as we will be posting interim notes and announcements in these places (to offset the time between Newsletters).

Thank you to everyone, from Japan to Brazil to Germany, who takes the time to let us know about a broken link here, and a typo there, or to offer thoughts and reflections, requests for citations and so many things in between, it is confirmation that the SLS belongs to everyone. If you haven't received a reply yet, it is only because the number of letters far exceeds the time we have to respond (as the map will tell you) but you will receive a response in time. In the meantime,

To know of someone here and there
Who is in accord with us, who is living on
with us, even in silence
This makes our earthly ball a peopled garden.

– Goethe

Be well.
** see R.D. Laing – What was therapeutic about that? by CF Clark. A transcript of the iinterview and discussion papers are available in the Psychotherapy Colloquium online [here]

16 September - Celebrating a Victory
On 30th June 2006 the Supreme Court of Alaska handed down a decision that to administer psychotropic drugs to a non-consenting psychiatric patient in a non-emergency situation is unconstitutional. Here's the statement issued by the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights:

June 30, 2006


Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Forced Psychiatric Drugging Procedures

In a resounding affirmation of personal liberty and freedom, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Myers v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute today. The court found Alaska's forced psychiatric drugging regime to be unconstitutional when the state forces someone to take psychiatric medications without proving it to be in their best interests or when there are less restrictive alternatives.

Faith Myers, the appellant in the case, reacted to the decision saying, "It makes all of my suffering worthwhile."

Myers' attorney, Jim Gottstein, said "By requiring the least intrusive alternative to forced psychiatric drugging, this decision has the potential to change the face of current psychiatric practice, dramatically improving the lives of people who now find themselves at the wrong end of a hypodermic needle." While he acknowledged that some people find psychiatric drugs helpful, Gottstein said he pursued this case because, in addition to the drugs' serious physical health risks, he is concerned about the rights of those who find them both unhelpful and intolerable. He continued, "For people who want to try non-drug approaches, the research is very clear that many will have much better long-term outcomes, including complete recovery after being diagnosed with serious mental illness. This decision restores the rights of those people to pursue that potential."

The Alaska Supreme Court decision noted the trial court's concern that the statute did not allow the court to consider the problems with the drugs even though "a valid debate exists in the medically/psychiatric community as to the safety and effectiveness of the proposed treatment plan." With this decision, trial courts are now required to consider the safety and effectiveness of the drugs in deciding whether the proposed psychiatric drugging is in the patient's best interest.

The Court's Decision also makes specific mention that Alaska Statutes require the hospital to honor a patient's previously expressed desires regarding psychiatric medications.

The full decision, as well as detailed information about the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (aka Psychrights) can be found on the website.

A CV page for Jim Gottstein, lead counsel in the case and founder of Psychrights, is available here. His own account of treatment under an involuntary-voluntary commitment order 24 years ago at the same institution against which he won this decision is also available to be read online.

From the Supreme Court opinion:


We conclude that the Alaska Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and privacy require an independent judicial determination of an incompetent mental patient’s best interests before the superior court may authorize a facility like API to treat the patient with psychotropic drugs. Because the superior court did not determine Myers’s best interest before authorizing psychotropic medications, we VACATE its involuntary treatment order. Although no further proceedings are needed here because Myers’s case is now technically moot, we hold that in future non-emergency cases a court may not permit a treatment facility to administer psychotropic drugs unless the court makes findings that comply with all applicable statutory requirements and, in addition, expressly finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed treatment is in the patient’s best interests and that no less intrusive alternative is available. [emphasis added]

This decision, together with the recent research in neuro-psychoanalysis documenting changes to the brain's structure following treatment solely comprised of psychotherapy, previously believed only possible through chemical intervention, are compelling indications that at last, the times they are a-changin', and further affirm that the practice of humane psychiatry in the tradition RD Laing, Loren Mosher, and others showed that Treatment of Acute Psychosis Without Neuroleptics is not merely possibility, it is a reality.

While it's fun to watch the walls of Big Pharma come tumbling down, we hope that professionals are giving serious attention to what will happen to patients who have been subjected to coercive drug therapies and who will need to be safely be helped through the process of drug detoxification.

An excellent place to start might be:

Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs - Peter Lehrman, Editor Coming off Psychiatric Drugs:
Successful Withdrawal from Neuroleptics,
Antidepressants, Lithium, Carbamazepine
and Tranquilizers

Peter Lehman, Ed.

The world-wide first book about "Successful coming down from psychiatric drugs." With experience-reports of 28 (ex-)users and survivors of psychiatric drugs from all over the world and additional articles of psychotherapists, physicians, psychiatrists, natural healers and other professionals helping withdraw.

With prefaces by Judi Chamberlin, Pirkko Lahti and Loren R. Mosher, this book is available in British, American and German editions. Table of Contents Includes: The Decision to Withdraw • Withdrawal without Pharmacogenic Problems • Coming off Step by Step • Counterweights • To Withdraw with Professional Help • Better Sometimes than Forever • Professional Acting • The Time After.

we're investigating various sources of information and discussion on this practice concern and will post links to resources as they come available on the Politics of Diagnosis colloquium page.

In other news...

Will be posting details of updates, additions and changes (obvious, and not-so-obvious ones) to the site over the past months as soon as I can remember where I left the list. Happy Autumn! (at last).

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6 December - Glad Tidings

The Sun Wu KingThe most recent edition of our e-newsletter, A Benign Conspiracy, has been sent out to all subscribers (twice in fact - one of them even legible) featuring a collection of new writing, we're proud to have added to the Colloquium, among them Theodor Itten's The Tao of Therapy, and Juan Galis-Menendez' R.D. Laing and the Nature of Evil, in addition to papers by Lorca, Vanouse and Roheim.

We've also added to the online archive of original works by Laing, including selections from the 1985 Evolution of Psychotherapy conference: The Use of Existential Phenomenology in Psychotherapy by R.D. Laing, with discussion by Thomas Szasz and comments by Paul Watzlawick.

R.D. Laing's
Transcendental Experience in Relation to Religion and Psychosis; originally published in The Psychedelic Review in 1964, is also now online in the archive. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in hearing Laing's position, in his own words, on one of the issues most often mistaken and misrepresented in the literature.

And in the spirit of the season, we've paid special attention to the Art & Literature colloquium, with a wonderful poem, Proud to be Crazy, by Joe J Dross, as well as essays in literary critique, and an assortment of odd and interesting bits of trivia.

Our apologies for the delay in updating this page - we're already well into the next update, which should be available mid-February.

Wishing you every happiness in 2006!

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17 June - Newest-of-the-new-news Newsletter

Greetings everyone! It's time for the June newsletter and we have many exhilarating-or at least moderately entertaining-additions to the site. Just kidding about the 'moderately interesting' part. I think you'll all enjoy the updates. Below you'll find additions to our archives including, "R.D. Laing: The Politics of Mind"; "Audio Colloquies", transcript of an hour-long interview; and an interview/book-review by Stephen Koch, "Worrying About R.D. Laing". In addition you'll find a gonzo report by Steven Ticktin on the 3rd Laing Conference, as well as "La primauté de l'expérience en philosophie et en théologie" by Lise Villemaire. We are thrilled to be featuring our first paper in French, and this is the beginning of a considerable resource: In the next update we'll be offering a list of Laing's publications in French as well as notes on articles of interest in French journals. So please enjoy the updates and do not hesitate to write with any suggestions or questions.

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28 February - Merry Happy Valentine's New Year

The David Cooper Anti-pageLong overdue, but we hope worth the wait - we're very excited to announce the addition of:

What might be called a site-within-a-site, the David Cooper Anti-page contains a bibliography of major works and a number of excerpts to read online of chapters and essays most representative of David Cooper's philosophy.
And even more exciting (yes, it can be even more exciting than an actual reference point for David Cooper on the Net...) taking pride of place, Dr. Stephen Ticktin's Brother Beast: A Personal Memoir of David Cooper, (originally published in the first issue of Asylum). A must-read for everyone who has searched for an authoritative essay (and from the number of letters we've received over the years, you are legion) on the extraordinary and genuinely revolutionary thinker that David Cooper was.

And that's not all, folks! This multi-anti-update also ushers in the arrival of a new Colloquium devoted to the study of Peace and Conflict. We open the colloquium with essays that are timely and timeless: Laing and Chomsky, (an excellent, concise study), a critique of the response of British Psychology to the Invasion of Iraq (no mincing words), along with Jules Henry's Social and Psychological Preparation for War, and David Cooper's Beyond Words. Decades have come and gone between the time the first and last papers were written - but the truth remains the same. What call to arms is needed now? Have your say in the discussion forum.

And yes, there's more... which will be detailed in the newsletter coming to your Inbox this Friday (or Monday).

Thanks to everyone for your patience over this long gap. It's absolutely the last time we get this lofty with updates (unless we think of something really ReAlLy great ).

2 October - Hang on to your hat

Not only because of the blustering of the October wind, but also because there is so much to tell. Three brilliant new publications, The Distracted Centipede, by Mina Semyon, R.D. Laing, by Gavin Miller, and R.D. Laing: Contemporary Perspectives, by Salman Raschid. And more! This autumn has also seen the re-release of Asylum on DVD through KINO International, celebrated at a showing in New York City (with other dates and locations coming). Further information on the books, and Asylum available through the links here for anyone who isn't on the Benign Conspiracy mailing list (you don't know what you're missing). Three extraordinary books, and one treasured film all at once, this is one autumn to rembember.

There are too many additions and improvements all through the site to list here, so here, a few hilights: articles and reviews by Ross Speck and Andrew Feldmar, a feature-length biography by Steven Ticktin, a beautiful poem by Thomas Atwood, and a very fine critique of post-modern psychology by Ron Roberts.

And in the immortal words of Patti Smith, it was time to shake it up, baby. And so we did, and it's out with the old and in with the new. Some pretty exciting developments in the SLS lineup, read about it in About this Site.

CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENTS - and head for Queen's NY - because, from October 8th - 10th, The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology will be holding their 8th Annual Conference. The lineup is spectacular: speakers include George Albee, Mary Boyle, Peter Breggin, Celia Brown, David Healy, Betram Karon, Diane Lambert, Vera Sharav, and Robert Whitaker. Holee. Details on the ICSPP website.

12 July - An Obituary for Dr. Loren R. Mosher

It is with deep regret that we inform you that on Saturday morning, 10 July at 8 am, Loren Mosher passed away in Berlin, following a sudden and brief illness.

Loren will be remembered always as a man of unshakable integrity who acted on the courage of his convictions and the knowledge of his heart, not only to speak out against the abusiveness of the ''accepted" methods of treatment of the mentally ill, but also against the abuses of privilege in the institutions of his profession .

It says in the Talmud that 'every soul must choose between peace and the truth', and Loren's life is a testament to having chosen the difficult path of truth that asked so much from him to tell.

There is still a long road to travel, now without him here ask for guidance and direction. Please light a candle for Loren, to light his way, as he did for us.

Loren R. Mosher, M.D.
3 September 1933 - 10 July 2004

| | Bio & Article | Memory Book |

30 June - ... And it's about time
Not only have the spring thunderstorms here in Canada made everything lush and green, but also theyInternational R.D. Laing Insittute have succeed in keeping certain admines indoors, so we are very happy to announce that the International R.D. Laing Institute website is almost completely online. All of the cv pages for the faculty members are in place, as well as a list of their publications, well worth checking out.
Also very noteworthy, at the end of April, Stephen Ticktin relocated from the UK back to Canada. He may already be questioning the wisdom of such a move since no one warned him that someone who shall remain nameless would be raking through his papers and pestering him for all manner of articles and artefacts, several of which will be included in the new additions to the archive in the coming update.
And speaking of update, all of the articles have been formatted and are ready to go. The e-news is being drafted, and will be sent out sometime in the first week of July. (To anyone who can't wait, note the New Articles link below.) We'll post notes of the new additions here by mid-July.

| SiteMap | New Articles | Search |

23 May - It Was Just An Experience.
Just when we were going full throttle with everything, your devoted admin arranged to have a new computer built. The new computer is beautiful and powerful and has transformed the way all of the SLS work was being undertaken, but - and the astrologers are probably already saying, 'What? With Mercury retrograde, what was she thinking?!' (and they would be right) - the bottom line to the sordid tale is that the drive with the history of the SLS became inaccessible in the transfer, so many of the contacts, as well as archived images and articles in preparation are presently being collected again. It's caused considerable delay in the planned updates for the site, with sincere apologies to our members. We have already covered considerable ground and will have an update next month.

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28 April - A Ten Day Voyage
Most exciting development this month was Theodor Itten's visit to Canada to work on the development of the ILI. Work and more work, and very little time for sight-seeing, (with the exception of the home of your devoted admin, historically met with the descriptive, "what a sight!") but a very worthwhile endeavour for the opportunity it provided to work out many of the essential undertakings to take place over the next year. Further information will be posted on the ILI site in coming weeks. Updating of the SLS site had to be put on hold for a short while to focus on the Insitute development, but will be back soon with new articles and news.

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23 March - New this month
The first official issue of A Benign Conspiracy was sent out on the 16th; if you didn't receive a copy, but had requested one, it may have been due to additional filters added to mail servers in an effort to knock back the malicious spam going around. Please make sure you have on your 'safe list'. If you would like a copy of the most recent issue, or didn't receive the copy as you should have, please send a note to and we'll send it out right away.
Most recent additions to the Archives this month include R.D. Laing's Mystification, Confusion and Conflict, Theodor Solotaroff's R.D. Laing:The Uses of Madness, as well as articles and commentaries by A.W. Liley, Francis Huxley, Stephen Kierulff and Patrice Guillaume.
Also in the spirit of 'spring cleaning', we've updated and corrected the Timeline, added a new Further Links page, and sorted a broken link or two. Not every page of the site carries the new navigation menu, we're hoping to have the last ones in place by the end of April.
Next month's update will feature original work focusing on Laing's philosophical origins, in addition to a very special edition of a chapter from Mary Barnes: Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness.

Happy spring to everyone.

| SiteMap | New Articles | Search |

22 February - New this month
In celebration of the new year, (and the spirit of the ruling element) we've been making some big changes throughout the site. Frequent visitors will have noticed the addition of a new Bibliography section called Recordings. It does suggest "LP"'s to some of us, but it actually refers to every form of recorded media: videos, cassettes and film, (as well as the unforgettable Long-Play records).

Other revisions include the merging of the Colloquium topics, Politics of Diagnosis and Critical Psychiatry & Psychology under the Politics of Diagnosis link, and changes among various pages to font colours and graphics to enhance the legibility and display across browsers.

Another big change that we're very excited about is the installation of our own (phpBB) discussion forum. All of the topics and messages we've gathered over the years have beengiardino moved to our new forum, and now privately administered, it is more stable and free of external registration forms and ads of any kind (with the Disclaimer of course that plugging your book, film, website, etc. is a-ok). The SLS Discussion forum, giardino delle parole, (garden of words) is free and open to members and others alike.

Last and never least, a note about A Benign Conspiracy - with apologies, our monthly newsletter has been delayed a number of times because of the widescale changes we've been making to the site. It'll be out any day, and on its way to everyone who has requested a complimentary issue as well as SLS members.

Sincere thanks to everyone who has sent us notes about broken links and suggestions for additions and changes; every suggestion we have received was excellent, and if you haven't noticed your idea in place on the site already, you will in the coming months. Thanks again.

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22 January - Happy New Year

The Sun Wu KingWishing you the 5 traditional Chinese blessings ~ Longevity, Wealth, Love of Virtue, Vital Health, and a Natural Ending ~ in the long-awaited Year of The Monkey, The Sun Wu King.

In this year governed by the element wood and the cerebral monkey, in which new endeavours and collaborations flourish, it is a particular joy and an honour to announce the founding of the

International R.D. Laing Institute (ILI),
Theodor Itten, Principal.

The ILI is a professional organisation that will provide the opportunity to meet fellow workers in the healing arts who are experienced in working in a practice informed through the life and work of R.D.Laing. Members of the teaching staff, who are internationally experienced professionals, both in the practice and the repertoire of personal, and Laingian theoretical reflections, will be invited to give seminars, lectures and workshops to students and to the general public.

Further information is available on the ILI website, or by contacting Theodor Itten directly. This is a very exciting development, as the complementary goals of the ILI and SLS will establish a very sound and comprehensive presence for Laingian scholarship.

There are quite a number of other changes and improvements currently taking place behind the scenes on the SLS site, which you may have discerned from a few revisions to the navigation menu. We are almost ready to launch the changes, and will be sending everyone full details in Issue #1 of benign conspiracy, scheduled to be sent on 31 January.

| Wishing You Love and Light and Joy in the New Year |

29 October - New additions to the Colloquia include articles (for the first time on the Net) by Kirk Schneider, Theodor Itten, and Joseph Berke.... Richard Webster's chapter from Why Freud Was Wrong now appears in its orginal form, restored from a brief spell of unwitting expurgation on the part of a well-meaning web-assistant.... and, after an unwitting oversight on the part of a well-meaning admin, About this Site and the Further Links, in addition to a considerably revised Timeline, will be in place in the next few days. The Discussion Forum will soon be plagued with popups, so there's no better time than now to Join the Society - membership fees will be applied to the purchase of a (long-overdue) members Listserve.

Want to know more? Sign up for A Benign Conspiracy, the SLS Monthly Newsletter: get the inside scoop on coming online publications, information and esoterica. Always free to members, non-members can try an issue for free.

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