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The Paths of Soul Making: Notes on a peculiar psycho-analytic tradition1


"He who sees others in himself and himself in others is no longer alone."

I Questions

"Do you know Vicky Hamilton?" Jack Lee Rosenberg (1932-) asked me back in August 1997, at the end of a five day seminar culminating my three years further education training in 'Integrative Body Psychotherapy' (IBP). "No, I'm afraid not", I replied. Rosenberg clarifies: "She is my long-term supervisor in Los Angeles, and former therapist. I've known her now for nearly twenty years. She came over from London, where she was sort of an assistant to Winnicott (1896-1971) at the Tavistock Clinic." Jack knew, since our first meeting in summer 1993 in Switzerland, that I was a former student of the Scottish psychiatrist and psychoanalyst R.D.Laing (1927-1989) and trained with him in existential analysis and psychotherapy from 1976-1981 in London. Despite my no for an answer, I began searching for a connecting link for freedom and peace of mind.

Who can contain a river once it overflows? Who knows the undercurrents below a river's bed? Can we let it happen, as it happens anyway, as in the meaning of the Chinese expression "wu wei"? Can I trust my Self and let "soul-making" take its course and take it from there on in? Can I connect what shows itself to be the case in bringing forth a vision of the soul into words (psyche-logos)? When we take care of our senses, the words take care of themselves.

This reminds me of what the late Ted Hughes (Poet Laureate: 1930-1998) once said in a 1996 interview

Every work of art stems from a wound in the soul of the artist. When a person is hurt, his immune system comes into operation and the self-healing process takes place, mental and physical. Art is a psychological component of the autoimmune system that gives expression to the healing process. That is why great works of art make us feel good. There are artists who concentrate on expressing the damage, the blood, the mangled bones, and the explosion of pain, in order to rouse and shock the reader. And there are those who hardly mention the circumstances of the wound, they are concerned with the cure.1

Laing's, Rosenberg's and my practice of psychotherapy is an art of healing.

II First answer

My curiosity was now genuinely aroused. I went to my library, and looked in several recent biographies on R.D.Laing consulting their indexes for 'Hamilton'. John Clay's biography 'R.D.Laing-A Divided Self' was the only one, which featured her, to my relief. We read about her in the chapter titled 'India 1971-72': "By the end of March 1971, Laing was ready to leave (London) and he flew to Colombo, accompanied by Jutta, although he had planned initially to go on his own. Given the chance, Jutta had opted to go with him, worried that in his present mood he might not come back...A friend and former analysand of Laing's, Vicky Hamilton joined them there."2 They all lived for a while near Kandy.

This find made me happy. I picked up the phone and dialled Jutta Laing's phone number in London. She confirmed Clay's statement and gave me some more insider information.

Vicky Hamilton (born between 1938-1940, according to Jutta Laing and Leon Redler) spent time in Kingsley Hall, the experimental therapeutic community opened by R.D.Laing and his Philadelphia Association colleagues in 1965 (till 1970) at Bromley, East End London. She was a friend with James Greene (son of Hugh Greene, Graham's brother), who was at that time in psychoanalysis with, and introduced her to Laing. In due course she too entered analysis with Laing. Once Hamilton began to mix in this social circle, she threw her flat doors open and invited her new friends for parties. After separating from Greene, she paired up with Peter Mezan, a friend of Laing's and a bit the 'Ernest Jones' of the Laingian-circle, at the that time, who not only accompanied Laing on his notorious 1972 USA Lecture tour, but wrote a commendable Esquire article "After Freud and Jung, Now Comes R.D.Laing", and a gripping book-chapter: 'R.D.Laing-Portrait of a Twentieth-Century Sceptic '(1976). It was to be Mezan, who in 1981, "came out to California for ten days to help me organise the manuscript into its final form. His insistence on coherence and precision revived both the book and the author", Hamilton notes in the acknowledgements of her first book, 'Narcissus and Oedipus-The Children of Psychoanalysis.3

By the late 1970's we find her married with Nicholas Tufnell, who, coming from old English landed gentry, moved with Hamilton from London to Los Angeles, where she opened a psychotherapeutic practice. Being new and coming from out of town, she attracted clients such as Rosenberg, who by that time was a very 'in' Gestalt-Therapist, among other things, and could not very well go to someone from 'in town'.

I now became aware of how Hamilton's relationship link with Laing formed a 'bridge' to Rosenberg. My further training with Rosenberg complemented my basic apprenticeship with Laing. Like an anticipation of a spiral circling back to the point from where it is drawn, fate was bringing us together, to validate one another from the inside/insight to the outside. I began to hear the echo of music played long ago, connecting the heart of human compassion and the sharing of feelings in the sacrament of the present moment. It was the melody of that agent of healing by active intervention - a bright candle in the darkness of abstraction the Hungarian doctor of medicine, Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933) - which I was hearing once again.

III Unfoldings

What follows is a brief sketch for a psychoanalytic ancestor lineage for Laing, Hamilton and Rosenberg, before amplification of how the independent minds in British psychoanalysis, of whom Laing was a part, influenced, in an indirect and experiential way, Rosenberg and his colleagues while forming the art of Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP).

Laing was in psychoanalytic training (1956-1960) with Charles Rycroft (1914-1998), who was analysed by Sylvia Payne (1880-1976), who received her analysis from Hans Sachs (1881-1947) who, in the first place, was analysed by Sigmund Freud (1853-1939). Laing was in supervision with D.W.Winnicott (1896-1971) and Marion Milner (1900-1993). Winnicott was first by James Strachey(1885-1967) and later by Joan Rivière (1883-1961) in analysis. Both of them received their initiation directly from Freud. Rivière was later in analysis for a while with Ernest Jones (1879-1958) and Ferenczi. Milner was first in analysis with Payne and then W.Cliffort M.Scott (1903-1995) and in supervision with Melanie Klein (1882-1960) and Rivière.

Klein was, of course, in analysis with Frenczi and later in Berlin with Karl Abraham (1877-1925), both of whom received their analysis from Freud. Abraham also trained Charles Odier (1888-1954), who had Lacan (1901-1981) in training. Lacan received his first analysis from Rudolf Loewenstein ( 1898-1976), when he was in Paris (coming from Lodz/Poland). Loewenstein was a one-time lover of Princess Marie Bonaparte (1982-1962) the founder of psychoanalysis in France, and had worked under Sachs in Berlin.

Hamilton was in analysis with Laing, and in apprenticeship with John Bowlby (1907-1990), when she trained as a psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic. The clinical seminars given by Winnicott during the last two years of his life (1969-1970) 'remain an unforgettable experience'.4 Bowlby gained his PhD. under Cyril Burt (1883-1971) at UCL, and in 1946 was appointed Head of the Children’s Clinic at the Tavistock. He was in analysis for seven years with Rivière.

Rosenberg trained as doctor of dental surgery, and has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. As a student counsellor he participated in encounter groups at the Esalen Institute, where he subsequently trained with Robert Hall MD, founder of the Lomai School of Somatic Psychotherapy, and Fritz Perls (1893-1970) in Gestalt-therapy. He trained as a Reichian Therapist with Phil Cucurudo. He also took workshops with Alexander Lowen (*1910), who had trained with Reich. Being in Big Sur, he also learned "Structural Integration","Breathing and Moving Yoga" and other facets of the humanistic psychology movement.5 Jack Lee Rosenberg needed to bring the insights of Victoria Hamilton, "who did so much for me, but did not say very much during a session (just like Winnicott)", to his body. Without a body experience there could not and would be no integration of insight.6

vFritz Perls was briefly in analysis with Karen Horney (1885-1952) and later with Clara Happel, a student of Horney's. It was Horney who told Perls to seek out Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) 'For he would be the only analyst who could get through to him'.7 Honouring this tip, Perls entered analysis with Reich, 'who was the first man I could trust'. Horney trained with Abraham in Berlin. Together with Hans Sachs (who had studied Law, and was "a secret committee ring carrier" and was, with Otto Rank (1884-1939), the only one without a medical degree) she designed a psychoanalytic training program. She was on good terms with Georg Groddeck (1866-1934) her mentor and informal therapist, who for his part, was a close mate of and the physician of Ferenczi. Wilhelm Reich wanted to be treated by Freud, who refused to see Viennese students - which Reich was. So Reich went first to Isidor Sadger (1876-1942) an early co-struggler with Freud, and later to Paul Federn (1871-1950) for analysis. He had a flat in Berggasse, where he also saw patients, as close to where the action was. Freud did refer patients to this very bright and talented 22-year-old medical student in 1920. Sandor Ferenczi appreciated Reich's work and theoretical reflections in 'Characteranalyses' very much.8

IV Second answer

Now lets go back from Vienna to London, as memory always gets there in the end.

For it was in 1920, that Hugh Crichton-Miller, MD. (1877-1959), founded the Institute of Medical Psychology, in Tavistock Square, London, (whence its name) known world wide as "The Tavistock Clinic" whose first medical director he was till 1933. This very innovative outpatient clinic was run by a group of dedicated doctors, psychologists and social workers, who were inspired by the "New Psychology", originating in Vienna (Freud) and Zurich (Bleuler, Jung). H.V.Dicks in his "50 Years of the Tavistock Clinic", writes:

This distinctive 'mix' was in the fourfold aim of understanding and treatment, the furthering of research into causation in the hope of finding rational means of prevention in mental hygiene, and on teaching the emerging concepts and skills to future specialists as well as to all those, medical and non-medical, concerned with mental health and human relations.9

In 1947, Dr. John D.Sutherland (1905-1991), from Edinburgh, was appointed to become the third medical director of the Tavistock Clinic, a position he held until 1968. While active in Edinburgh University, teaching psychology, Sutherland went into analysis with Dr.Ronald Fairbairn (1989-1964), Scotland's first psychoanalyst. Together with Klein and Winnicott, Fairbairn was one of the founders of the "object-relations" approach to psychoanalysis, which bases personality and character development on the experience of the infant in her or his early relationships -- both in quality- and quantity- patterns ­- within the family. Fairbairn's contributions to Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy were original, both in practice and theory, without his having undergone the normal psychoanalytic training routine. In 1946, he published his seminal essay, "Object-relationships and dynamic structure". Glasgow University's first professor of Psychiatry, T.F.Rodger (1907-1978), a friend of Fairbairn's, had appointed two young and bright MD's, MacNiven and Thomas Freeman, who had trained at the Tavistock Institute 1950-1952, and was an enthusiastic researcher into 'schizophrenia'. As Professor of Psychiatry, Rodger was also medical director of the Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital.

R.D.Laing studied medicine at Glasgow University from 1945-1951. At the Gartnavel Hospital, Laing trained as a psychiatrist and joined the 'Schizophrenia research unit', headed by Freeman. Together with John L. Cameron and Andrew MacGhie, Laing wrote up his first experiment in interpersonal relations research ("Patient and Nurse"1955.)

While practising in this mental hospital, he began collecting cases and writing them up. These writings became the basis for his two books (first conceived as one) The Divided Self (1960) and The Self and Others (1961). Freeman, Cameron and MacGhie published their own book Chronic Schizophrenia (1958) with a foreword by Anna Freud (1895-1982).

It was John Sutherland who, having asked Rodger to suggest a few names of bright and talented psychiatrists, decided to invite Laing, who was one of those fortunate enough be mentioned, to come down from Glasgow to London, to train on a grant as a psychoanalyst and, at the same time join the staff at the Tavistock Clinic, as a registrar, which Laing did from 1956-1960. Until he left the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in 1964, Laing was active in the family communications research field. Dicks features Ronald Laing

…who also obtained a Foundation Found grant on completing his senior registrarship and his psychoanalytic training with us...Laing's work in pathological family process not only consisted of vivid observation of schizophrenic families, but also laid the foundations of a new method of recording interactions. which resulted in a book by Philipson, Lee and himself - Interpersonal Perception.10

It was here at the Tavistock, that Laing also met John Bowlby, who later became an important influence in the formative training years of Victoria Hamilton, aiming to become a Child Psychotherapist, (as such registered with the UKCP in 1999). Even when studying for a doctorate at the Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London, in 1985, Hamilton enjoyed "many informal discussions with Dr. John Bowlby until his death in 1990; he provided encouragement, interest, and support throughout the study. He was particularly taken with the idea of psychoanalytic cultures, the title he favoured for the book."11 She however titled this piece of empirical research, The Analyst's Preconscious.

Let's hear what Laing had said about Bowlby:

Bowlby told me that a sane society depended on the sanity of its members which was very much likely to be affected by a wholesome early life and a wholesome relationship with the mothering, or care taking person...Bowlby I think saw me as a very bright young man and one that he had great hopes for but was always a bit anxious about the wild side of me, or another side of me that he didn't understand. By the wild side I mean an intellectual wild side, which to him was phenomenology and this existentialism...
But at the same time, over a period of years in repeated seminars and in terms of research designs that I proposed - the interpersonal perception design and the outcome study in Napsbury and Shenly - I influenced Bowlby a lot. ' Intervention in Social Situations' was another influence on him.

Bowlby is one of the founders of the "attachment theory", which elaborates and explains the way in which we, as infants, establish ties with our mother or primary care givers and explores the consequences of this tie being disrupted or lost. One can also loose ones motherland, through the necessity of fleeing persecution or destruction, as we all are aware of, in the history of those painful years between 1931-1945, when fascism and criminal mass destruction reigned through government in Europe. One of the many who had to flee Hungary was Michael Balint (1896-1970) who, together with his wife Enid, left Budapest in 1939. In his suitcase he brought his friend's and teacher's last manuscript to Manchester and later to London. It was Sandor Ferenczi's The Clinical Journal from 1932.

Balint trained first with Hans Sachs in Berlin (1920-24). Once back in Budapest continued his psychoanalytic education with Ferenczi. Balint is one of the pioneers of psychosomatic medicine. In 1947 he began work at the Tavistock, as a member in the "Family discussion bureau". In 1950 he started what became know as 'Balint-group', a forum for general practitioners in which they could discuss cases from their practice paying special attention to psychological interaction with their patients. As Ferenczi's literary executor, Balint became very influential. He had his own strong voice going in his book: The Basic Fault. Therapeutic Aspects of Regression (1968). Laing, of course, knew him and his work, concerning "the basic fault" - which created, in Laing's words, "ontological insecurity".

V Interlude

Joan Rivière mentions Freud's simplicity, which was a familiar characteristic to those who knew him. Real psychoanalysis is an uninterrupted sequence of concrete experience. Rivière mentions how in her analysis, Freud one day made an interpretation, and she responded to it with an objection. Freud is reported to have said: "It is unconscious". Rivière was overwhelmed by the realisation that she knew nothing about it. She experienced Freud as someone who did establish an instantaneous direct relation to his interpersonal perception. Was he not practising a sort of relaxing "soul therapy"? Freud encouraged Ferenczi to relax in sympathy with his patients, and to discover the sagacity of the body, as the soul's vessel. As therapists, we perceive with the whole of our own embodiment and the whole of our (own) past, what the patient brings to us, as what is the case and what is not the case in what is the matter with her or him. This Ferenczi called a "relaxed active therapy stance". Rycroft once remarked that perhaps Winnicott's most important contribution to psychoanalysis was his concept of "a transitional reality…which mediates between the private world of dreams and the public, shared world of the environment."13

Another point of note, in the gathering together of the strands of this time, is that Melanie Reizes grew round and healthy before marrying Arthur Klein (1878-1938) in 1903 in Rosenberg. Today this place is called Ruzomberak in Slovakia.14 The newly married couple travelled to Zurich, where Arthur had studied chemical engineering, and then on to Constanz on the same named lake, not far from where I live now in St.Gallen. Returning home they settled in Rosenberg, a principal town, with about 8000 inhabitants, in the Hungarian province of Liptau.

On March 5th, 1952, Bowlby and his research assistant James Robertson, a social worker who had worked with Anna Freud at the Hampstead Nurseries during the war, showed their film, A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital, at the Tavistock Institute. In the film they illustrate how, "during an eight-day stay, the child undergoes a typical sequence of responses varying from distressful protest through despair to brief episodes of detachment...Anna Freud approved the observational approach and endorsed the view that the distress was due to the absence of Mother, but the Kleinians disagreed."15 I was born that very same day. Is not our capacity for symbol-making our basis for creativity?

Also in 1952, Fairbairn wrote his piece, "Theoretical and experimental aspects of psychoanalysis", wherein he claims that psychoanalysis is a valid experimental method, by using his fresh concepts of relations with internal objects and their projection in the transference on the analyst or therapist. The interaction between the two persons engaged in this endeavour can then be dealt with entirely in terms of "Here and Now" phenomena. From 1950 on Fairbairn went to a regular discussion gathering at the Davidson Clinic in Edinburgh, established (1939) and run by Dr. Winifred Rushforth (1885-1983), a Jungian Analyst, who had Vera von der Heydt (1899-1996) on her staff, and who, in 1973 was to be my first Jungian Analyst. Laing also had some sporadic contact with Rushforth.16

Rycroft has written a book on Reich for the Modern Masters series, to which Laing contributed the chapter Why is Reich Never Mentioned? in: On W.Reich & Orgonomy and reviewed The Function of Orgasm, The Sexual Revolution, Character Analysis, Selected Writings (in 1968), and concludes: "Reich has left us a vivid record of part of his adventure. We would be wise to study it with care. I for one have been instructed."17

Jack Gaines interviewed Rosenberg for his memoir on "Fritz Perls-Here and Now". Jack said, "I was thirty then, an established professional and well thought of, and I couldn't get up and kiss girls and dance around. Fritz was doing it, and that kind of gave me permission to do it. I started to try it. Man, it was like I had permission to be alive because he was alive."18

When Bob Mullan asked Laing about Fritz Perls, this is what he said:

As far as Perls was concerned, he looked us up in Kingsley Hall and came along one evening. and he was in tears while there. I didn't meet him in detail and, when I was over in Esalen for the first time, Perls was around and again we never clicked at a personal level. He was a character that I didn't take to. By this time he was playing the role of some sort of liberated secular rabbi who had a great propensity for pawing and making physical contact with any woman in sight...

The elements that have gone into the practice of Gestalt were things that were a codification of awareness that I took for granted, you might say, in my awareness. The 'empty chair' technique, for example, and I suppose the overlap between Gestalt and Moreno's psychodrama. I mean, that just seemed like a thimble compared to what I felt was the real thing that went on in mental hospitals and the PA houses. Twenty-four-hour living. Perls' main clients seemed to be psychotherapists themselves.19

In October 1971, Leon Redler (1936-), a colleague of Laing's, interviewed Vicky Hamilton for her account of Kinsley Hall, the PA Network, and herself. The interview is in two parts, and, written up, runs to 33 pages. It is presently archived in the R.D.Laing Special Collection, Glasgow University Library. The first lecture of Laing's that Hamilton attended, in the winter 1966, was about orient-ation, about looking to the Orient. It was all completely new to her. She wrote

It’s very strange because the first time I'd come across Ronnie's name was in this bookshop, Dillon’s University Bookshop. And I picked it up because I saw this name Laing, which is a Scottish name and actually was the name of our village shop...but I just turned over the pages of this book Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964) and the word 'schizophrenic' jumped out and that finished that book for me. And so, but later on when James introduced me to Laing.20

Living, writing, painting in Glasgow, Hamilton, then 21 years old, came across a book called "A Life of One's Own" by Joanna Field, pseudonym of Marion Milner, who wrote about writing down whatever comes to mind in a Journal. She later came down to London, studied Philosophy at UCL and worked part time as an art-therapist in a mental hospital.

Redler: Did you see Kingsley Hall as a place where you yourself might have occasion to go at any point, to live?

Hamilton: I did think of going there twice and I think it was important to me really, because I always felt there was somewhere to go if things go too difficult or too unmanageable. If things could not be contained in my analysis, I think I felt I could go enabling sort of environment...and the first person I really knew there was Noel (Cobb). I began to visit there quite regularly...everything was so free, I mean a whole lot of stuff, which appealed because I was so hung-up myself at the time. I think probably now I might have a rather different prospective on it all. I think now I've become more doubtful about the value of getting involved in acting out, I mean take screaming for example. I just feel that that might be quite a relief, but I don't feel it would really get one through whatever one was really screaming about.

I was most on the fringes of Kingsley Hall and felt frightened of it in the way I have described, and it was very much mediated through my feelings about Ronnie and my analysis with him. But I think that after the summer of 1967 'The Dialectics of Liberation Congress' time, was the time of great change for me, because during those two weeks, that was the first social context in which I felt really happy...Ronnie would see how I was out of analysis, how I conducted myself in the outside world...I mean Ronnie was the most central figure in Kingsley Hall, and everybody projected onto him...

Ronnie was the only person that was elected to be free and able to say anything which occurred to him. He generally was the most interesting person there, because he was the only person who was being himself in any way...Because part of the projection was whether he would approve or disapprove, people could just feel completely destroyed if he attacked them or criticized them... and its all a complete waste of time, in as much as that was the guiding rule of my behaviour. Ronnie never criticized me or did anything in public the faintest bit like that. I could at least go and talk what I felt about and it could be analysed and the transference could be analysed.(Ibid)

She got herself together, came into her own, got her voice going in a most refreshing way. She separated from Ronnie, and never ever mentions, in her two books that she was in Psychoanalysis with him.

Jack Rosenberg told me that Vicky Hamilton never mentioned her experience with Laing, and he didn't know of her two books, published during the 19 years he was in analysis and supervision with her, until I told him so.

VI Approaches and Concepts

IBP was founded and developed by Rosenberg together with Diana Asay, a Jungian Analyst, and Marjorie Rand, Ph.D.and first presented as a therapeutic form in their book: Body, Self and Soul - Sustaining Integration. (1985) IBP's approach is a holistic one, taking body, self and soul as inseparable aspects of our being human. It focuses on the somatic, emotional, social, and spiritual energetic experience, and the way these are expressed in relationships through words and embodiment. The basic concepts used in this therapeutic style are: Body-awareness, Core or True Self, Breath, Grounding, Containment, Boundaries, Fragmentation and Reframing-composition, Issue of Sexuality, Current Situation, Here and Now, Transference and Counter transference in the therapeutic relationship. The concepts of Secret Themes, Character Style, (other) Agency and Self Agency were developed later with Beverly Morse Ph.D. Release of tension and transpersonal aspects round off the "core bug". The aim is to create a greater and smoother sense of wholeness both within oneself, with others and existentially with the cosmic powers that be.

Victoria Hamilton mostly orients herself in the use of the concepts from attachment theory and object-relations theory. Interpersonal interactions, the child's ability to experience him/herself as an effective and affective agent in the world, are using objects to create direct links/connection from inner world (dreams, phantasies, imaginations) to the reality of the shared outside world. Pathological behaviour and experience is only intelligible in its social context. She makes use of G.Bateson’s cybernetic explanations, using central concepts such as: feedback, patterning, redundancy, and predictability in communication specific to the context of the transference relationship in an analytic setting. Following Balint and Winnicott she uses the concept of primary object-love and primary affectional bonds, good enough environment with interactional synchronicity and mutuality, transitional schemas, agency, the analyst's preconscious and her/his interpretive practices. Hers is a pluralistic approach, as distinct from relativism. She differentiates and compares therapist's sentences of faith while practicing and their publicly declared ideological orientation. The holding and containing therapeutic environment, the therapist's models of Change, and the 'Reparative Process', are some more core concepts she uses.

Throughout her published work, she has mentioned R.D.Laing four times, always in relation to Winnicott, Balint, Klein, Milner and others.

Laing’s major concepts are as follows: Interpersonal experience, process and praxis, intelligibility, ontological insecurity (engulfment, implosion, petrification and depersonalisation), the embodied and unembodied self, the false-self-system, authenticity and inauthenticity, alienation and mystification, self-consciousness, modes of interpersonal experience (phantasy, communication, pretence and elusion, the counterpoint), forms of interpersonal action (complementary identity, confirmation and disconfirmation, collusion, false and untenable positions, attributions and injunctions), primary data and family scenario (operations, rules and metarules, mapping), dual unity and ego-boundary, the tie and the cut-off, embryologems, psychologems, mythologems, recession and regression, procession and progression, transgression, mystical experience and liberation..

It has often been asked, what would make a 'Laingian therapy'? Confronting what is there, in behaviour and experience, to test the shared reality. Laing has never been satisfied with using a single term to connote his own therapeutic style. As we know he was, like Hamilton and Rosenberg, very eclectic, making use of existential, psychoanalytic, gestalt, bio-and autorhythmia, hatha-yoga, Zen, and other healing arts. He practiced being in company in an undivided attention, clarification, reframing, co-presence, cultivated intuition, spontaneity and sensibility. Laing never presented a model, like Rosenberg has managed to do. In a way we get something back to Europe from an ancestral spirit, who made the effort to connect free-floating sides and varieties of the same which are not alike, and simplified, tuned in those different plays and base melodies, in to a chorus form.

In summarising his work for the Oxford companion to the Mind, Laing wrote succinctly:

There is so much that goes on between us which we can never know. The necessity of this ignorance, and the impossibility of any satisfactory criteria of decidability when it comes to the validation of particular attributions of a personal and interpersonal order, have led those who wish to cultivate the art of the soluble to abandon this area of uncertainty and enigmas. However, this domain does not evaporate because the objective look does not see it. The great divide between fact and feelings is a product of our own schizoid construction. In reality, the reason of the heart and the physiology of the brain coexist and must be interdependent. We cannot construe this reality, however. We cannot explain it, much less can we understand it.21

Nevertheless, what we can do is to live and let us be lived, cultivate a method of reflexivity, to see how I 'see', to depict my way of seeing, feeling, thinking, dreaming and to live my answer through my soul's embodiment. After all is said and done, make your Self a vessel, to float in the river of life, towards the ocean of eternal being.

VII Signification

My attempt here is to disclose and/or to reveal a way of looking at 'psyche's phenomena', which enables what each contributor brings to the gathering, to be seen in connection. Basically, I want to know: how did I get here? Where did I come from? What am I still here for? Where do I go from here? What help are these mutative interpretations of experience? For is it not our professional longing to reach a key position on the threshold of a mature adult life, to muse on the checkpoint of possibilities, aiming to be in on the act of becoming conscious of being in resonance, with what, for another word, we call God or Goddess? This moment releases energy and libidinal gratification. That’s why, our sweet psychoanalytic ancestor in Hungary, Sandor Ferenczi, has encouraged us to practice active intervention, for as patients we are in need of immediate emotional experiences, in the actual presence in a shared reality with the therapist, appropriate and sufficient to the present situation. Ferenczi called this being active in-junction, to hold onto the twofold sense of touching and being touched by trauma - and accessing our resources.22

The therapist witnessing this emotional tremor creates a liveable and healing symbol of kindness and wisdom, which activates a fresh ordering, or to use another word, integration.

The archetype of 'the healer' aids unity in the soul. For me it was a revelation to read in Ferenczi's clinical journal about the concept of fragmentation and re-union, something that is practiced with a tender thoroughness by Jack Lee Rosenberg, Beverly Kitaen Morse and Marjorie Rand. Without sympathy, no healing. That's our path. Living our health and no longer aim or beg for health to be administered to us.

Further themes to explore in this field of soul making are: "Healer heal thyself & Shaman initiation/calling illness and its transformation," and "Morphic fields and Morphogenetic Resonance in the Unfolding of a Deep Psychotherapeutic Tradition or Culture," (with special reference to the work of Rupert Sheldrake (1942-).


1 Ted Hughes in Sagar K. 2000, p.xi
2 John Clay 1996, p.156
3 Victoria Hamilton, 1993,
4 Victoria Hamilton, 1993, p.vii
5 Jack Lee Rosenberg, 1993, p.183-186
6 Personal communication.
7 Fritz Perls in Clarkson and Mackewn 1995, p.26-27; Karen Horney in Rubins JL 1980, p.12
8 Wilhelm Reich in Sharaf M 1994, p.103
9 Tavistock Clinic in Dicks HV 1970, p.1
10 Ibid, p.243
11 Hamilton V 1995, p.viii
12 Laing in Mullan B 1995, p.156-158
13 Rycroft in Jacobs M 1995, p.136
14 Rosenberg Austria in Grosskurth P 1987, p.40
15 Grosskurth 1987, p.403
16 Rushforth in Mullan B. 1995, p.64; Laing, A. 1997, p.178; Vera von der Heydt 1976, p.xiii
17 Wilhelm Reich in Laing 1968, p.6
18 Jack Rosenberg in Gaines J 1979, p.173
19 Laing in Mullan B 1995, p.212-13, 348
20 Collection Dept.Univ.of Glasgow, R.D.Laing Collection, Call Nr.L192/1 +192/2
21 Laing in Gregory RL 1987, p.418
22 Ferenczi 1988, p.98-99


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I like to thank Noel Cobb for his helpful linguistic corrections.


Theodor Itten
This article originally published in chapter form,
as "From R.D. Laing to Jack Lee Rosenberg" in: Jack Lee Rosenberg - Celebrating a Master Psychotherapist. IBP-Books, St.Gallen S.54-70

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