Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
Family 7: The Golds
Dame Hilary Mantel Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 233
Sunday 12 February 2017
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
‘We believe that the shift of point of view that these descriptions both embody and demand has an historical significance no less radical than the shift from a demonological to a clinical viewpoint three hundred years ago.’
Thus, in Sanity, Madness and the Family: Families of Schizophrenics (1964), R. D. Laing and Aaron Esterson introduced their revolutionary descriptions of eleven families of ‘schizophrenics’. But fifty years on, the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. Have Laing and Esterson been proved wrong? They wrote: ‘Nobody can deny us the right to disbelieve in schizophrenia.’ Why, then, do most psychiatrists and psychotherapists claim Laing and Esterson said ‘families cause schizophrenia’?
Hilary Mantel wrote that ‘the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Esterson’s book gave her, at 20, the courage to write her own astonishing books. Her introductions to the seminars in this series have enthralled participants.
Anthony Stadlen continues to interview the eleven families in the twenty-first century. Today, we explore Chapter 7, on ‘Ruth Gold’ and her family, in the light of his discussions with Ruth’s family. We shall play extracts from Esterson’s original tape-recordings from the early 1960s of Esterson’s and Laing’s interviews with the family as well as from Stadlen’s recordings of his own twenty-first-century interviews with Ruth’s brother and his wife. We shall view old and new family photographs. Your contribution to the discussion will be welcomed.
Venue: Durrants Hotel,
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water, Durrants rock included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A
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