Friday, 1 January 2016

Laing and Esterson. 5. The Edens. 50 years on. Hilary Mantel and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 226 (26 June 2016)

R. D. Laing

Hilary Mantel
Aaron Esterson

Laing and Esterson

Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
Family 5: The Edens

Dame Hilary Mantel
Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 226
Sunday 26 June 2016
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hilary Mantel
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, there has been no shift: the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists (even ‘existential’ ones) tend to be more ‘clinical’ than ever.

Laing and Esterson wrote: ‘Nobody can deny us the right to disbelieve in schizophrenia.’ But most psychiatrists and psychotherapists falsely allege that Laing and Esterson said: ‘Families cause schizophrenia’.

Dame Hilary Mantel wrote that the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Estersons book gave her, at 20, the courage to write her own 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.

Ruby Edenis one of only two still living of the eleven so-called schizophrenics. Today, we explore the history of Ruby Eden’ and her family in the light of Stadlens discussions with Ruby and her family.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857   +44 (0) 7809 433 250    E-mail:
For further information on seminars, visit:

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

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