R. D. Laing

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Ronald David Laing was a Glasgow-born psychiatrist. He was a gifted analyst who conducted extensive research on a variety of mental illnesses, including psychosis and schizophrenia. He pioneered his own path in the field of psychiatry by basing his diagnosis and treatment on his patients’ expressed emotions. This was a truly unique approach, as such patients were previously treated exclusively with drugs and other conventional methods such as electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy, and insulin coma therapy. This eminent therapist consistently advocated for the use of interpersonal therapy in the treatment of mentally ill patients. He stated that the patient must be allowed to speak freely with the analyst, and the analyst must spend time conversing with the affected individual; all of this must occur in a social setting. While he was a student of medicine, he also mastered Greek and Latin. He was also well-versed in the classics and proficient in music. Apart from being a psychiatrist, Laing was drawn to philosophy. He studied the works of illustrious philosophers such as Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Kierkegaard during his formative years. However, this extraordinary personality had a turbulent personal life.

Childhood & Adolescence

David Park McNair Laing and Amelia Glen Laing (n e Kirkwood) had only one son, Ronald David Laing.
He began his primary education in 1932 at Glasgow’s Sir John Neilson Cuthbertson Public School.

He attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School from 1936 to 1945, where he excelled academically.

He studied medicine at the University of Glasgow from 1945 to 1951. He became an active member of the university’s Mountaineering and Debating clubs during his time there.

Career of R. D. Laing

He served as an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1951 to 1953. He was initially admitted to the British Army Psychiatric Unit at Netley, near Southampton, before being transferred to the Catterick Military Hospital in Yorkshire.

He left the army in 1953 and completed his psychiatric training at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital, where he became Scotland’s ‘youngest consultant.’

He established the “Rumpus Room” while working at Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital. Both staff and schizophrenic patients were required to dress normally in this setting and spend time in a comfortable environment. They were allowed to participate in normal activities such as cooking and art in order to interact with the staff in a social setting. As a result, the analyst observed noticeable changes in their behavior.

Laing qualified as a psychiatrist on January 1, 1956, and immediately began work on his renowned book, ‘The Divided Self,’ which was published in 1960.

He then became a senior registrar at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where he studied the families of schizophrenics. This research served as the foundation for the 1964 book ‘Sanity, Madness, and the Family.’

In 1965, he co-founded and served as chairman of the Philadelphia Association in the United Kingdom. He collaborated on the Kingsley Hall project with Aaron Esterton, David Cooper, and others. This experimental community was unique in that it allowed schizophrenics to work their way out of their psychoses without resorting to surgical, electroconvulsive, or drug treatments. The project, however, came to an end in 1970.

In March 1971, Laing traveled to Sri Lanka with his family to learn the Buddhist art of meditation. They then traveled to India, where he studied Sanskrit and met Govinda Lama, Timothy Leary’s and Richard Alpert’s guru.

He published his autobiography, ‘Wisdom, Madness, and Folly’, in February 1985.

In January 1988, he was forced to close his practice due to clinical depression and alcoholism.

Significant Works of R. D. Laing

In 1960, R. D. Laing published his eponymous book “The Divided Self.” Though the book’s initial sales were disappointing, it received positive reviews. It was reprinted by Penguin Books in 1965 and immediately became a bestseller.

This brilliant psychiatrist published “The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise” in 1967, which was hailed as his most “commercially successful book.”

Personal History and Legacies

R. D. Laing, also known as ‘Ronnie,’ fathered ten children through four different women. He had a total of six sons and four daughters.

The eminent psychiatrist died of a heart attack in France while playing tennis.

Estimated Net Worth

RD is one of the richest Psychologist & listed on most popular Psychologist. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, RD Laing net worth is approximately $1.5 Million.


This Scottish psychiatrist and analyst, best known for his book ‘The Divided Self,’ made the astonishing claim that he remembered his birth moment.