@Writers, Life Achievements and Life
R. D. Laing born at
R. D. Laing, also known as ‘Ronnie’, was the father of ten children through his relationships with four women. He had six sons and four daughters in all.
The celebrated psychiatrist suffered a heart attack while playing tennis in France.
Ronald David Laing was the only son of David Park McNair Laing and Amelia Glen Laing (n�e Kirkwood).
In 1932, he began his primary education at Sir John Neilson Cuthbertson Public School, in Glasgow, the place of his birth.
From 1936 to 1945, he studied at Hutcheson's' Grammar School, where he excelled in academics.
From 1945 to 1951, he went to the University of Glasgow to study medicine. Here, he became an important member of the university’s Mountaineering Club and the Debating Club.
From 1951 to 1953, he served the Royal Army Medical Corps as an officer. He was initially sent to the British Army Psychiatric Unit, Netley, near Southampton, before being posted to the Military Hospital at Catterick, Yorkshire.
In 1953, he left the army and completed his psychiatric training at the Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital in Glasgow, where he became the ‘youngest consultant’ in Scotland.
While working at Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital, he set up the “Rumpus Room”. In this setting, both the staff and schizophrenic patients wore normal clothes, and were made to spend time in a comfortable atmosphere. They were allowed to get involved in normal activities like cooking and art, so that they could respond to the staff in a social environment. As a result, the analyst noted significant improvements in their behavior.
On the January 1, 1956, Laing qualified as a psychiatrist, and started working on his renowned book, ‘The Divided Self’, which was published in 1960.
Subsequently, he joined the Tavistock Clinic in London as senior registrar and studied the families of schizophrenics. This research formed the basis for the book ‘Sanity, Madness and the Family’, published in 1964.
R. D. Laing published his famed book “The Divided Self’ in 1960. Though the initial sales of the book were poor, it did receive encouraging reviews. It was reprinted in 1965 by Penguin Books, and this time, it became an instant bestseller.
In 1967, this brilliant psychiatrist came out with “The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise” which was rated as his most ‘commercially successful book’.