On this day: October 7

RD Laing was controversial for his time.

RD Laing was controversial for his time.

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1927

Scottish psychologist and philosopher RD Laing (Ronald David Laing) beside a portrait of himself by Victoria Crowe at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh February 1985.

Scottish psychologist and philosopher RD Laing (Ronald David Laing) beside a portrait of himself by Victoria Crowe at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh February 1985.

Controversial psychiatrist Ronald David Laing was born in Glasgow.

Influenced by Freud and Marx, he earned a doctorate in 1951 from Glasgow University.

Laing gained his notoriety through his theory that schizophrenia was a sane reaction to an insan world ­ rather than a genetic or chemically based illness. He also theorized that pyschotic episodes, experienced by schizophrenics, could be naturally healing if they occurred under the supervision of a therapist.

His work rejected treatments such as electroshock and straitjackets, in favour of radical new ones involving the use of drugs such as LSD and marijuana. The strains of family life, he suggested, were to blame for the formentation of schizophrenia ­ a view which earned him an antifamily reputation.

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