Book Review : ' The Divided Self '

1625 Words Apr 8th, 2015 7 Pages
Shannon Mahoney
Psych 203
Dr. Daniel Burston

In R.D Laing’s book The Divided Self, the author goes in depth into the concepts of sanity and madness from a psychological standpoint. The book itself contains a very detailed depiction of these through the analysis of different schizoid and schizophrenic characteristics, different patient case histories, and the approach of existential-phenomenology ideology. In The Divided Self, Laing displays criticism and slight disdain toward different psychological concepts, such as behaviorism. Laing begins by pointing out how most standard texts on the topic of analyzing a patient describes traditionally observed behavior by a psychologist or psychiatrist, and the behavior of said behavior is just a similar extension of the behavior of the psychological professional in the same behavioral field. Laing simplifies it down to, “the standard psychiatric patient is a function of the standard psychiatrist, and of the standard mental hospital.” This quote bases the scenario in a fashion where a comparative system is put in place to diagnose people with different psychological illnesses, who are sick in a medical sense. Behavioral psychiatrists ultimately view a single part of the patient’s body system, or even to the body as a whole, to help explain different possible psychological phenomenon. Laing includes the example of a doctor predicting that an individual is anxious due to him having high blood pressure or a slightly higher…

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