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R.D. Laing in the Twenty-First Century: What Are Altered Realities? Week of July 16-21, 2017

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Workshop Details

Scottish-born psychiatrist R. D. Laing devoted his career to exploring the nature of alternative realities and heightened awareness. In this year’s workshop, designed for those in the mental health and healing professions, we will explore the nature of altered realities, including extreme states. To alter a state of awareness suggests a catalyst, an instrumentum employed to initiate a transformation in consciousness, whether by invoking mindfulness, yoga, meditation, breath work, or imbibing a drug, whether psychedelic or psychotropic. But such states also occur spontaneously, such as when falling in love, losing one’s temper, slipping in and out of equanimity, or madness, or fear. This year we plan to explore all the literature on these possible transformations of reality together, and more.
The leaders will be joined by a dozen co-presenters (most of whom worked intimately with Laing) to assess the nature of transformative states, for good or ill, and how to best utilize them. The workshop will be comprised of theoretical presentations, panels on the history of psychedelic drugs, as well as experiential exercises to demonstrate the kind of transformative experience for which Laing’s work was famous. Guest speakers include Ralph Metzner, Nita Gage, Douglas Kirsner, Will Hall, and others.
Note: participants must first contact Michael Thompson at for pre-screening.
Recommended readings: Thompson, The Death of Desire: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness; Capra and Luisi, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision; Metzner, Ecology of Consciousness.
CE credit for nurses;
CE credit for MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs;


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