Discover a pathway to joy. The Art and Science of Mindfulness, Compassion and Awe starts August 11.


R.D. Laing in the 21st Century: What is Authenticity? Week of July 14-19, 2019

View general pricing information  

This workshop's start date has passed.

Workshop Details

One of R. D. Laing’s most seminal influences was the existential philosophical tradition, especially Sartre, Heidegger and Nietzsche. The core principle that binds these disparate thinkers together is the concept of authenticity. There is no better term to characterize Dr. Laing’s ethical approach to clinical intervention. We will devote our five days together to exploring what it means to be authentic. What is the relationship between authenticity and ethics? The self? Happiness? Can the search for authenticity drive us mad, or make us sane? Is authenticity something we can strive for, or is it innate? Is authenticity inherently narcissistic, or a way of genuinely coming into one’s own?

This workshop, designed for those seeking answers to the most existential aspects of human nature, is a continuation of our previous Esalen workshops that focused on Dr. Laing’s relation to the nature of sanity and madness, the therapeutic relationship, altered states and love. Workshop leaders will be joined by co-presenters (most of whom worked intimately with Dr. Laing) to assess the question of authenticity at the most basic level. The workshop will be comprised of theoretical presentations, panel discussions and experiential exercises to demonstrate practical aspects of Dr. Laing’s legacy. Guest speakers include Douglas Kirsner, Edie Irwin, Will Hall, Michael Cornwall, Dina Tyler, Chuck Knapp and others. Note: Participants must first contact Michael Thompson at for pre-screening.

Recommended Reading: Capra, The Systems View of Life; Gage and Wolf, Soul Whispering: The Art of Awakening Shamanic Consciousness; Thompson, The Death of Desire.

For detailed program schedule, see

CE credit for MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs;
CE credit for nurses;


We offer a rich and varied integral learning environment devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.


Experience twenty-seven acres of Pacific coastline paradise.


Make a difference and leave a legacy by becoming a Friend of Esalen.


A global network of seekers devoted to the belief that we are all capable of the extraordinary.


Stay connected. Keep your Esalen experience alive, online or in person.

Campus Renewal

Join us on the journey of Renewal.