R.D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love


Roberta Russell with RD Laing

Published in 1992,  Hillgarth Press , Lake Placid, NY, Shinyosha (in Japanese, 1994) Ediciones de la Flor (in Spanish, 1995) Editora Siciliano (in Portuguese, 1997)

Now available though Roberta Russell at russellk100@gmail.com

Available for download at the
 Columbia University Academic Commons.

also available for free download in



& Portuguese

or call 917 693 6224

Hardcover: $25.95, Paperback: $16.95

photo collage by Harold Krieger

An Invitation to the Reader

RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love by Roberta Russell with R.D. Laing is a unique book about power and love--novel verité which unfolds in the form of a "how-to" book. It offers and depicts a way in which one person can be empowered by another's attention in an intimate realm. Borrowing from the psychotherapeutic model, it guides the reader in constructing a mutually beneficial paradigm with a carefully chosen other. It is an intimate reality told and experienced at the same time. The course of discovery unfolds between the authors, Roberta Russell and R.D. Laing, as it happens. The book is "real." You will see how the authors made each other crazy in the process of creating RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love, united only by the common goal of doing a "how-to" book together that would be useful to themselves and to you. Both the unfolding of the relationship depicted in this book, and the content discussed are intended to help you to achieve your realistic goals.

The discerning reader, using the insights of psychoanalysis, will discover the nuances of communication between the authors as they wrestle the obstacles to achieve their goals. In turn, the readers are encouraged to join in this experiment with their own partner, carefully chosen on the basis of conceptual level and mutual intent, and to make of it a vitalizing experience. If you can manage to survive each other’s onslaughts, a well-matched partnership is a lot more fun and more motivating than the lone pursuit of solitary goals into further solitude. We both wish you the best of luck.

RD Laing & Roberta Russell

About the Authors:

Roberta Russell

Roberta Russell is the co-author of R. D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love with R. D. Laing, Hillgarth Press, 1992, Shinyosha (in Japanese, 1994) Ediciones de la Flor (in Spanish, 1995) Editora Siciliano (in Portuguese, 1997) and the author of Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony (Hillgarth Press, 1981, with 1994 Update) and has been a frequent contributor to Psychologie Heute (Germany).

She has written articles in, Japan Times (Japan), The Psychologist (U.K.), Human Potential Magazine (U.K.), Changes (U.K.), Clinical Psychology Forum (U.K.), Golden Age, Woman Spirit, and The Whole Person (Australia), Rainbow Network (New Zealand), Executive Female (U.S.A.), Golden Lifestyles (U.S.A.) and numerous other publications.

She is director and host of Lifetalk, a New York cable interview show featuring leaders in the social and health sciences. After working as an electronic data processing consultant/systems analyst she founded and ran R.R. Latin Associates Inc., a New York based search firm specializing in computer professionals, from 1970 until 1987.

She was a board member of the European Association of Humanistic Psychology (Geneva, Switzerland), the Education and Accreditation Committee of the National Accreditation Association and American Examining Board of Psychoanalysis, Inc. and of Women Business Owners of New York. Ms. Russell has lectured at Oxford University (U.K.), Yale University, The New School for Social Research, New York University, North Country Community College, The University of Glasgow (Scotland), Sophia University of Rome and the Third Italian Congress of Humanistic Psychology, and in universities across New Zealand and Australia. She was also a featured speaker at the International Conference on Psychotherapy of the Future, in Spain and the Healthier Living Show in Australia, the Australian Psychological Society and the New York Public Library.

Ms. Russell is the originator of Mutual Alliance Therapy Workshops which have been commended by a 1994 Social Innovations Award (U.K.). She has conducted workshops internationally for business organizations, universities and individuals. Recent appearances include, radio: WBAI (New York) and television: 5:30 Live (New Zealand) and Good Morning Australia, and Adelaide Today and Crosstalk.

Ronald David Laing

R.D. Laing was a British psychiatrist (born October 7, 1927—died August 23, 1989) who polarized the mental health community with his first book, The Divided Self (1960). He wrote 16 books (including this one) and numerous articles and poems.

"Laing's work has shaken just about everyone and everything it has touched."

"It has forced people to decide where they stand--and, implicitly, who they want to be...His work is inspiring and liberating."

" The life and energy of Laing's vision--in his practice as well as his books--creates a little more open space for the self in the world. It is this that so many respond to. In a time when the open spaces are being closed off fast, Laing can at least give us a start in the direction we need to go..."                     Marshall Berman in his front-page New York Times Book Review

"The author brings, through his vision and perception, the particular touch of genius which causes one to say 'Yes, I have always known that, why have I never thought of it before?"
Journal of Analytic Psychology
In a review of The Politics of Experience:

"Stunning...I am overpowered by the challenge he dares make to what has become a rather conventional profession."                                                                                          The New Republic

"Plumbs the roots of human existence...a highly rewarding and enriching experience."
The Library Journal

Critical Praise for:

RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love

by Roberta Russell with R. D. Laing:

"A moving account of [Russell's] relationship with R.D. Laing, the doyen of British antipsychiatry, during the 1980s. [It] creatively provoke(s) and appeal(s). ...Recommendable and might even move some in theoretical conflict with Laing to some useful self-reflection."
Geoff Fisk, M.D., British Journal of Psychiatry, February 1993

"An admirable courageous work of love and self-determination, science and romance, bonding in a high-wire act that is all the lovelier for working without a net."

Andrew Vachss, Author of Strega, Blue Belle, Candy, Shella

"An important thought-provoking teaching document which seeks to illuminate the ingredients of effective psychotherapy within the structure of friendship. ... A therapeutic romance. A valuable and extraordinary resource for university and college libraries.

Arnold Bernstein, Ph.D., A. H. P Perspective, Jan. 1993

"Fascinating to me. I enjoyed it. An interesting journey for anyone who wants to make the effort."                                                                                                                                   Sean Connery

"A personally realized and excellent example for our field. It is psychology not just about it."

James Klee, Ph.D., The Humanistic Psychologist

"A provocative account of Roberta Russell's encounter with the controversial psychiatrist. For me, this is an extremely revealing chronicle of the personal style of Laing, a man who generated great devotion as well as intense antagonism. This marvelous book explains this polarization better than anything I have ever read.

"Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Human Potential Magazine, March 1993

"A remarkable book by two remarkable people....... a fascinating self-help guide revealed in dialoguing between two powerful personalities. ... a book that will guide us all."

Rochelle L. Holt, Ph.D., The Pilot

"The 'adventure' of [Roberta Russell's] love affair with R.D. Laing. In her personality lurked a simple, tender appeal that Laing responded to, just at a time in his life... when she could see he was elegically 'immersed in the beauty of his own sadness and anger."'

Halla Belloff, Ph.D., The Scotsman

"Among my world-renowned colleagues, R.D. Laing was the one I appreciated most. I am glad that Roberta Russell through her book, R.D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love, has provided me with an occasion to be with him in spirit and enjoy his presence. In addition the book has the considerable merit of telling a very important and neglected idea; that of applying therapeutic insight, understanding and intention to a partnership relationship."

Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
Author of The Healing Journey
Fulbright Scholar, Guggenheim Fellow

One of the more unusual books to have arrived at the Counseling News office this year. Written mostly in dialogue, with the occasional explanation of a therapeutic theory or to put the conversations in context, it tells the story of the relationship between Russell and Laing... An extraordinarily honest account... I sat and read the whole book in one go (it reads like a novel). I gained a fascinating glimpse into the lives of two very unusual people and explored the interesting concept of therapy as mutual aid."

Annich McIntosh, Counselling News, September, 1992

"Marvelously provocative and very important thesis-admirably well done."

Michael Murphy, Founder Esalen Institute

"Author Roberta Russell, who produced the ground-breaking Report on Effective Psychotherapy, has achieved a fascinating analysis of R.D. Laing, written from the "inside." It's really a new kind of self-help report, or perhaps, even mutual aid, as both Laing and Russell enrich each other. The presentation style is most unusual and the writing is superb."

Frank Riessman, Ph.D.
Director of the National Self-Help Clearinghouse, Editor-in Chief, Social Policy

"Absolutely fascinating personal account of a new insightful vision of psychotherapy."

Lloyd de Mausse, Editor, Journal of Psychohistory

"Long recognized as a creative spirit. Laing has been given a new breath & vitality in Roberta Russell's prose-lyric account of her relationship with him. Two strong intellects meet on the front court, both make basket slams, spar on point, defend and offend in this tumultuous relationship... an on-edge record of wit. An excellent read, this clash between like spirits is an absolute, a must for all Laing fans and students."

Maurice Kenny, Winner of American Book Award Author, Poet, Editor

"A fascinating account of the ambiguities and paradoxes inherent in all relationships -especially those touching on love, real or imagined. R.D. Laing & Me is that rarest of publishing entities: an intelligent self-help book, one which reads like a novel. For those intrigued by the possibility of vicarious insight, I recommend an immediate reading of Roberta Russell's honest and probing story. Not the least of its many pleasures is the glimpse it offers of that charismatic infidel among the psychoanalytic ranks, R.D. Laing. A book to learn from, to argue with, and smile over."

Daphne Merkin, Author of Enchantment, Contributing Editor, The New Yorker

"R.D. Laing & Me.- Lessons in Love is an admirably honest account of one woman's search for love in the shape of R.D. Laing, the diabolical lyric muse of the psychiatric profession."

Donald Klein, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, author
Director of Psychiatric Research, New York State Psychiatric Institute

"A complex cross between a love story and a self-help book... a story of two incredibly complex individuals that makes a fascinating read from start to finish. I recommend this book for those of you not afraid to deal with the more complex issues in relationships, and for anyone who needs to understand love a little better."

Friend's Review, 1992

"A fascinating and human story of the interaction between two exciting originals."

Harold Greenwald, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Author, Fulbright Scholar, January 1993

"Your book is a true work of love, courage and a tremendous act of generosity."

Moshe Talmon, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Director of the Talmon Center for Single Session and Brief Therapy, Herzlia, Israel
April, 1993

"An absorbing document for anyone interested in the maverick polymath's later development."

The Financial Times, February, 1993

"The book makes for intense reading.... Through the transcript of dialogue and description of her relationship with R.D. Laing, Ms. Russell brings the reader to a seldom found involvement in the confidentiality of the psychotherapist's private world as we discover what has become of R.D. Laing, his motives, his way of dealing with relationships, his friends and his yet untold vulnerabilities."

P.A. Gregoire, Ph.D.Clinical Psychologist who lectures at McGill University
Department of Psychiatry (quoted from Rainbow Network, New Zealand)

"I really enjoyed it and I'm sure Ronnie would have been very proud of you."

Mrs. Anne Laing, June, 1992

To order RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love

email Roberta Russell.

Other Relevant Published Articles by Roberta Russell:

Review by Roberta Russell of: The Crucible of Experience, RD Laing & The Crisis of Psychotherapy by Daniel Burston, 2000, Cambridge, Harvard University Press

Click here to read review Published in Psychoanalytic Studies, Vol 3, No.2, 2001, p 268-269

Reprint from

"Are There No Cures" by Roberta Russell is presented here:

Originally published in Changes: An International Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy, by John Wiley & Sons Ltd., September, 1995, 213-218


 Reviews of Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony

by Roberta Russell

Available for download at the Columbia University Academic Commons.

An article, RD Laing and Me by Roberta Russell is presented here.


Russell, R., September, 1995, Changes, RD Laing and Me, An International Journal of Psychology

and Psychotherapy, Vol. 11, No. 3, ISSN 0263 8371, pp. 191-196.

Columbia University Academic Commons





RD Laing MD
Video Excerpt from "Did You Used to Be RD Laing?"
Third Mind Productions

Produced by Kirk Tougas and Tom Shandel
Contact: image dot vancouver at gmail dot com



Go to Lifetalk (www.lifetalk.org)

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