R. D. Laing wore many robes in his career, including psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, philosopher, social critic, author, poet, and mystic, and at the peak of his fame and popularity in the 1970s he was the most widely-read psychiatrist in the world.

Arguably the most controversial psychoanalyst since Freud, Laing's meteoric rise in the 1960s was the result of his rare ability to make complex ideas accessible with such best-selling classics as The Divided Self (1960), Sanity, Madness and Family (1964), The Politics of Experience (1967), and Knots (1970). Laing's impassioned plea for a more humane treatment of those in society who are most vulnerable catapulted him into the vanguard of intellectual and cultural debate about the nature of sanity and madness, and inspired a generation of psychology students, intellectuals, and artists to turn this disarming Scotsman into a social icon.

Now, in the fourth edition of our annual event, Laing's former students and colleagues from around the world, including Fritjof Capra, Michael Guy Thompson, Douglas Kirsner, Nita Gage, Edie Irwin, Mina Semyon and others, will meet for five days at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, to continue our critique of Laing's contemporary legacy. In previous years we explored the nature of sanity and madness, the therapeutic relationship, and altered realities. This year we will continue our conversation by exploring one of Laing's favorite themes, the nature of intimacy. We will ask, What Is Love? in all the many and varied contexts where we typically find it, including psychotherapy, spirituality, the drug experience, sexuality, and more. Joining us again will be some of the leading lights in the burgeoning Psychiatric Survivor Movement, including Will Hall, Michael Cornwall, Dina Tyler, Michelle Anne Hobart, and others, to help us share alternatives to contemporary, often abusive psychiatric treatment for those in extreme mental and emotional distress.

Among the questions we will explore:

1. What did Freud mean when he suggested that psychoanalysis is a cure through love?

2. How does love heal, and conversely, how does it drive us mad?

3. How may a broken heart result in neurotic and even psychotic states?

4. What is the relationship between love and happiness?

5. What are the biological aspects of love?

6. How do we find love… and keep it?

Plus a presentation of the new film about R.D. Laing, "Mad To Be Normal," directed by Bob Mullen, starring David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Chambon, and Gabriel Byrne.

Join us for five days at breathtaking Esalen Institute on the Pacific Coast to explore how we can promote more humane and effective ways of helping those suffering from extreme states.