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Hamilton, V. (2010). Interview on Kingsley Hall: Leon Redler with Victoria Hamilton, 30th October, 1971. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 4(1):71-82.

(2010). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 4(1):71-82


Interview on Kingsley Hall: Leon Redler with Victoria Hamilton, 30th October, 1971

Victoria Hamilton

Kingsley Hall was a therapeutic community started by Ronald Laing and the Philadelphia Association. It closed in 1970 after treating over 120 people in a therapeutic setting described in its brochure as a melting pot, a crucible in which many assumptions about normal-abnormal, conformist-deviant, sane-crazy experience and behaviour were dissolved. No person gave another tranquillisers or sedatives. Behaviour was feasible which would have been intolerable elsewhere. It was a place where people could be together and let each other be.

The interview with Victoria Hamilton gives an eye-witness view of this experiment by a frequent visitor to Kingsley Hall who was both an outsider and yet the analysand of the dominant presence in this community - the anti-psychiatry idol of the 1960s, R. D. Laing. Her comments bring into question the freedom that is experienced when full vent to madness and violence are encouraged as well as the effect on a community of a leader whose behaviour and opinions are viewed as sacrosanct.

LR: Did you see Kingsley Hall as a place where yourself might have occasion to go at any point, to live?

VH: I did think of going there twice, and I think it was important to me really, because I always felt there was somewhere to go if things got too difficult or too unmanageable living away. I was … and if things couldn't be contained in my analysis, I think I felt I could go there.

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