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Bosanquet, C. (1962). The Self and Others, by R. D. Laing. London, Tavistock Publications, 1961. pp. 186. 25s. Chicago, Quadrangle.. J. Anal. Psychol., 7(2):172.

(1962). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 7(2):172

The Self and Others, by R. D. Laing. London, Tavistock Publications, 1961. pp. 186. 25s. Chicago, Quadrangle.

Review by:
Camilla Bosanquet

This book is an existentialist study of the role of relatedness to others in the formation of a person's experience of himself. The author aims to “depict the person within a social system or nexus of other persons” and he describes how relationships can either contribute to a man's “fulfilment” or can be a “potent factor in his losing himself even to the point of madness”. Criticizing the dangers of false inference in theory, he limits himself to the phenomenological level in understanding “a mode of experience, which most people are too inside to apperceive”.

The first part of the book deals with “modes of interpersonal experience”. The relationship between fantasy, imagination, and dream is illustrated by an account of Raskolnikov's dream from Crime and Punishment and applied in understanding a psychosis of a puerperal woman. In relationships, a person may be drawn into the fantasy system of one or more people, with the occurrence of a derealization process—an alienation from himself. One of three alternatives may follow. He may never extricate himself from this, remaining under the spell of an alienation affect; his position may become untenable if he is drawn into two or more incompatible fantasy systems; he may become psychotic. Re-realization is a necessary step by which he becomes able to apperceive this fantasy system. The second part deals with “forms of interpersonal action”. A person needs to be confirmed in his existence by others, he also needs relatedness with another in order to complete or actuate his identity.

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