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Testimony of Experience By Bruce Scott

Testimony of Experience

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This book is based around interviews with ex-residents of the Philadelphia Association,set up by R.D.Laing and others in 1965.Scott critiques both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies as tools for the study of their experience, offering his 'anti-methodology' to outline the discourses of the ex-residents.

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Testimony of Experience Summary

Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association Communities by Bruce Scott

Today, there are few places left for people to escape our modern plight; the cognitive and neuroscientific imperialistic discourse of mental distress. Testimony of Experience is an attempt to transcend this oppressive discourse. It does so by presenting over 40-years-worth of the experiences of ex-residents of Philadelphia Association (PA) communities. These were set up by R.D. Laing and others in the 1960s as a response to reductive medical and scientific theories of mental suffering. The tyranny of scientific certainty and striving for 'knowing' so prevalent within our state-sanctioned 'mental health' institutions deprives us of other ways of accommodating our curtailed subjectivities, of what it is to suffer, to live, to be human. This book re-examines an ancient dictum which is dying out today - the Docta Ignorantia - the doctrine of wise unknowing. Through a philosophically informed critique of positivistic research methodology and an analysis and deconstruction of interviews with ex-residents of the PA communities, this book asks the question that must be uttered to regain our subjectivity; is there room for wise unknowing in mental suffering in a world of certainty?

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Testimony of Experience Reviews

This book lets us hear the testimonies of the many people who have lived in the Philadelphia Association Community Houses. Their accounts give a fascinating insight into what it was like to have been a resident in such places. We hear of the experience of living with other people, many of whom were seriously mentally disturbed. We listen into the debates about whether medication was of value and we see how different therapists operated. The most famous, of course, was RD Laing who is remembered fondly by most of the residents and who comes across in these interviews as a charismatic and innovative figure, ready to engage with others. Bruce Scott sensitively frames these testimonies in the context of his wide reading of philosophy, religion and psychotherapy. The book greatly adds to our understanding of this turbulent but important era. Dr Allan Beveridge, Consultant Psychiatrist, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline and author of Portrait of the psychiatrist as a young man. The early writings and work of RD Laing, 1927-1960. Bruce Scott's book is a well written and illuminating testimony of people's personal experiences of living within a community household. My father RDLaing was one of the co-founders of The Philadelphia Association which set up these community houses as an alternative to conventional psychiatric wards and treatments. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in mental health. Karen Laing , Psychotherapist

About Bruce Scott

Bruce Scott, PhD, completed his existential and phenomenological informed training in psychoanalysis with the Philadelphia Association in London, an organisation founded by R.D. Laing and others in 1965. He is also an experimental psychologist and has conducted research into the cognitive model of depression and the cognitive effects of SSRI antidepressants. He is a member and on the board of governors of the College of Psychoanalysis-UK, and a member of the Philadelphia Association. He currently lives in the Scottish Borders with his wife and son. He works in private practice in the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh and continues to work as an independent writer and researcher.

Table of Contents

Part One: The Incomplete Project. Chapter 1: Introducing an incomplete project The incomplete project The Philosophical underpinnings of the Philadelphia Association Communities The state of homelessness and the medico-scientific technichisation of therapy Asylum and autorhythmia The Philadelphia Association communities and the honouring of true asylum Chapter 2: Into the paradox Introducing a necessary paradox Chapter 3: Method: Towards and in search of an anti-method The problem of scientific method The philosophical psychology of John MacMurray; the myth of progress The origins of western thought: An alternative way of seeing ourselves; an alternative way of living and re-search contra the medico-scientific psychological gaze Parmenides, Heidegger, and Levinas;the problematic of psychologism, Being, and the 'Other' The problem of health Statement for an anti-method Chapter 4: Practicalities of carrying out the research Outline of data collection Interview procedure Interviewees' characteristics Part Two: Tales from the Docta Ignorantia: Interviews with ex-residents Chapter 5: Diana Chapter 6: Cara Chapter 7: Roland Chapter 8: Joe Chapter 9: Rob Chapter 10: Rose Chapter 11: Julia Chapter 12: Simon Chapter 13: Sally Chapter 14: Thomas Chapter 15: David Chapter 16: Peter Chapter 17: Debbie Chapter 18: Lyn Part Three: Tales from the Docta Ignorantia: Analysis of Interviews Chapter 19: The unveiling and re-veiling of a research schema: Approaching an analysis of the interviews Introduction to the Docta Ignorantia Analysis of interviews: Approaching the Docta Ignorantia Schema of interviewees' discourse Chapter 20: The honesty of the perplexed and the honesty of perplexity: Analysis of interviews Diana; Roland; Joe; Rob; Julia; Simon; Sally; Thomas; David; Peter; Debbie; Lyn; Cara; Rose; Part Four: Summing up a necessary incomplete project Chapter 21: Meno, Montaigne, and the Docta Ignorantia Coda

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Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association Communities by Bruce Scott
Bruce Scott
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