During her time in the UK, Professor Kline will be conducting archival research on psychiatrist R.D. Laing.
While many today view LSD as a symbol of the hedonism of the counterculture, the drug initially enjoyed a positive reputation as a therapeutic psychiatric tool, which has largely been forgotten. Beginning in the 1950s, dramatic changes in mental health research led to a renewed optimism in psychiatry’s potential. An avid supporter of LSD therapy, R.D. Laing was the most influential psychiatrist of the late twentieth century.
Despite Laing’s fame, there are significant gaps in our historical understanding of his life and work. Professor Kline’s research investigates the connections between psychiatry, psychedelics, and birth trauma through the work of R.D. Laing. By taking trauma well beyond Freudian theories of childhood development and back into the womb, Laing was able to convince many that LSD was not just a risky, hedonistic party drug of the counterculture, but a research tool that could tap into higher consciousness and heal deep wounds.