Psychiatry, anti-psychiatry, Basaglia, counter-culture
The London psychiatrists R.D. Laing, Aaron Esterson, and David Cooper were among Basaglia’s most prominent contemporaries. In 1967, they came to be grouped under the umbrella term ‘the anti-psychiatrists’, coined by Cooper. As such, in discussion they often fall under the same school of thought as Basaglia. However, this chapter highlights the fundamental differences between the British anti-psychiatric project and Basaglia’s Democratic Psychiatry, given its focus on political upheaval as well as patient care. It explores the various efforts of Laing, Cooper, and Esterson to demolish staff–patient boundaries through the Philadelphia Association Ltd, which they formed with their patients. The chapter contends that, although they shared a desire to wrest patients away from harmful institutions, Basaglia sought to do so as an ‘employee’, aiming to destroy the psychiatric institution from within, whereas his British counterparts considered themselves revolutionaries, part of an effort to overhaul society as a whole, external to psychiatry.