Anthony Clare (1997) has condemned the cultural critique of psychiatry by R.D. Laing. In Clare's words:-

 

Many parents of sufferers from schizophrenia cannot forgive [Laing] for adding the guilt of having 'caused' the illness in the first place to their strains and stresses of having to be the main providers of support.

 

This seems to be an overarching reason why Laing should be dismissed. It is actually a misunderstanding of his views. One only has to read The Politics of Experience, commonly regarded as the most 'radical' of Laing's books to find a clear quote that counters this perception:-

 

[It is not] a matter of laying blame at anyone's door. The untenable position, the 'can't win' double-bind, the situation of checkmate, is by definition not obvious to the protagonists' (Laing 1967 p. 95) [his emphasis].

 

Laing is not talking about conscious motivation to cause harm. He took an interest in Sartre's concept of dialectical rationality and translated Sartre's work with David Cooper in the book Reason and Violence (Laing & Cooper, 1964). He would not have been so naive as to suggest that what he was proposing was a causal one-to-one connection between schizophrenia and the family. The unfortunate fact is that this misinterpretation of Laing has discouraged further study of the family context of mental illness. Nonetheless the myth is perpetuated that a biopsychological critique, such as Laing's, leads to unnecessary and unfair criticism of the influence of the family in the causation of schizophrenia. Focusing on the brain rather than family context seems to avoid this dilemma.