David Cooper, Thomas Szasz, R. D. Laing and Michel Foucault led the intellectual rise of so-called anti-psychiatry. Cooper et al. believed that 'madness' (psychosis) is the manifestation of a disparity between one's own 'true' identity and our social identity (The identity others give us and we internalise). Cooper's ultimate solution was through revolution. To this end, Cooper travelled to Argentina as he felt the country was rife with revolutionary potential. He later returned to England before moving to France where he spent the last years of his life.
Cooper coined the term anti-psychiatry (see below) to describe opposition and opposing methods to the orthodox psychiatry of the time, although the term could easily describe the anti-psychiatrists' view of orthodox psychiatry, i.e., anti-psychic healing. He coordinated the Congress on the Dialectics of Liberation, held in London at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm from 15 July to 30 July 1967 Participants included R. D. Laing, Paul Goodman, Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Marcuse and the Black Panthers' Stokely Carmichael, Herbert Marcuse. Jean-Paul Sartre was scheduled to appear but cancelled at the last moment. The term "anti-psychiatry" was first used by David Cooper in 1967. He was a founding member of the Philadelphia Association, London, and director of the Institute of Phenomenological Studies.
Primary source material:
- Reason and Violence: a decade of Sartre's philosophy, Tavistock (1964) – co-authored with R. D. Laing
- Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry (Ed.), Paladin (1967)
- The Dialectics of Liberation (Ed.), Penguin (1968) – Cooper's introduction can be read at the Herbert Marcuse website.
- The Death of the Family, Penguin (1971)
- Grammar of Living, Penguin (1974)
- The Language of Madness, Penguin (1978)