Explorations in the Unconscious: A Program in Mandarin Chinese and English for Psychotherapists and Scholars from the China Region

During the first two weeks of this month (July, 2017), I had the incredible opportunity to teach, as well as provide Jungian analysis and clinical supervision, in a first of its kind in North America summer intensive program being given for a group of thirty-eight psychotherapists and scholars from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The group came to San Francisco to study at the C.G. Jung Institute, where I am a member. In my role as chair of the institute’s Extended Education committee, I led a two year planning process that resulted in the creation of this program and ultimately involved twenty-five other analysts as teachers, therapists and clinical consultants. The program was given in English and Mandarin, and covered a wide range of topics from the perspectives of both classical and contemporary analytical psychology. The first of two seminars I taught, with Dr. Elly Lin, was on the therapeutic relationship. The second seminar was on emergence and archetypes. Both seminars were enthusiastically received and included consultations to student’s clinical case presentations.

In programs like this one, the teacher is as much a student as a teacher. This was certainly true when there were many cultural, political, and linguistic factors in play, which were encountered in what for me were quite novel ways. Some of this was evident intellectually in discussions looking at differences between, for example, the western idea of individuation and the Chinese idea of enlightenment. Some of the differences were seen simply in how the students involved themselves in taking responsibility for such simple things as moving furniture to accommodate the needs of the institute or of their teachers. Their gratitude for what they were given was palpable.

Being part of this program was one of the greatest professional activities with which I have ever been associated. I was inspired by it. In this time of retrenchment, of self-interested nationalism, and of callousness towards the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters here at home and around the world, it feels like we were able to make a small contribution toward a much needed psychological and cultural healing.

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