2013.08 臺灣精神分析學會2013：在第48屆IPA Congress的報告
Taiwan is an island in East Asia. Taiwan is also known as Formosa. When sailors from Portugal first saw it about four hundred years ago, they called it “Ilha Formosa”, which means “beautiful island.” Similarly, nowadays Taiwan is characterized by a high level of diversity in terms of people, language, culture as well as politics. This is the result of the four-hundred-year modern history of Taiwan, during which there have been different ruling powers, including the Dutch, the Chinese, the Japanese for fifty years, and again the Chinese after the end of the World War II.
Psychoanalysis in Taiwan
Taiwan Center for the Development of Psychoanalysis (TCDP,臺灣精神分析學會)was founded in Nov 2004, and became an IPA Allied Center since 2006. In the past decade, we have organized many psychoanalytical events, local and international. These events have been warmly welcomed, and our endeavor has inspired younger generations for further studying of psychoanalysis.
A vigorous psychoanalytic community has been there for years and we hope to join the IPA(International Psychoanalytical Association,國際精神分析學會) family to train local psychoanalysts on our own in the long run. The intellectuals of Taiwan have been attracted by psychoanalysis since the 1960’s. More lately, there were psychiatrists using psychoanalytic ideas in clinical work, and a growing number of people were devoted to psychotherapy in response to the increasing need in Taiwan society. At the same time, the interest in applied psychoanalysis also developed steadily in the universities.
Formosa Model Revisited
I have introduced the Formosa Model in the first IPA Asian Conference in Beijing in 2010, and I will make a brief review of it in this context. The Formosa Model is not something we planned in advance. It is an outgrowth of many years’ efforts we had made in studying and promoting psychoanalysis in Taiwan. As if reflecting the highly diverse scenario in many areas in Taiwan, people interested in psychoanalysis have also been diverse in many respects. It is from the lively interactions within the Taiwan Center and between the visiting analysts and the members that the Formosa Model emerged.
The core idea of the Formosa Model is to acknowledge and cherish the reality of our diversity and to try the best to make room for each member in terms of his or her relation to psychoanalysis. It’s just like all the different plants and animals are allowed to flourish in the highly varied environment of Taiwan. The basic tenet is mutual respect and tolerance. It may give us best chances to move ahead in harmony. In this way, hopefully we can arrive at our common goal in the future, which is to set up a sound and lasting scientific community of psychoanalysis in Taiwan, and crucially, to become entitled to train analysts by ourselves.
[T]here have been ongoing developments in the Taiwan Center in recent years. For one thing, more members have started their private practices. We believe much of the future of psychoanalysis in Taiwan depends on the survival of private practitioners, so we will do our best to support them.
In addition, more organizations have been created by our senior members to promote psychoanalysis. For example, the Taipei Psychotherapy Center (思想起心理治療中心)has been created as a part of the Taipei City Psychiatric Center. It is a psychoanalytically oriented institution meant for both clinical service and education. Since it belongs to a public hospital, it naturally offers psychotherapy paid by the National Health Insurance. We believe the strategy of making psychoanalysis and its applications available to more people will be beneficial to both the institution and the private practitioners.
Another new development is the iAnalysis(吾境思塾), a corporation created by two of the most senior members of the Taiwan Center. It aims at promoting psychoanalysis through more channels. For the experienced clinicians, it provides advanced theoretical lectures and clinical seminars. For those curious general public, it spreads psychoanalytic messages by creating lectures of its various applications, for example, in literature and films.
Furthermore, local groups are also being initiated by our members in other cities of Taiwan.
The Clinical and Theoretical Scenario of Taiwan’s Psychoanalysis
In the Taiwan Center, we advocate the idea of “starting from Freud”. Besides, thanks to the ongoing influences from the French analysts, there is an emphasis on Freud’s metapsychology and a keenness to see things through the lens of infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex.
Now, a few words about the patient population. The patients coming to the consulting rooms are often quite severe. Pure neurotics are rare, and the patients tend to suffer from various degrees of narcissistic, borderline or psychotic pathologies. Not surprisingly, the treatments tend to become longer and longer and often end up with unexpected terminations. From my personal view, many concepts developed by the Kleinians and Wilfred Bion are quite helpful in understanding the cases with primitive mental functioning.
Some Intersections of Psychoanalysis and the Taiwan Culture
To begin with, there is often a customary link of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy to medical practice in the minds of many people in Taiwan. Consequently, they tend to expect getting something real from the doctor such as medicine or some answers. Accordingly, they may also expect the government to pay the fees. Such a tendency in our culture can hinder the beginning of a pure analytic relationship which is the foundation of a long-term work.
Secondly, there is often an implicitly religious attitude to life in many people in Taiwan. Most of the Taiwan people believe in a type of popular folk religion mixed with Buddhism and Taoism. And crucially, it’s quite common for one in Taiwan to believe in the fate, the fortune-telling, the retribution or the afterlife. This attitude may help one endure the sufferings in life, but when the treatment comes across difficult moments, it may also become recourse to some magical cure. On the other hand, the familiarity with the unknown power of fate or the gods may help people accept some psychoanalytic concepts more readily which sound mystical such as the death instinct and Bion’s idea of transformations in O.
A third point is about the concept of the unconscious and its translation. There have been two ways of Chinese translation of the word “unconscious”. The first one is “qian yi shi” (潛意識) , in which “qian” literally means latent, secret, or submerged, and “yi shi” means consciousness. It may remind people of something hidden and waiting for coming back. It comes close to Freud’s idea of the dynamic unconscious and may be more accessible for the general public. The second one is “wu yi shi” (無意識), which literally means no consciousness. Here the word “wu” means no and may be linked in a Taiwanese mind to the Buddhist concept of “kong” (空, emptiness ) or the Taoist concept of “wu” (無, nothingness). Both terms entail states of very high enlightenment or revelation and may add some mystical connotations to the concept. However, since there is a long tradition of paradoxical logic in our culture, for example, the positive value of tolerating the negative or the use of the uselessness, the translation of unconscious into no consciousness is not so strange and may induce people to think of the infinite possibilities of their psyche.
A final point is the incredible lack of a proper name for sex or sexuality in the traditional Chinese language. Both sex and sexuality are translated into the Chinese character “xing” (性) , but it is often quite awkward to use it in speaking. In addition, this word is used to mean both sex and sexuality. For example, it’s confusing when we say all psychoanalysis is not “xing”. Furthermore, the character “xing” also means nature, quality, character trait or essence in Chinese. It’s a very common word but mostly without any connotation of sex. It’s not clear whether the lack of an exclusive word for sex in Chinese is due to a massive repression since very early in our culture, but this issue is worth further research.
(本專欄蔡榮裕編按：本文是劉佳昌代表臺灣精神分析學會理事長周仁宇，於2013.07.31至08.03日在布拉格(Prague)舉行第48屆國際精神分析學會雙年會(IPA Congress)的報告。本文列於報告主題：The World is looking East. Growth and development of psychoanalysis in the Asian region.由於「精醫通訊」的篇幅所限，本文是刪節版。)