Some Thoughts on the Common Issue of Psychotherapy in Different Cultures-Report on the China Conference of Psychoanalysis

By Xiao, Zeping | General Psychiatry, August 2016 | Go to article overview

Some Thoughts on the Common Issue of Psychotherapy in Different Cultures-Report on the China Conference of Psychoanalysis


Xiao, Zeping, General Psychiatry


Distinguished Chairman, Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning! It is my great honors to have the presentation here, share my thoughts with you, you may agree or disagree but start a discussion, as Chinese says: (Pao Zuan Yin Yu) throw away a brick in order to get a gem;

Today in this hall , more than 1000 colleagues from almost 30 different countries, nations or districts, get together, to share our common interests on Psychotherapy, your valuable contributions is highly concern by all colleagues, I am sure.

In the next few days, we will have many discussions on different aspects of psychotherapy. Among the audience, not only the psychotherapists, but the psychiatrists, psychological counselors and general medicine professionals are included as well. As the theme of the congress is "The Contribution of Psychotherapy to Global Health", I would like to discuss some common issues about psychotherapy instead of the technique or theory of any therapy schools. I think, sometimes we need some kind of helicopter view towards our daily work, what seems very familiar to us maybe loose our fantasy for innovation. Or we say to find the chance to see the root and leaf at the same time.

1. Why psychotherapy is needed

1.1 The main character and function of psychotherapy, especial the function of setting

In simple words, the main character of psychotherapy is talk cure, and the key function is to help people healing mental suffering. Psychotherapy offers the opportunity that people can go deeper into his inner world, more conscious towards conflict, negative emotion and traumatic suffering; May change the cognition and behavior manner, and reconstruct the personality.

But as you know, psychotherapy has a long history but only more than 100 years till now. Today so called psychotherapy came from west. But in all kinds of nations and cultures there should have curing way towards human being's soul suffering.

The Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM) plays the main role to people's health, especial the body health in Ancient China, also the Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism deeply influence people's inner life then. CTM focus on the comprehensive point of view to both body and soul and their interaction as well. Buddhism lead people go deeper and deeper of the inner world, somehow like Psychoanalysis Taoism show people how to cope with surrounding smoothly, something similar to the cognitive-behavior therapy. Confucianist composed the main part of superego and strengthen ones social ability.

But comparing with old Chinese treating methods, modern psychotherapy develops more practical technique, especially the therapeutic setting, you pay the hours and it belongs to you: the space and time. You can say anything you want, you are unique, and seems equal with the therapist since you pay. Somehow it changes the general state of relationship among people, e.g in China before, it was not usual to discuss your own and private life with a stranger, even a doctor, where people much easier to complain body discomfort instead of inner feeling or emotion.

Also, "just talk, be paid?", Now people accept it. And therapeutic relationship can be reliable and independent to other relationships in the reality.

1.2 How human being dealing with mental suffering and mental disorder in the history and another culture circumstance.

In the past, Chinese had very tight interpersonal relationship and hierarchical societies. As the traditional value men and women play different role, men are active for all kinds social affair and responsible for the family finance, women more stay at home and take care of the whole family. It seemed people care more on body health. Mental health was not big topic and mainly supported by the large family.

Religion also played an important role then. In ancient China, even the emperor or queen were converted to Buddhism, and practiced the Ren or Vipassnana, been sensible with the inner would and outside nature world. …

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