Although psychoanalysis was introduced to China a century ago, psychoanalysis was only allowed to grow in the PRC after Mao’s death. Chinese interest in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy has burgeoned during the last few years, especially in psychology. In a culture of accelerated social and economic change, there are many psychological problems to solve and increasing interest in solving them. These include the traumas of the Cultural Revolution, mass urbanization and industrialization and the rise of a large middle class, opening to Western ideas and technologies, political and ideological developments, new communications, economic structures and government plans. These combine with a Confucian culture that values philosophical thinking and a pragmatic interest in solving problems both at an individual and collective level in this vast country. There is a great need to provide intellectual and clinical resources and engagement to assist China in these new challenges, which China will resolve in its own way.
A number of Western psychoanalytic organizations are involved with psychotherapy and psychoanalytic training in China. The China America Psychoanalytic Alliance has trained students across China in psychotherapy since 2008, and some of these students are now training in China undergoing Full Distance Psychoanalytic Training in Institutes of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Other significant training groupings include the International Psychoanalytical Association, China German and Norwegian psychotherapy training programs, the Sino-American training program at Wuhan Mental Health Center, and the International Psychotherapy Institute, which the editor, David Scharff, MD, of this important special issue formerly directed.
This fascinating special issue explores a wide range of issues about psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in China written by both Chinese and Western experts. Topics include the enduring impact of the trauma of the Cultural Revolution consciously and unconsciously across generations of Chinese people and its clinical influence on patients; the compatibility of psychoanalysis with Chinese culture; Chinese cultural influences on marital relationships; the development of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy training programs in China. The issue concludes with unique four personal ‘Letters from China’, which are accounts by Chinese psychotherapists about how psychoanalysis has contributed to their careers. This volume significantly contributes to the mutual understanding between China and Western psychotherapists and other mental health professionals.
Free access to the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies Special Issue on Psychoanalysis in China can be found here.