Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Jung in the former East Bloc

There's no getting away from it--C.G. Jung was a white European male of the sexist variety. What is odd is that probably a majority of his followers today and of Jungian analysts are female--certainly a majority of new analysts who were recognized at the closing ceremony of the 18th Congress of the IAAP were female and Russian.

Analysts from Germany, the UK, Canada and the United States have been responsible for bringing Jung to the countries of the former Soviet Union since the fall of Communism. In Jung's lifetime (1875 to 1961) Sabina Speilrein, his former patient and collaborator, did the same thing until psychoanalysis fell out of favour with Communist authorities in Stalin's time.

The Jungian project faces a number of challenges in the former East bloc countries, and the primary one is probably the culture of corruption that still exists in most of them. But these countries also face profound social and mental health difficulties, and any help Jungians can provide for instance to present and former residents of underfunded orphanages must be very welcome.

Gert Sauer, a German analyst who has done a lot of work in Russia, spoke at the Congress on the relationship between Jung and Russian symbolism. It was a very good talk, but I was surprised he did not mention the famous Russian artist Maxim Vrubel who has his own room in Moscow's Tetryakov Gallery where his painting "The Dream" fills the top part of several walls.

Pictured above are two of my fellow volunteers.


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