1. What is Taopsychotherapy?
To describe what Taopsychotherapy encompasses - in the
ways it has been conceived of and pioneered by Prof. RHEE
Dongshick - we could quite simply state that Taopsychotherapy
is Prof. RHEE’s psychotherapy of fusing the eastern Tao
with western psychotherapy.
But in accepting this simple definition it is perhaps
useful to go further than this, in order to better understand
the deeper intentions which lie within Taopsychotherapy.
Professor Kim Choongyeol sent the poem below as congratulations
for Prof. RHEE’s Gohi(70th Birthday).
The Tao does not transform Man,
But only Man can make manifest the Tao.
And so, the flourishing or perishing of the Tao
Depends on whether such a Taoistic Man appears or not.
It is more than one hundred years since the invasion
of the East by the West
And I have despaired that the eastern Tao may disappear.
Heaven has sent us this Man
And let him rotate the wheel of the Tao.
With these words in mind, we really need to gain some
insight into Prof. RHEE’s life and the influential
experiences he has had, both as a Korean man and a psychotherapist.
2. Prof. RHEE’s Insight
into Emotional Problems
He has worked for 62 years as a psychiatrist and 51
years as a psychotherapist.
He has conducted numerous psychotherapy sessions on
a weekly basis throughout most of his life- time and
at one stage, was seeing patients for up to 79 hours
In his paper titled “The Integration of East and West
Psychotherapy”(RHEE 1993), he described aspects of his
development before he began studying psychiatry. He
says he realized as a child that human happiness depends
upon the resolution of emotional problems and he was
able to discern genuineness from hypocrisy. He also
stated that during his childhood, he was noticed as
‘well versed’ in life - like a Buddhist monk - and in
fact throughout his life, he has rarely apologized,
shown little International Forum on Taopsychotherapy
and Western Psychotherapy remorse and never taken revenge.
3. His Experiences and
Influences as a Psychotherapist
In this paper, he also described his experiences and the various influences on his growth as a psychotherapist.
He began studying psychiatry in 1942 at Seoul(then Keijo Imperial) University, when the
Second World War was under way.
At that time the Japanese occupied every leading position in every area; psychiatry was no exception.
There was not a single Korean professor in any university in Seoul. The Japanese psychiatry being
practised was organic psychiatry, of the Kraepelinian tradition.