Opening Address of the 16th International Congress of Psychotherapy  
※ Reproduced from PSYCHOTHERAPY: EAST AND WEST (Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Psychotherapy), The Revised Ed., Korean Academy of Psychotherapists. 1995.

Opening Address of the 16th International Congress of Psychotherapy
(held on August 21-25, 1994, Seoul, Korea)

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!

It is my great pleasure and honor to express, on behalf of the members of the Korean Academy of Psychotherapists and the Korean Neuropsychiatric Association, my hearty welcome to all the participants of this 16th International Congress of Psychotherapy. You have come from Africa, Middle East, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam.

Historians are predicting that the center of the world is shifting toward the Pacific region or toward North East Asia. Late Professor Reischauer predicted that in the 21st century there will emerge a new civilization for the first time in human history in the North East Asia. Wherever the Western civilization arrives, the indigenous cultures are destroyed and the Western civilization prevailed.

But in the North East-Asia there will be a fusion of the Western Science and the essence of the North East Asian Tradition. This trend toward fusion has a long history. I will mention only a recent one. Since the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Western imperialism, Non-Western world has been invaded and conquered by the European Powers. So European culture and science prevailed and is tacitly considered as a universal culture and science which is not true. This thought is still prevalent. Since the invasion and the conquest of the West the leaders of Non-Western world especially those who were educated in Western tradition have ignored their own history and culture and tried to learn Western culture and science. The world became Eurocentric. The European culture and science has become universal.

On the other hand, in Europe along with the rise of European science there was an awareness of the danger of this European scientific technology and culture; some examples: Spengler's 'The Fall of the West' (Der Untergang des Afendlandes), rise of phenomenology (Husserl's Crisis of European Science), existential philosophy, linguistic philosophy, Daseinsanalysis, existential analysis and transpersonal psychotherapy, spiritual theology, interest and study of the Eastern Tao. Recently the origin of Freud's psychoanalysis was traced to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer who were influenced by Indian thought. The holistic trend in Western science and medicine also signifies this trend toward the Tao. The rapprochement and encounter are approaching the final fusion .

In the field of Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in the West, by clinical experience and psychotherapy research, it was confirmed that the most important curative factors in psychotherapy are empathy, relationship and personality of the therapist. This is in complete agreement with the Eastern Tao. In other words, liberation from theories and techniques which are the inevitable product of Western tradition since Plato ('conceptual prison' by W. Barrett). This could be considered as the culmination of the effort made by C. G. Jung and Medard Boss.

This congress is the first meeting of Psychotherapy on a world wide scope in the Non-Western World and Asia. We are in the age of integration and disintegration, in other words, the age of restructuring. Our meeting signifies this trend. The essence of the North Eastern tradition is the Tao. We are trying to accomplish this fusion of Tao and Western science by presenting and comparing various schools of Western psychotherapy and the Tao of the Non-Western world and Western spiritual theology on the basis of Western psychotherapy research. This is only a beginning. We will review the present states of psychotherapy in the Non-Western world and psychological issues caused by the disintegration of socialist regimes in the Eastern Europe and reunification of Germany.

Besides your scientific activities, you will have the opportunities to explore the Korean culture directly and correct your image and history of Korea which has been distorted by our neighbors.

I earnestly hope that you will enjoy your stay in our country. Many of our foreign participants are making their first trip to Korea. If any of you should incur any inconveniences during the Congress, please contact the Organizing Committee. Every effort will be made to serve your needs. Every Korean participant will help you.

In conclusion, I sincerely appreciate all the help that was given by so many people in organizing the Congress especially the Ministry of the Health and Social Affairs, the World Health Organization, the Korean Medical Association, the Korean NeuroPsychiatric Association, Korean Psychological Association, Korean Philosophical Association, all the companies, especially Dr. Edgar Heim, President and the Executive Members of the International Federation for Psychotherapy, Prof. David Orlinsky of Chicago University, Members of National and International Advisory Committees and Korean colleagues who are sponsoring the Congress and the members of the Organizing Committee.

RHEE Dongshick, M.D.
the 16th International Congress of Psychotherapy
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