I chair the Sponsoring Committee from the International Psychoanalytic Association [IPA] to the Korean Study Group [KSG], which will become a Provisional Society of IPA in several more years. The KSG is a successful new analytic institute in a city of 12 million where warm interest in psychoanalysis has been in evidence for over 35 years. I have included in this blog some photos from my April 2012 trip to Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea. There are currently five analysts in Korea recognized by IPA, including our own favorite son, Jaehak Yu, who graduated from the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center in 2006. Dr. Yu is now the chair of the Education Committee of the KSG. The photos below show all the members of the KSG (back row, from left), Tak Yoo Hong, Moo Suk Lee, Jaehak Yu, Do-Un Jeong, and (front row, left) Mee-Kyung Kim. Representing the IPA with me are Abigail Golomb, a child analyst from Tel Aviv, and Rachel Falk from Sydney, Australia.
The photos were taken in the new offices of the KSG. It is on the 6th floor of a large building which houses a multitude of small businesses. The building is in an area of government office buildings, and near the immense statue of Admiral Yee who stands astride an eight lane city thoroughfare. Admiral Yee protected Korea from an 11th century naval assault by the Japanese, a hero in an often subjugated but proud country. The KSG will start a second class with 14 candidates in September. Their first class of 11 will begin fourth and final year of seminars at the same time. Many candidates have two cases in analysis, and are about to take a third case which will allow for a graduation. They are enthusiastic, friendly, and open in their support of each other and their organization. The photo below shows some of us on a ‘cultural outing’ which we insist upon each visit. Notice my Korean hat. Hong-Jun Jeon was our excellent guide du jour.
Seoul city is remote – 12 hours from Chicago, 11 hours from Sidney, 8 hours from Tel Aviv. The Koreans have little trust in their ancient enemies, China and Japan. They live with an immense isolation. They are a generous and industrious group, and compensate for remoteness by inviting international teachers several times a year, including Arthur Rosenbaum perhaps five years ago. I have been to Seoul nine times so far, with maybe four more trips to go. I have taken my two daughters and wife to Seoul, which has softened a bit the sting of being gone two times a year for a week to the other side of the earth.