THE LETTER 22 (Summer 2001) pages 97-116
This brief report is intended as a record of a quite unusual psychoanalytic meeting, which took place recently in a country that has had very little exposure to the discipline.
Curiously, and I think unintentionally, it appears to have been the event which coincided most closely with Jacques Lacan’s centenary which occurred on the day before it began, on Friday the 13th. But this was by no means an explicitly Lacanian meeting and a variety of psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic tendencies were represented, especially on the Chinese side but on the Western side also.
The Symposium was the brainchild of Ed Robins and was prompted by a five-day workshop he had conducted at the Medical University of Beijing the previous year. The high-point of that visit was the way in which he demonstrated in a few brief sessions, conducted though an interpreter, that a nine-year-old inpatient who was being treated as a schizophrenic was really acting out a profound distress associated with the death and burial rites of his beloved grandmother. So impressed were the authorities of this very biologically oriented institution, that the idea of an international psychoanalytic meeting was suggested and promptly organised by Ed and his wife Lian-Pey Robins, who provided the perfect liaison with the Chinese side. Central to the whole enterprise was Teresa Pai, a Taiwanese psychoanalyst, who single-handedly, throughout the symposium provided a consecutive translation…