This is just a brief summary compiled by myself (Elizabeth Brodersen) and feedback from other members of the Frankfurt conference support team: Camilla L. Giambonini, Michael Glock, Regina Renn, Valeria Musso and Mathew Mather.
The joint Frankfurt conference began with the preconference workshop on 2.8. headed by Prof. Christian Roesler on research methodologies in analytical psychology. The feedback from participants was very positive; they felt that the workshop had given them useful analytical tools for their own research and widened their clinical applicability and knowledge.
In the evening, after registration; the conference was opened with welcoming words by Marianne Müller, Pilar Amezaga and Jörg Rasche from IAAP; Michael Glock and Konoyu Nakamura from IAJS. Marianne Müller and Pilar Amazaga talked about the conference theme of Indeterminate States and how this theme had been chosen from a group of titles offered. Jörg Rasche from DGAP discussed the dynamics of Frankfurt’s long history which grounded the conference well in both time and space. Unfortunately, Jerome Bernstein could not attend the opening words due to sudden health problems but he is thankfully on the road to recovery.
We enjoyed a reception that followed sponsored by DGAP where we got to know one another as international travellers, fellow migrators and trans-border crossers.
On Friday AM began with a refreshing, dynamic and informative keynote presentation from Elena Barta. She described the work the city of Frankfurt undertakes in multicultural affairs and more specifically at the department where she works for LGBTIQ rights founded in 2015. Frankfurt is foremost in Germany in protecting the rights of marginalised people through the communal task of educating teachers, health and pedagogic professionals.
Four panels followed in the morning all presenting diverse elements of indeterminate, liminal states. I attended panel 1 with an excellent presentations by Roger Naji El Khouri on child development and transsexuality. He discussed the psychodynamic aspects of children with gender dysphoria and the possibility of creating new energy through sand-play therapy. Camilla Giambonini’s presentation that followed focussed on how teenagers through sexting on the internet construct the other sex according to projected shadow aspects which often contain non-binary identities. Camilla’s fascinating research suggests that trans-gender states experienced through images chosen by the research participants might offer insight into more creative forms of political resistance. Others on the conference committees attested to the high standard of presentation by John Bensley in panel 2 who discussed the similarity between Critical Systems Practice and Jung’s phenomenological approach to comparative analysis.
Steve Meyer’s presentation from panel 2 was equally dynamic in his rendering of the fifth function of Jung’s typology, namely Spitteler’s Prometheus and Epimetheus (1881). Being tied too tightly to definitions of psychological types could hinder the necessary state of indeterminacy that leads to development and growth. Panel 3 featured presentations by Michael Glock and Racheal Vaughan. Michael’s moving semi-biographical presentation described trans-cultural people who faced the dilemma and danger through war and exile of disavowing their cultural roots and ancestral memories. Rachel looked at white identity as the non-visible traumatic areas of complex intersectional, inter and transcultural identity in both the client and the therapist. The trauma of dislocation and the defences against the pain of migration were examined.
Panel 4 featured Stefano Carpani followed by Adrian Campbell. Stephano’s presentation concentrated on bringing together Beck’s socio-individualisation theory and Jung’s psycho-individuation theory to employ relational psycho-analysis with psychosocial studies in order to address current post-gender, post class, post-commitment society. Adrian explored the dilemma of soldiers returning from battle as they became separated from their warrior core identity. Adrian advocated a symbolic approach to liminality and change which would generate a new orientation rather than a loss of self.
As the keynote presenter for Friday, PM, Elisabetta Iberni, had changed places with Jon Mills as his flight was delayed from Canada. Elisabetta gave a spirited and informed account of ‘people on the move’ and how they adjust to the common experience of loss, separation, and individuation. She suggested that such people became the creative carriers of diverse values, mediating between different symbolic worlds to form a sense of global citizenship.
The afternoon panel sessions began with panel 5. Yuka Ogiso took the motif of the fish as a symbol of the Japanese liminal, indeterminate state which can unite the opposites. Yuka equated the Japanese fish with Jung’s alchemical Mercurius and with other fish symbols found in Egyptian myth and in Christianity. Mana Nagano examined the Kappa as a water imp which embodies the archetypal manifestation of liminal indeterminacy in folk tales and myth.
I attended Bill Farrar’s presentation for panel 6 and thoroughly enjoyed his lively rendering of Bernini and his art. He suggested that Bernini illustrated a component of a dynamic self-realisation that created a transgender image synthesis of engendered libido. His presentation was followed by Huan Wang’s moving rendering of the sexual individuation process of repressed Chinese women in their battle to free themselves from patrilineal oppression.
Three longer breakout sessions followed headed by Sulagna Senupta, Gerhard Karl Riedel and Robert Mitchell. All were excellent presentations. Sulagna’s powerful presentation concentrated on understanding transcultural journeys and transitional states against the backdrop of Jung’s deep links with India and Germany’s pivotal role in fostering it. Eberhard’s presentation shared his research from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo where he developed a cross-cultural model of Jungian human ecosystem which reflected the mysterious mental capacity to hold and unite disparate elements. He introduced a psychographic map as a compass for thinking about psycho-social developmental aspects. Robert Mitchell’s presentation was equally well informed in his approach to cultural complexes and cultural identity. He compared Jung’s definition of the natural process of individuation that brought a birth of consciousness of human community through unconscious processes with Jean Gebster definition of the emergence of integrality. Robert linked these approaches to Erich Neumann’s concept of centroversion which combined aspects of both.
Saturday, 4.8. AM began with a well-structured and informative keynote presentation from Mark Saban that received positive feedback. He discussed Jung’s personality 1 and 2 with the help of French philosopher Gilbert Simondon in order to revisit/ revision the problematic and complex terrain of the psychological relationship/ border between the inner and outer realm.
Panel 8 followed with Valeria Musso’s innovative and timely presentation on the Mexican-American Cultural complex that focused on the conflict between identities that included the European Spanish heritage. She examined the symbols of La Virgen de Guadalupe and La Malinche from depth psychological, archetypal perspectives to locate an imaginary homeland. Valeria was followed by Konoyu Nakamura’s expert differentiation of Japanese anime figures in One Piece, a popular multimedia series. She discussed the differences between such archetypal images of Sanja (cock) and Tony Chopper (ship’s doctor), Nico Robin (female archaeologist), Franky (ship carpenter) and other animals and dead people who reflected the cultural and national borderlessness and social issues of identity that societies faced today.
Stefano Candellieri in panel 9 discussed liminal spaces moving across borders between the patient and the analyst. Whenever an analyst was distracted from listening to the patient’s Intentio Operis and attended instead to theory (Intentio Lectoris), important intimacy was lost plus the possibility of exploring new terrain within the analytical container. Panel 10 introduced Mathew Mathers and Yasuhiro Tanaka. Mathew’s astute presentation focussed on Japanese film director Hiromasa Yonebayash’s critically acclaimed film When Marnie Was There, where he explored the symbol of the magic circle (mandala) which appeared in multiple contexts throughout the film. Mathew noted that the film’s circular techniques created mood and motion in contrast to Western animation tradition of favouring linear representation. Yasuhiro Tanaka interestingly suggested that the history of landscape painting reflected a particular ethnic mode of consciousness. The Japanese borrowed their landscape painting technique from the ancient Chinese. Yasuhiro made an innovative connection between features of Japanese landscape and the mode of the subject in relationship to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Panel 11 featured Laura Zegel followed by Anahit Khananya. Laura discussed the Black Madonna as an icon born in that liminal marginal space where early cultures intersected. She offered the Black Madonna archetype as a symbol for healing racist and sexist cultural oppression. Anahit discussed the concept of animus in its negative and positive aspects of the individuation process for women. She argued that the cultural complex of animus repression had denied women the right to establish personal borders and equal gender relationships.
Three longer morning breakout sessions followed: Jörg Rasche discussed the anima figure of Salome in The Red Book and how she transformed through Jung’s own breakthrough towards female emancipation and empowerment by putting the women in his life on their own feet. Evangeline Rand needed more time to show her very creative research into two ‘Maiwa engaged’ communities, the Dhamadka fabric workshops and the nomadic tribal Banjara with their deeply patterned embroidered fabrics. Evangeline compared their creativity in times of great hardship to the creation of The Red Book during the horror of war and devastation in Europe. Kevin Lu’s presentation focussed on hybridity with the birth of his son of mixed race Chinese heritage. How did hybridity impact on the life of the individual? Kevin saw hybridity as a liminal state where the wounded history of racism could be contemplated and healed.
Jon Mills gave the PM thoughtful key note presentation on recognition and pathos which explored the difficult dark side of recognition as asymmetrical pathological dynamics that resulted from early developmental contingencies in object relations and the negation of difference. Jon contended that not all people are disposed to or even capable of recognising the other which in turn lead to insidious pathologies within society and in clinical work. He suggested that recognition might mean the pragmatic tolerance of difference and not merely an acceptance of the other, even if people could not recognise each other as equals.
Panel 12 featured Lydia Sideleva’s perceptive work on the complex emotional upheaval of refugees. She suggested that for refuges and migrants, two opposing forces collided: the challenging call to individuate against the pull of fusion and safety. Lydia used characters from the Wizard of Oz, the way of Dorothy or the wizard of Oz to illustrate this vital tension. This presentation was followed by Maria Giovanni Bianchi who addressed her deep interest in bridging the trans-disciplinary state between human rights law and analytical psychology. She analysed human rights through Jungian typology interpreting it as the transcendent function that integrated the thinking function of the law and the feeling unction of justice.
Sven Doehner’s experiential workshop on Voice Alchemy was much appreciated by those who attended and considered one of the highlights of the conference. Sven showed that sustained focused vocalisation gave palpable form and experience to aspects of the self not easily visible. The voice gave outer form to inner vibrations and movements in an imaginative act that touched and moved the emotional, mental, somatic and spiritual realms into action.
Panel 13 featured Beate Maria Drager followed by Giorgio Giaccardi. Beate’s knowledgeable presentation outlined the work of German volunteers in the North West Province of South Africa. She focused on the liminal experiences of German volunteers, offering first experience of how they succeeded or failed to cross over from the known into new developmental structures. Giorgio noted that the LGBT+ movement was deprived of the mythopoetic that the first generation of activists created, mostly by appropriating some behaviours and traits, for example, the ‘camp’ style in an attempt to find suitable vehicles for a new identity. However, he argued that such effort had not been made at the level of psychological theory, where contra-sexual archetypes were not sufficiently pluralistic to provide a signifier to transgender and homosexual individuals. This often resulted in a lack of suitable role models or psychological containers supportive of the development of identity.
Maksym Ilyashenko followed by Mostafo Kazemian formed Panel 14. Maksym outlined a clinical case where trans-lingual, trans-cultural, trans-racial, trans-gender liminal states gave sufficient creative border spaces between himself as Jungian psychotherapist and his female client to promote a healing dynamic whereby differences could be integrated and transformed. Mostafo discussed the dream symbol as a medium communicating between two realms: conscious/ unconscious and between different languages/cultural complexes. He discussed a dream from the IAJS Conference 2017 in Cape Town about prisoners being released from an Apartheid prison and dancing in this new found freedom which he interpreted as a personal and collective medium or border cross-over transformation from imprisonment to freedom.
The Gala Dinner took place on Saturday evening at the Goethe University Bistro Sturm und Drang where we enjoyed good food, conversation, music and dance in the summer warmth.
Sunday began AM with Toshio Kawai’s well received, reflective key note presentation on the tension and paradox between determinate and indeterminate states. He saw the value of indeterminate states in psychotherapy as holding the tension without acting out but in certain clinical cases of ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) such patients might need to develop a determinate subject. Toshio saw a tendency towards indeterminacy as a global phenomenon not limited to Japan and counterbalanced by the need for determinacy leading to conservatism and fundamentalism. He used a novel by Haruki Murakami to show that tension and paradox.
Panel 15 included Dmitry Kotenko and Niccolo Fiorentino Polipo. Dmitry gave a dynamic, interesting and provocative portrayal of Russian boundlessness as a key determiner of the Russian soul and its cultural complex. He imagined the relationship between Russia and the West as that of consciousness and shadow. Dmitry suggested that Russia’s state of corruption would not have been possible without the support of the West robbing people in the East in a shadow mode and taking advantage of corrupt regimes including Putin’s regime in Russia.
Nicolo argued that two principles emerge from integration/coniunctio and differentiation/ separation incorporated into the model of the transcendent function: vulnerability and incorruptibility. They were necessary to individuate and they could not be separated. Vulnerability was the ability to be influenced by the unconscious elements surfacing during the night sea journey, but it needed incorruptibility for the analysand to carry out such a task. Nicolo took the example of Ulysses, who tied himself to the ship’s mast in order to survive the sirens and their seducing voices. The presentation summarized well the existing ethical literature and identified two major principles that could be used in research as well as therapeutically.
Panel 16 included presentations by Nilton Maltz and Megumi Yama. Nilton discussed the concept of Singularity which applied to an unprecedented technological revolution based on the explosion of big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, associated with UFOs as emergent symbols of the self. Jung associated this emergence with the symbol of Aquarius, the water bearer. In the fluidity of the liquid carried by the water bearer trans-border states of mathematical Singularity, liminality and indeterminacy met and created the unexpected. Megumi argued that the indeterminate state between determinate cultures was a chaotic and uncertain realm which opened up the realm of death and the dead. She pointed out how crucial our myth making became when we crossed our borders into different cultures.
On Panel 17 Emma Buchanan discussed the archetype of rebirth connected to indeterminate states and migration when one ceased to be one thing and became something new. By analysing the television series Walking Dead, Emma showed how a transformation of gender identity was depicted as the only possible route to rebirth and how ‘others’ hindered that process by reinforcing norms which had been rejected. Her presentation illustrated how fiction was used experientially in the service of structuring and planning of our real life experiences. Mirella Giglio followed with her compelling presentation of William Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a liminal state. The novel used a plethora of symbols some representing the journey of crossing borders into the underworld of Hades, as the necessary symbolic death process connected to rebirth and renewal. Panel 18 consisted of Sara Sage’s heartfelt presentation where she shared her borderland experiences as a woman and therapist. She asked questions such as how could we be gender aware and gender non-binary when identifying as a woman and a feminist? How do we discuss male privilege with both M2F and F2M trans clients, as well as gender non-binary clients? Sara raised important questions of trans-gender paradoxes within sexual identities concerning ourselves as well as our clients.
Sunday’s PM keynote presentation featured Monica Luci’s emotive and well researched presentation on the role of migration and terrorism in the formation of a new European identity. She asked the important question of whether we could think of migrants, both terrorists and asylum seekers, as cross-border social carriers and storage points of generalised emotional experiences, positive and negative, of the expanding European community. An interesting question arose from the audience about whether it was possible to think of a unified European identity among its member states.
Three single presentations followed by Angela Graf-Nold, Kaitlyn Hillier and Eileen Nemeth. Angela presented the fascinating connection between Goethe and Jung giving details about Jung’s grandfather and the similarities they shared professionally and personally. Kaitlyn gave a dynamic and informative presentation about the professional bias of working with BDSM clients. She suggested measures for culturally sensitive practice and the inclusion of a psychodynamic family therapy that would support this unique sexual lifestyle. Eileen concentrated on the importance of ‘seeing and being seen.’ The theme of Indeterminate States suggested a need to witness the current border crossings in modern culture that presented us with new forms and developmental possibilities. Eileen argued that the importance of individuation was to gain focus to see, witness, reflect, and understand the collective and personal turmoil of being caught up in ever changing borders and of losing homelands that we thought were fixed in time and place, instead of being part an ever-metamorphosing world.
The conference closed with feedback from the audience and a conch shell shamanic ritual performed by Sven Doehner. We were asked to stand and face in all four directions, north, south, east, and west in response to the sound of the conch shell and reflect on each of the four orientations. This was a fitting closure to such an intimate, rich and open conference where presenters travelled from all corners of the globe, crossing borders, and then to return home.
Thank you again, to all those who presented and participated.
Liz Brodersen, 12. 8. 2018, Frankfurt, on behalf of the joint conference team.