Open Day 2017

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Programme for SAAJA’s Open House: Saturday 26 August 2017

8:30-9:00 Welcome tea/coffee and muffins
9:00-9:30 Welcome and short overview of the history, purpose, and functioning of SAAJA, with an emphasis on the diversity of approaches within SAAJA. The question “What characterises SAAJA” will be addressed Fred Borchardt, President
9:30-10:30 Introduction of committee chairs 5-10 mins each
Assessment and Review Committee Philippa Colinese
Curriculum Committee Ester Haumann
Public Programme Committee John Gosling
Ethics Committee Astrid Berg
Gauteng Associate Prof. Membership Group Suzan Hojdar
Library Committee Debra West: librarian
Administrative Officer and Assistant Lynda Blanchard/ Rita Graham
10:30-11:15 TEA:
This is to allow people time for informal discussions with SAAJA members& candidates in the garden under the Ginkgo tree – John Gosling will give us a history of the Ginkgo Biloba tree, and its meaning for SAAJA
11:15-13:00 A panel of SAAJA members each offering a 10-minute presentation on the topics of “Why Jung? What is unique about Jung?” “Jung in a South African setting”. Panelists: Fred Borchardt, Ester Haumann, John Gosling, Marita De Wet, Renee Ramsden, John Gosling (Sandwork project)

Comments and questions from the audience will be invited after each contribution.On 26 August CC hosted the first SAAJA Open Day, with the intention of offering this service every four years, to introduce our training programme to prospective applicants. We also made this event available via Skype, to enable people from outside Cape Town to participate. It turned out to be a very successful event: attended by nine visitors in person, and three visitors on Skype.

After the introductory part of the morning, we enjoyed tea and informal discussion in the garden. John Gosling then introduced our Gingko Biloba tree, and how it came to be in our garden. Below (right) is Fred Borchard handing a leaf from the tree to John. Left is a photograph taken in autumn, when the leaves of the tree turn yellow.

The Ginko Tree

The Gingko tree in the garden of the Centre

The Gingko tree in the garden of the Centre, was planted by Laurens van der Post, one of the founding patrons of our organization, in October 1991 at the inauguration of the Centre. Ginkgos are a living fossil, recognisably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. We could regard it is an image of the ancientness of the collective unconscious that we all carry within us.

It has various uses in traditional medicine, specifically to enhance memory and as an aphrodisiac. The seeds are also utilised as a source of food.
The leaves are unique among seed plants, being fan-shaped with veins radiating out into the leaf blade, sometimes bifurcating (splitting), but never anastomosing to form a network. The specific epithet biloba derived from the Latin bis, “two” and loba, “lobed”, refers to the shape of the leaves.

Ginkgos are prized for their autumn foliage, which is a deep saffron yellow. They are dioecious, with separate sexes, some trees being female and others being male. The fertilization of Ginkgo seeds occurs via motile sperm, as in cycads, ferns, mosses and algae. We are not sure if our Ginkgo tree is male or female. In the Jungian framework of the psyche, there is an ongoing attempt to integrate both the masculine and the feminine principles.

On Jung’s eightieth birthday in 1955, a similar Ginkgo tree was planted in the garden of his home in Zurich. This tree is thus not only symbolically a direct connection with Jung but also serves as a constant reminder of the ancientness of the collective unconscious that is part of our psyches – that aspect that has been present since time immemorial, is present now, and will continue long after we are gone, the repository of all of humankind’s experiences since the dawn of time.

After tea, some of the analysts offered their perspectives on what is unique about SAAJA and Jung, and what drew them to analytical psychology. Below are some excerpts of their contributions:

Jungian analysis means hope rather than “bad news” by Ester Haumann

A true story from Betsy Cohen’s paper Tangled up in Blue (2013, pp. 127-128):

The author describes how, before she joined the Jungian “camp” she spent many years “in consultation with a Freudian psychoanalyst. On his left shoulder was his constant companion, a pet parrot. ‘What does a patient learn after a lengthy analysis?’ I asked naively. ‘Bad news’, replied the doctor. ‘Yup, bad news,’ squawked the parrot. As the parrot parroted his master so might the therapist have been parroting his original master, Freud, who said:

If a crystal is thrown to the ground it will break into pieces, not in a random way, but according to specific fault- lines which, although invisible, have been predetermined by the structure of the crystal. This broken structure is the structure of people with psychological illness…

I remained puzzled by the doctor’s and his parrot’s parting wisdom and often asked myself, ‘are my patients really learning bad news?’

After the author became a Jungian, she discovered that the answer was “no”:

“What make crystals beautiful are faults and inclusions that add colour; the light shining through enhances the space around them. In his song Anthem, Leonard Cohen reminds us that light shines through our imperfections, our cracks.”

The causal-reductive approach of psychoanalysis is necessary and valuable, but if only that is used, the result may go no further than “bad news”. In contrast, “Jung’s approach was hermeneutic and teleological. He took the view that the search for meaning and wholeness was an inherent feature of the human psyche … In the synthetic method, there is thus felt to be a purposive element at work in the patient, and the analyst seeks to create the conditions where this can come into being” (Colman, 2010, p. 287).

Analytical psychology is inclusive and encompasses diverse approaches. This may present challenging choices for the analyst, especially where the transference-countertransference dimension of therapeutic work is concerned. But rather than foreclosing the therapeutic space, this could also open it up in a manner generative of the emergence of new meanings for both analyst and client.

Analytical Psychology offers the possibility of individuation by John Gosling

The principles of analytical psychology have provided me with a framework to contextualize and understand from a depth perspective my own and others’ psyches. It also has allowed me to appreciate and embrace the mystery of the human psyche and has encouraged me to live the mystery without needing to solve it. It provides a container that allows me to accept my flawed humanity while encouraging me to live my life as meaningfully as possible and to become the unique individual I am meant to be – the process Jung called “individuation” – a lifelong unfolding endeavour.

Jung and neuroscience by Marita de Wet

To me, it is uncanny how Jung’s intuition is now validated by Neuroscience and most rewarding to uncover the many examples of how he accurately he “predicted” the scientific findings of our day. The new view of hemispherical differences as detailed by Iain McGilchrist (The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009)) notes that the focus has shifted from “what” a hemisphere does, to “how” a hemisphere goes about it.

Compare this to Jung’s description of “two kinds of thinking” in Symbols of Transformation: “We have, therefore, two kinds of thinking: directed thinking, and dreaming or fantasy-thinking. The former operates with speech elements for the purpose of communication and is difficult and exhausting; the latter is effortless, working as it were spontaneously, with the contents ready to hand, and guided by unconscious motives. The one produces innovations and adaptation, copies reality, and tries to act upon it; the other turns away from reality, sets free subjective tendencies, and, as regards adaptation, is unproductive” (CW5:20).

He describes quite accurately the very different approaches of the two hemispheres. The directed thinking is exactly the approach of the left hemisphere: focused, linear, sequential, detailed, discriminating, abstract, scientific thinking. The right hemisphere’s approach is a broad, vigilant attention, open to what may be, grounded (embodied), circular, synthesizing.

“How else could it have occurred to man to divide the cosmos, on the analogy of day and night, summer and winter, into a bright day-world and a dark-night world peopled with fabulous monsters, unless he had the prototype of such a division in himself, in the polarity between the conscious and the invisible and unknowable unconscious?” (CW 9i:187)


What is unique about SAAJA’s training programme? (by Renee Ramsden)

  1. Vera Buhrmann has incorporated into our training teaching modules on African Traditional Healing and worldview.
  2. Ian Player has introduced into our training the psyche’s relationship to ecology and an appreciation of the spiritual and healing value of nature.

What is unique about Jung?

  1. Jung’s psychology includes the whole person, from birth, through all the developmental stages of adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, old age and death.
  2. Jung’s understanding of the archetypal world opens up the reality of the spiritual realm, through his concept of the religious function.
  3. His understanding of the archetypal underpinning of complexes opens up the necessity to understand our history, the history of other cultures and religious viewpoints.
  4. An understanding of mythology and fairytales of diverse cultures is therefore also required. This knowledge and understanding develops the capacity to be objective to the relative value of one’s own culture.
  5. An informed critique of culture results from this, in particular of the dominant culture of patriarchy, the repression of the feminine and how this contributes to abuse of women and children on an individual level. Exploring and supporting the repressed (shadow) aspects of human nature assists in healing self-esteem in both women and men, strengthening the personality to develop a more balanced outlook. (Renee Ramsden)


Outreach programme: Expressive Sandwork Project (by John Gosling)

John Gosling briefly outlined how the principles of analytical psychology are being applied to improve the lives of children in vulnerable communities. Since 2015, in collaboration with Eva Pattis-Zoya, the founder of the Expressive Sandwork method and the International Association of Expressive Sandwork (IAES), Philippa Colinese and John, with the help of Community Action towards a Safe Environment (CASE), have implemented several expressive sandwork programs in a school in Hanover Park to benefit children traumatised by their environment.