An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

Butterfly Dream Apply for Clinical Psychology

I once had a dream of a butterfly and felt how wonderful to be a butterfly. But, am I dreaming the butterfly or the butterfly dreaming me? I know during time traveling that there is another man called Sigmund Freud who tried to interpret dreams, a wonderful way of knowing yourself. He had developed this psychoanalysis method called talking cure – a face-to-face energy communication . A person who learns one’s structure is called a therapist. I believe this is a new name for the rain collector. A therapist often has this little cabin, sitting in there, most of the time doing nothing but listening, using its own inner harmonies to contain the patient, by simply listening to the patient’s materials (memory, desire). The analyst tries to help the patient free the energy (emotions, feelings, traumatic suffering), whether it is locked or as Freud called it ‘Fixation.’ By letting the energy flow properly, the material releases, the analysis thus learns the patient’s pattern, or what I call the structure. Sometimes it is not the material or the energy that goes wrong, it is the structure that we connect with the world that goes wrong, and it can pass on to our children with the same structure.

Thus, the therapist’s job is just like the rain collector who adjusts one’s structure. It is also like my butterfly dream. I and the butterfly are two objects. Our physical bodies are the materials. The dream (day dream) or what Freud called free association is the energy. By communicating, we are exchanging our unconscious, balancing our structure. That may explain why psychotherapy is so popular in China nowadays.

To know one’s own structure, you have to dive into your deepest ocean, like Kun, or let your imagination fly as Peng. Unfortunately, today many young Chinese rain collectors (young therapists) learned from the Western world where each subject was built on experimental science and divided into specific areas. It is good for the materials, however, I worry that with limited energy flows among each subject, if the structure will adjust and be updated. It is sad to see that many young therapists learn the material and the structure, but have lost the energy, the eastern energy that has been flowing for over 5000 years. We may build high buildings as high as Peng or ships as big as Kun, but that is just machines. We may never be able to swim or fly lively.

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About the Author

Xiaoyun (Sharon) MaXiaoyun Ma is a national class counselor and author based in China. Her research focus on mental health developments of individuals and specific groups. Her interests cover cross-cultural studies, gender inequalities and humanistic psychology. She has been promoting the Reflection Group for Chinese educated women via both online and offline channels. She aims to support women to break through the traditional social norms and develop their own potentials. Xiaoyun Ma grew up in a traditional Chinese family in Northern China. Other than research and practice, she has a lot of other interests including Chinese ancient dance, poetry as well as photography. She started her first career as a journalist at the China Central Television (CCTV) after graduation. During her time of further studies at the University of Leicester, she began to develop special interests in clinical psychology and keen to become a psychotherapist. In 2019, she graduated from CAPA(China American Psychoanalysis Alliance) basic and advanced training program. Today, as a practitioner, she adopts the psychodynamic approach in her private practice facilitating clients to develop their self-awareness and examine the unresolved conflicts gradually.

View all posts by Xiaoyun (Sharon) Ma

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