The Conundrum of Dependence in Analytic Settings and the Enigmatic Nature of Filial Piety

Ahead of a keynote speech at the IPA’s Asia-Pacific Conference in May, Vice President of the Taiwan Allied Centre and Secretary General of the Taiwan Study Group, Liling Lin, scrutinises the various aspects of filial piety. 

It is generally believed that in order to solve the conflict of the neurotic problem – that is, wanting to grow and get well, whilst balking at the wish of progression – the analysand needs to go through the analytic process of compulsive dependence on the analyst. The capacity to be dependent on and linked with the analyst influences both the experience and the outcome of an analytic treatment. 

When one gives oneself out to another and falls into a dependent state, the person is inevitably vulnerable. They start to feel the hope and longing for being held, taken care of, attuned to, understood and / or inspired. At the same time, he or she might experience, to a certain extent, the dread of being profoundly misunderstood, narcissistically shamed and deprived, existentially used and annihilated and / or malignantly attacked. In the consulting room, we see one after another, these courageous heroes / heroines come in and out, lingering in the narrow valleys between the mountain of hope and the mountain of dread. Different theoretical approaches and different cultures show different degrees of acceptance for the analysand’s severity and the depth of the regression; therefore, the guiding theory and the cultural aspects both affect how we handle dependence in analytic settings. 

My lecture at the IPA Asia-Pacific Conference does not intend to compare how different theories take on the view of the dependence issue, but rather, some clinical observations on the manifestation of dependence inspired me to investigate an important cultural / moral value, filial piety, in the realm of the psychic field. 

The experience of filial piety can be more universal that we think if it is put in the context of psychoanalytic thinking. However, the term is most often associated with the Chinese ethics where it comes with a sense of absolute and is too quickly attributed to its superego quality and its pragmatic aspect. My lecture is intended to scrutinise the various aspects of filial piety, especially its enigmatic nature instead of the pragmatic, in an attempt to loosen up the bond effects of it. 

Liling joins a further 5 keynote speakers at the IPA’s Asia-Pacific Conference in Tokyo over the 3rd – 5th May 2018. Registration for the conference is now open with an early-bird discount available until the 30th March. To find out more information, or to book your discounted place, visit the event registration website here