Birth of Taopsychotherapy

1. What is Taopsychotherapy?

To describe what Taopsychotherapy encompasses - in the ways it has been conceived of and pioneered by Prof. RHEE Dongshick - we could quite simply state that Taopsychotherapy is Prof. RHEE’s psychotherapy of fusing the eastern Tao with western psychotherapy.

But in accepting this simple definition it is perhaps useful to go further than this, in order to better understand the deeper intentions which lie within Taopsychotherapy.

Professor Kim Choongyeol sent the poem below as congratulations for Prof. RHEE’s Gohi(70th Birthday).

The Tao does not transform Man,
But only Man can make manifest the Tao.

And so, the flourishing or perishing of the Tao
Depends on whether such a Taoistic Man appears or not.

It is more than one hundred years since the invasion of the East by the West
And I have despaired that the eastern Tao may disappear.

Heaven has sent us this Man
And let him rotate the wheel of the Tao.

With these words in mind, we really need to gain some insight into Prof. RHEE’s life and the influential
experiences he has had, both as a Korean man and a psychotherapist.

2. Prof. RHEE’s Insight into Emotional Problems

He has worked for 62 years as a psychiatrist and 51 years as a psychotherapist.

He has conducted numerous psychotherapy sessions on a weekly basis throughout most of his life- time and at one stage, was seeing patients for up to 79 hours per week.

In his paper titled “The Integration of East and West Psychotherapy”(RHEE 1993), he described aspects of his development before he began studying psychiatry. He says he realized as a child that human happiness depends upon the resolution of emotional problems and he was able to discern genuineness from hypocrisy. He also stated that during his childhood, he was noticed as ‘well versed’ in life - like a Buddhist monk - and in fact throughout his life, he has rarely apologized, shown little International Forum on Taopsychotherapy and Western Psychotherapy remorse and never taken revenge.

3. His Experiences and Influences as a Psychotherapist

In this paper, he also described his experiences and the various influences on his growth as a psychotherapist. He began studying psychiatry in 1942 at Seoul(then Keijo Imperial) University, when the Second World War was under way.

At that time the Japanese occupied every leading position in every area; psychiatry was no exception. There was not a single Korean professor in any university in Seoul. The Japanese psychiatry being practised was organic psychiatry, of the Kraepelinian tradition.
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※ Ten-Oxen-Pictures illustrate the process of purification of mind. Pictures of this site are Ten-Oxen-Pictures of Songgwangsa Temple.