Prof. RHEE was exposed to German literature along with taking a personal interest in British, American and French psychiatry. In the beginning, he was influenced by Eugen Bleuler, Ernst Kretshmer and Kurt Kolle. Later on, as a result of the influences of Sigmund Freud, Pierre Janet and Jean-Martin Charcot, he came to believe in the emotional origins of most mental disorders which further confirmed the personal insights he had formed during late childhood. He then came across Ludwig Binswanger’s paper on ‘Inner Life History’(Binswanger 1963). After 3 or 4 years study of psychiatry, he began to understand the inner world of his patients. As a medical student he was exposed to Hermann Hesse’s novels which depict the inner world and loneliness. He also read Arthur Schopenhauer and much of Friedrich Nietzsche, Soeren Kierkegaard and Max Scheler. In the first years of his psychiatric studies, he was also introduced to Martin Heidegger’s “Sein und Zeit”(Heidegger 1927). He read almost all of the books written by Bertrand Russell(except “Principia Mathematica”), studied linguistics, psychology, cultural anthropology and was interested in the American philosophers, William James and John Dewey, plus the study of shamans/shamanism.

In 1953, he worked with a case of psychogenic headaches which he successfully treated over a period of 12 sessions(RHEE 1960). In 1954, he went to New York to study psychoanalysis on the strong recommendation and urging of an American military psychiatrist. Here, he was exposed to North American psychiatry and was analyz
-ed for six months, also attending the William Alanson White Institute as a general student for one year. After four years of study at various other institutions in the United States, he visited Europe and attended four International Congresses, including the World Philosophers’ Congress.

Upon his return to Korea at the end of 1958, he introduced dynamic psychiatry, psychotherapy and interview techniques, as well as existential psychiatry to Korea.

Since 1965, he has been studying the eastern Tao including Buddhism, Confucianism, Laotzu and Chuangtzu with prominent Buddhist monks and scholars such as Hangwon(Sungsan), Waloon, Oonheo, Kyungbong, Lee Heeick, Lee Jongick, Whang Seungki, Tanheo, Jikwan, and Jongbeom, plus other scholars of Confucianism and Laotzu and Chuangtzu like Lim Changsoon, Rhew Seungkook, Lee Jeongho, Lee Namyeong, Kim Choongyeul, Song Hangryong, Lee Kangsoo, and Choi Joongseok.

Prof. RHEE argues that in Buddhism, a Bodhisattva helps all sentient beings by fostering and providing relationship and in doing this, accommodates him/herself to the ego-strength of the sentient being congruently. The Bodhisattva becomes or embodies any kind of Object(s) needed by the sentient being(Oh 1980). Complete removal of projection through purification of the mind or the resolution of love and hate is the final goal of the Bodhisattva. In Confucianism, it is recognized as the resolution of desire; in Laotzu, as wu wei(no striving) and
in Chuangtzu, as liberation from being hung upside down. Medard Boss(Boss 1965) maintained that in terms of purification of the mind, the best western psychoanalytic training serves only as an introductory course.

In 1974, Prof. RHEE founded the Korean Psychotherapy Case Study Group, which then developed into the Korean Psychotherapy Study Group in 1976 and became the present Korean Academy of Psychotherapists(KAP) after 1979. It is at this academy that Prof. RHEE has been teaching Taopsychotherapy for approximately 30 years.



4. Major International Academic Activities

As to his international academic activities, he has presented a series of papers at international meetings;“Pro
-cess of the Tao Practice and Psychotherapy”(RHEE 1976) at the 10th meeting of the International Federation for Medical Psychotherapy(IFMP) in 1976(Paris), “The Tao, Psychoanalysis and Existentialism/Existential Thought” (RHEE 1990) at WPA in 1977(Honolulu), “The Tao and Western Psychotherapy(RHEE 1979),” at the 11th meeting of IFMP in Amsterdam, Holland, “Assimilation of Western Psychotherapy in Asia”(RHEE 1984) at the Pacific Congress of Psychiatry in 1981(Manila) and “The Tao and Western Psychotherapy” at the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatry, Taipei, Taiwan in 1982.

“The Tao, Psychoanalysis and Existential Thought/Existentialism” has been presented more than 10 times at different meetings. In May 1984, the Korean Neuropsychiatric Association(KNA) hosted the 3rd Pacific Congress of Psychiatry and Prof. RHEE was then President of KNA and the Congress.

At the 13th meeting of IFMP in Yugoslavia in 1985 and the 14th meeting of IFMP in Switzerland in 1988, he organized some symposia about “Psychotherapy in East and West”, which made a significant contribution to integration of the eastern Tao and western psychotherapy and these were both cochaired with Medard Boss.
In 1988, Prof. RHEE was elected as a member of the board of trustees of IFMP. In December 1989, he presented
“The Tao and Taoistic Intervention”(RHEE 1989) upon the request of members of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis;this conference was held in Florida, USA.

In 1991 he presented “Psychotherapy:East and West”(RHEE 1991) at the 15th meeting of IFP (the former IFMP) in Hanover, Germany, and chaired and gave lectures about “Integration of Eastern Tao and Western Psychotherapy” at two workshops held at Masaryk University in Bruno, Czechoslovakia and in Moscow, Russia and hosted by the USSR Academy of Sciences(now, the Russian Academy of Sciences).

In 1988 he lectured on “Asian Foundations of Psychotherapy:The Tao and Psychotherapy”(RHEE 1988) and on
“Assimilation of Western Psychotherapy in Asia:The Korean Case” at the plenary session of the 2nd Pan-Asia Pacific Conference on Mental Health in Beijing, China. In 2002, he chaired the workshop “The Taopsychotherapy” at the meeting of the 12th WPA(World Psychiatric Association) in Yokohama, Japan. Most recently in 2003, he led the symposium titled “Taopsychotherapy of Psychoses” at the 14th International Symposium of the Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses’(ISPS) in Melbourne, Australia.

In addition, there are simply too many other activities to enumerate.

His professional activities encompass broad areas such as psychotherapy, problems of identity and subjectivity in and of Koreans, fusion of the eastern Tao and western psychotherapy, significance of the Tao in contemporary times, relationship between the Tao and science plus, psychotherapy and traditional culture within Korea. Unlike other Eastern countries - such as Japan and India which imported psychotherapy from the west and are imitating it - much progress has been made in Korea under the leadership of Prof. RHEE by creating a fusion of traditional culture, in particular the Tao with western psychotherapy hence becoming the ultimate form of psychotherapy.
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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.