|IAAP and Earthquake Relief in Sichuan|
|News - Archive|
|Written by Administrator|
International Association for Analytical Psychology
Hester Solomon :
IAAP’s President Secretariat
Hester Solomon, President
6 October 2008
Dear friends, dear colleagues, Presidents and Members of the IAAP
Earthquake Relief Project, Sichuan Province, China
I am writing to let you know of an important and unique project which the IAAP is seeking to support with your help. This project is being organized by Professor Heyong Shen of Fudan University, currently the first and only IAAP Individual Member in China, and Professor Gao Lan of Guangzhou University, an IAAP Individual Membership router. They have brought together a team, including almost all the members of the IAAP Developing Group in China, along with other health professionals, in a sustained and remarkable humanitarian program with Jungian depth psychological perspectives. It is a very important project that is worthy of the support of our international Jungian community.
You will no doubt remember that on May 12, 2008, a very strong earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan Province, a mountainous region in Western China. Estimates are of 80, 000 deaths and 18 000 missing, with 5.12 million affected overall. Approximately 2 000 of the dead were students and teachers caught in collapsed school buildings. Clearly, massive physical and psychological devastation followed for the survivors. Buildings and basic infrastructures were destroyed and are still not fully reinstated. There is not one person in the stricken area who has not been directly affected by the disaster through loss and injury. The psychic toll in terms of emerging PTSD is enormous.
I want to let you know that Professors Heyong Shen and Gao Lan and their team from the Chinese Association of Analytical Psychology (CAAP), which includes members of the China Developing Group and other health professionals -- numbering over 120 people -- have devoted themselves tirelessly since the disaster to alleviating the suffering of the survivors, many of them children, both directly in an immediate physical and hands-on way, and psychologically, by offering sand play and other Jungian oriented therapies, including the supervision of colleagues working with the survivors. Their work has been ongoing since May, and now that they have had to return to their university responsibilities, they will continue to spend 10 days per month in Sichuan Province to supervise and support the team that remains working there.
Their story is remarkable and perhaps is unique in the history of direct participation of IAAP colleagues in such circumstances. I want you to know of the deep admiration and pride we should all feel for these outstanding colleagues and their work.
Attached to this email you will find documents relating to the project and information about how you can contribute to supporting it. At the recent IAAP / IAJS Academic Conference in Zurich in July, Professor Heyong Shen gave an account of the history of the project and the various types of support needed, which resulted in many spontaneous gestures of interest in supporting his team’s work. A version of his presentation is sent as an attachment to this email. There are also testimonies from Luigi Zoja, past IAAP President, and Eva Pattis, former Liaison Person to the China Developing Group, who recently visited the project and offered additional supervision to the colleagues there. Another attachment from Joe Cambray, IAAP President Elect and Co-Chair of the Developing Groups Sub-Committee, and Tom Kelly, IAAP Vice-President and Chair of the Individual Membership Sub-Committee, gives further information about the importance and relevance of this project and specific details about how you can make a contribution to it.
I very much hope that you will read these documents carefully and respond to this appeal in whatever ways you are able. This humanitarian project is based on a truly Jungian understanding of how the forces and energies of culture, psyche, and spirit need to work together to address psychological as well as physical suffering, and also to well being. Your contribution will give needed practical support; it will also demonstrate to our colleagues working in the stricken area in China our deeply felt admiration and encouragement to each of them personally, and to them collectively, as a group.
I request that the Presidents of the IAAP Societies distribute this communication directly to the members of their Societies.
With all my good wishes
Joe Cambray and Tom Kelly
September 25th, 2008
Ever since the terrible earthquake that hit Sichuan, China on May 12th, 2008, Heyong Shen, the first Jungian analyst in China and an Individual Member of the IAAP, Gao Lan, an IAAP Router, and their team of Routers, students, and members of the Developing Group from Guangzhou, have been working tirelessly to bring psychological help and assistance to the traumatized population of the quake area. As you will read in the accompanying reports, these Chinese colleagues have been devoting their time, energy, and resources to bring relief to the victims of this disaster.
We write to you now to ask for and encourage your support of the work of our colleagues. Parents have lost their children, including a number from single child families, as well as extended family members, and many children have been left orphaned. The images we have seen of the physical devastation leave little doubt as to the psychological trauma these people have suffered. We can only imagine their need and the relief given by attention to their psychological state.
This appeal to the IAAP Membership grew out of a spontaneous response from participants at the IAAP – IAJS conference in Zurich in July. After Heyong Shen’s moving presentation of his team’s work, including their use of such Jungian approaches as sandtray to provide psychological assistance to the quake victims, participants spontaneously offered donations to support these efforts. Since then, some societies have asked how their members could make donations. We thought IAAP members would appreciate the opportunity to know of our colleagues’ vital work in dire circumstances and to contribute by extending a supportive and helping hand to Heyong and his team. Every donation, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated and will be put to good use.
Donations can be made through several channels. To facilitate the process, a PayPal account with the Foundation C. G. Jung Institutes for Alumni, Supporters, and Friends, a tax exempt organization, has been established so that donations can be made directly through the internet. You can access the FCGJI website at www.fcgji.org; use the “Donations” link in the menu and click the PayPal “Donate” button to give to the Chinese Earthquake Relief Fund. PayPal is an efficient and secure method of making a donation. You may also reach the Foundation’s Relief Fund webpage from the IAAP site at www.iaap.org. Donations for IAAP members from the United States can be tax deductible. Alternatively you can send a donation directly to the IAAP secretariat either by check or if by credit card, at the following fax : +41 44 272 96 06. Please state clearly that this is a donation for the China relief project.
On behalf of the Developing Groups, Individual Membership and Fundraising Sub-Committees, we would like to thank you, in advance, for your support of this most worthy cause.
With very best wishes,
For the Fundraising Sub-Committee:
Luigi Zoja and Eva Pattis
Dr. Luigi Zoja
30 August 2008
We have recently travelled to the Province of Sichuan, China, where Heyong Shen and Gao Lan are working. Heyong Shen is the first Individual Member IAAP analyst in China. Gao Lan, his wife, has worked for many years with the UNICEF programs and is a IAAP router. Both are University Professors of Psychology.
Sichuan was at the heart of the recent catastrophic earthquake. Since the first day of the quake, May 12th 2008, Heyong Shen and Gao Lan – in spite of their being already more than full time professionals - have started spending 10 days every month in the worst hit region, recruiting volunteers (mostly our Developing Group members and university students of psychology) to work with the traumatized survivors.
To give just one example: a combined middle and high school in the mountain city of Beichuan (centre of the quake) had 3,000 students; only 1,300 survived. The children spent the first 20 hours digging with their hands for their classmates, some of them still screaming under the rubble. Only gradually did official help come: first water, food and medical help, then tents, then barracks. As we know, China is quickly becoming wealthier, and has a tradition of efficiency in many fields and a tradition of group collaboration. What, however, is unavoidably missing, is psychological help. In Beichuan alone, hundreds of children have lost their parents: yet, during the weeks after the catastrophe those traumatized kids were not able to speak to anybody about anything. As we believe not only in the importance of the body, but also of the soul, it is self evident to all of us how decisive the engagement of Heyong Shen and Gao Lan is. They hold group discussions, recounting of dreams, sandplay, drawing, whatever the circumstances permit. These colleagues now have to train volunteers at a desperate rate, as they are fighting a flood of traumatized people, so-to-say, with spoons.
Tragedy within the tragedy: in the Beichuan valley an ethnic minority, the Qiang People (qiang = sheep or goat) has existed since the third Millennium BCE. (Their cult has been connected by scholars with the ancient Greek cult of Pan, and they even play a similar flute) Because of the pressure of modernisation and of poverty, the Qiang have already lost great parts of their culture and language. But they could virtually become extinct in the next few years: of the several tens of thousands who have died in the quake, the greatest percentage belongs to the new generation.
Well educated Westerners (as we analysts mostly are) tend to regard with a critical eye the shrinking of cultural minorities under the priority given to fast modernisation in China. We think that we have here an occasion to prove to what extent our concern is sincere.
Each of us has different possibilities to help the work of our Chinese colleagues:
- “adopting” a school child of the Qiang population for the next 3 years. Heyong Shen and Gao Lan will guarantee that those children are provided not only with basic material needs but also with books and other requirements for continuing studies, with transportation to the few surviving relatives in the mountains, and with psychological support for recovering from the trauma. The sum for each month will be 50 € EUR for 2 to 3 years. Every 3 months, our colleagues will provide a regular updating and the child will write a personal letter to you. Since their ages are between 12 and 18, it is likely that a personal relationship could be established over the time. (For the moment, no foreign visitor can officially obtain access to the earthquake area. We had a lot of difficulties, but at the end we were allowed to get in to do psychological supervision).
- you can donate the sum you want to the project as a whole: it will help to finance the existing three “work stations” (the Garden of the Heart & Soul as discussed in Heyong’s presentation which accompanies this letter) or to create a new one. The “work station” will be at schools, orphanages, and communities.
- If you cannot – or prefer not – to donate money, an alternative generous offer on your part could be to provide some training or supervision via email or Skype to those volunteers who speak enough English and are facing the task of helping huge numbers of children and adolescents. This would be possible for the volunteers who stay in the earthquake zone for longer periods. Also general training for the volunteers before they start for the mission is needed and could be organized via Skype.
- you can send books in English: psychology for the volunteers, fiction for the youth. Articles on psychology (i.e. with a Jungian perspective on trauma) by email are also welcome.
We have suggested that the university students of Gao Lan and Heyong Shen do research on the Qiang culture (their music, dance, rituals, and myths in any case are in urgent need of being recorded and classified before it is too late) in order to include those findings in the psychotherapeutic help provided to the children in the next years. As Jungians we know how much psychological health depends on cultural identity. This research project will start at Fudan University and South China Normal University in October 2008.
We invite you to reflect on the fact that your intervention will provide decisive help not only for the continuation of single individual lives, but also – an extremely rare and valuable occurrence – for the survival of a very ancient culture.
IAAP International Association for Analytical Psychology