Henry: Good morning. Jan.
Jan: Good morning, Henry. We want to begin our session with an active imagination.
Henry: Imagine that you have been invited to a strange country to meet a group of people to whom you must explain the essence of analytical psychology. You set off on this journey…what will happen? (90 seconds)
Jan: The theme of our paper is Supervising Away From Home. Henry, will you begin and say something about what home is for you?
Henry: Home is both a place and a cluster of feelings about that place. It provides a natural container for the Self. When I am feeling most grounded and most at peace, then I am home. The Japanese kanji for home is said to represent a roof over a pig, since nothing is as at home as a pig in its sty.
Home holds together archetypes of both Mother and Father: the security and nest-warmth of the maternal, and boundary separating inner from outer of the paternal; strong walls around the warm hearth. The tension between these masculine and feminine aspects of home is expressed in a poem by Robert Frost. A farmer says to his wife:
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.
But she counters that home is:
Something you somehow haven’t had to deserve
(Frost  2002, pp. 164-5).
The archetypal voyage from and to home can be seen in the symbolism of home plate in baseball. Home plate is where we start from and where we seek to return, around the bases of the life cycle to complete our archetypal journey. A haiku by Basho (1976, p. 77), expresses the bonding between origin and homecoming:
Coming home at last
At the end of the year,
I wept to find
My old umbilical cord
Jan, what are your associations to ‘home’?
Jan: I think of a heartland where like you, there are archetypal predispositions for feeling safe in an atmosphere of familiarity; the smells are recognizable; there is a shared cultural understanding even in a multi-ethnic atmosphere. Britain is an island and provides a larger container for me around my own experiences of home, especially since my parents were offered refuge there during the 2nd World War. I like the German author and poet, Christian Morgenstern’s (, 1918, Chapter 14) idea that, home is not where you live, but where they understand you. His sentiments seem similar to your Robert Frost quotation.
The SAP in London has been my professional home – where I did my training, lived in a close (and sometime closed!) analytic community with mostly shared values that have been gradually internalized. I think I am understood there. With Homer’s Odyssey in mind and the idea of a challenging journey, I am drawn to Renos Papadopoulos’s (2002, p.13) idea that home is made up of two opposites, a longing for the earth, the ground, the land – things which are tangible – but also with less
tangible forms, what Papadopoulos calls ‘the smoke’ and what I call ‘the smells’.
Some of my colleagues choose to keep working close to home, in agreement with Jane Austen (, 2014, p. 148) that,
There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort
For me, the urge to leave home, to explore beyond the familiar, however discomforting, has always been strong; an impetus for adventure and for the challenges of a pioneer, treading new paths and preparing the stony ground for those who may follow. I agree with you that associations to the idea of home are paradoxical; we yearn for it with nostalgia when we are away, but for some of us – and I suspect this is true for us both – the new experiences we have when we leave home, in this case to supervise, can bring rewarding encounters that can be life-changing.
Two books have had a significant influence on me in preparation for this dialogue. Surprisingly, neither are analytic texts. Recently, I read Colm Toibin’s (2009) book, Brooklyn. The protagonist, Eilis, expresses vividly her experiences of leaving her Irish home and her intense often physical experiences of homesickness,
real fear or dread, or worse, towards the thought that I am going to lose this world forever…….that the rest of my life would be a struggle with the unfamiliar (Toibin 2009, p. 29-30)
Homesickness for Eilis went hand in hand with feeling alone. She settled, found a boyfriend, but then returned home when her sister died. Tony, her boyfriend, remarks ‘if you go back, you won’t come back’ (p. 196). This resonates with the tensions when supervising abroad between our homesickness as visiting supervisors and the often unspoken anxieties of those we supervise, ‘can we be sure YOU will return?’ The implications for the kinds of attachments supervisees make to us raise questions for me about our models of work as ‘shuttle’ supervisors.
My second text is William Fiennes’ (2002, p. 204) beautiful book, The Snow Geese. He writes about managing homesickness when in the presence of homing birds in the Arctic tundra:
Somehow I had to turn my nostalgia inside out, so that my love for the house, for the sense of belonging …..instilled …a desire to find that sense of…..security and happiness in some other place.
Our conversation about the meaning of home and homesickness provides a central framework for the emotional impact of supervising abroad, working, in what Catherine Crowther and I (2002, p 286) call ‘an interactive field of strangeness’ or what Renos Papadopoulos (2002, p. 15) calls an atmosphere of ‘nostalgic disorientation’. Henry, how do you feel about your work as a supervisor when away from home?
Henry: To cope with interactive fields of strangeness and nostalgic disorientation, I tried to create a symbolic home away from home. During my visits, I would stay at the same hotel, or neighborhood. In retrospect, I realize I was seeking an island of continuity when I was a stranger in a strange land. In preparation, I would try to see films and read, trying to enter into the cultural collective and understand key themes or historical turning points. As an anthropologist who had done fieldwork in exotic places, I knew my task was to make the familiar exotic and the exotic familiar.
Jan, you have written extensively about supervision. What do you think is the essence of supervision?
Jan: Supervision has thankfully evolved from what Balint (1948) critically called superego training – telling people how to do it – to a more relational model. The word ‘super-vision’ is really an unfortunate term, implying a configuration of one who knows better working with one who knows very little. I began to supervise too early for my own good, before I had sufficient time to mourn my identity as a trainee and develop a secure style of practice with my patients. It is a pleasure to see now the growth of courses on supervision in the Jungian world; they set off my envy and the nostalgic wish that these had been available when I first began to supervise.
For me, supervision is rather ‘another vision’, and I see myself like a Bain Marie (a way of cooking delicate dishes in water in the oven) for my supervisees, hoping that they will ‘cook’ gradually and gently during their training at the right pace and temperature so that when they emerge from the training ‘oven’ and are ready to qualify, they will have internalized their own styles of working and enough of an analytic and ethical attitude to practice independently.
I often find supervising more difficult than analyzing and what comes to mind immediately are Louis Zinkin’s (1996, p. 240 ) words, supervision can be a delight, but may often be a torment
I completely agree. With gifted therapists and analysts, supervision is a pleasure, drawing on three archetypal predispositions – to contain, to play and to initiate (Perry 2003, p. 193-201). More problematic, is to make distinctions between those trainees who are gifted but need more time to develop and those who may not be suited to therapeutic work. Verena Kast has written about shame in supervision and how exposing it is to present our clinical work to another. This may lead to defences in supervision such as supervisees who hide both themselves and their work; others who compete for who knows best; and those who mimic their supervisors rather than integrate the supervisory relationship..
Supervising is more challenging because I find it more difficult to process my own countertransference affects, uncertain about what comes from the therapist/patient relationship; what from the personal complexes of the supervisee; what from the setting of the therapy and what from my own (hopefully reasonably conscious) shadow, generally involving issues of power and authority.
There is always some auxiliary analysis in supervision. Sometimes, this sits comfortably but on other occasions, skill is needed to disentangle whether supervisees’ complexes have been evoked in their transference to me, or whether they are rather enactments from the therapeutic relationship that make themselves felt first in supervision. These are the ‘hotspots’ that make supervision both so interesting but also challenging. I tend not to ask supervisees to take complexes that emerge in supervision to their analysts. These appear in supervision and I try to deal with them in supervision.
If in difficulty, I draw on two key images to help me. First, Hawkins and Shohet’s (1989, p. 47) image of the supervisor who requires helicopter ability, being able to move in close at times, but also knowing when to pull away to a broader perspective. I draw too on Henderson’s (1998, p. 65) archetype of the hermit emphasizing the isolation of the supervisor, especially when carrying responsibility for evaluating trainees’ progress. The hermit echoes the loneliness and strangeness we feel when visiting cities away from home where,
we do not know what is supporting and holding us until we no longer possess it. (D’Rozario 2001, p. 215).
Recently, I heard an interview with a talented British concert pianist, Christian Blackshaw, who talked of the tensions between his loyalty to the music on the one hand and his need for a freedom of expression on the other; of how best to combine in his performances, his knowledge with spontaneity. His ideas as a pianist are not so far away from mine as a supervisor.
Henry: Jan, I agree that supervision is more complex than analysis and yet I find it easier, more like being a grandmother than a parent. Most of the work I have done in Eastern Europe is group supervision and this adds extra layers of complexity – the group dynamics, their relationship and transferences to me as a supervisor or in my cultural identities as an Israeli, Canadian and Jew with a beard . Also, the goal of group supervision is less focused on helping the trainee understand and manage a specific case, but rather, educational, linking clinical, theoretical and experiential dimensions to help everyone in the group to prepare for future cases by stimulating their analytical muscles. Supervising at home, I am relaxed. I can let the process proceed at its own pace, Not every session needs to be dramatic. But away from home, I experience a special, performance-persona anxiety. Coming from far away and carrying group projections as magician or wise old man, I felt an adrenalin-fed impulse to perform the wisdom of the Self and not to disappoint these routers and their passions.
Working across cultures requires clarity about the limits of flexibility. The key issue is to know when to be flexible and when not. We all have our Jungian superego, the internalized collective voice of what Jungian analysis should be like. It forced me to clarify my position on many substantive issues and to understand which were essential and which needed to be adapted to local practice. Understanding the power dynamics of supervision may be the greatest challenge when working in different cultural settings.
Managing time in group supervision was often problematic. Translation would cut the time in half. I also wanted to give the presenter enough space to present in depth and to invite the members of the group to actively join in but I have learned that I must leave time for myself, both as a commentator, and supervisor but also to deal with often strange group dynamics. In the beginning I was too ‘nice’ and time expired before I had my say. Now, I try to hold the opposites, thinking should I be the first to speak, or last to speak, both, or neither? The hardest thing emotionally when doing supervision away from home is when everyone in the group is speaking all at once and I do not know what they are saying or why they are so excited. When things calm down, I say, ‘Let’s all stay together’. I ask what has stirred people up; sometimes there is only silence. It has taken time to accept my helplessness. Later, I may come to understand that it is a cultural issue that is difficult to explain to an outsider; sometimes, there are active tensions within the training group; or sometimes it resolves around a key word that is untranslatable.
In your recent book, Jan, I wrote:
even with the best of translations, visiting analysts have serious difficulty comprehending untranslatable terms and their cultural associations (Abramovitch 2015, p. 62).
It may surprise you that Hebrew has no word for ‘mind or ‘solitude’, nor makes a distinction between ‘envy’ and ‘jealousy’. But Israeli Hebrew has a unique style of speaking, called dugri, or ‘straight talk’ saying what you really think without worrying too much about the other person’s feelings. In many cultures, such straight talk is considered rude. But dugri reflects an Israeli cultural complex that relationships are robust and can withstand conflict. In supervision, it happened that I would teach the group the meaning of dugri and ask a struggling supervisee, ’Say what you mean, dugri?’ Dugri facilitated a refreshing directness in cultures that favor indirectness.
An opposing danger is knowing what is distorted in the translation. Translation hides as much as it reveals. For example, the translator for a Russian supervisee said in English, ‘her patient said I feel like your friend’. I inquired about the original Russian word and was told, it was drug. In Russian, drug implies an intense, demanding, enduring relationship that is both exhilarating and exhausting. In Soviet times, your drug was the one person one could choose freely. They often took the place of missing brothers and sisters. The transference implications for me as supervisor are profoundly revised when I understand the patient is not talking about a ‘friend’ in the English sense, but a drug with all its Russian depth. Such experiences sensitized me to try to comprehend the untranslatable.
Since we are in Kyoto, I will give a Japanese example:
Kintsukuroi – literally ‘to repair with gold’ – the art of repairing pottery with gold lacquer understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
Kintsukuroi, as a cultural concept, reveals how a wound, whether in ceramics or in the psyche, should not be plastered over or repaired, but rather highlighted and made precious. Understanding the concept of ‘to repair with gold’ would be important when supervising Japanese therapists.
Endings away from home forced me to reflect on the nature of endings and their cultural performance. I came to enjoy the Russian tradition of sitting in silence before my journey home. It made me contemplate my own endings, not only when I left the foreign lands, but later when I returned home and ended each session.
Jan: Henry, you raise a number of issues and I would like to comment on four:
Time for Reverie
Both you and I usually have a great deal of energy but your comments about time and space remind me of how tiring it was visiting St Petersburg four or five times a year happening as it did at weekends, alongside our work and patients at home. I wondered about the effect this could have on our Russian supervisees and how the idealizations you mention might have inhibited our supervisees expressing what it was like for them to have to work at weekends and comply with OUR program. Natasha Alexandrova (2011) was a supervisee in St Petersburg, travelling from Moscow nearly every month for her supervision – leaving her young child at home. She compared our weekend visits with the ‘soviet infant’ who in Soviet times was treated in a purely functional, medical way, so that newborn babies only saw their mothers at strictly scheduled feeding times, five times a day, twenty minutes at a time, and breastfeeding mothers could still work in the factories. She talks of ‘a special maternal conveyor’ (p. 642) to avoid any interruptions at work. Alexandrova then comments on the lack of space for mother’s reverie running back and forth between factory and baby. It is not difficult to see the analogy here as Alexandrova compares the Soviet factory mother with her experience of our team of six visiting shuttle supervisors as breastfeeding, working mothers,
like our strong and vigorous mothers, our supervisors…had to get up at 5 in the morning to meet the ‘feeding’ schedule; they flew into a different time zone to have their working day start three hours earlier. And then went back to their London work till the next ‘feeding break’ (Alexandrova, 2011, p. 643).
Under such circumstances, there can be no time for the kind of reverie and creative time-wasting that is of the essence in both analytic work and supervision. What ‘they’ really needed was ‘us’ and our capacity to tune into their needs for time and space. One benefit of working with interpreters was the inevitable slowing-down of the process, so that there was more time to think and for the leisured reverie to which Alexandrova refers.
Henry, I like very much your explorations of language.. Bringing in Israeli ‘straight talk’ led to an association of my own around arrivals and departures; how to meet up and how to say goodbye. I took some Russian lessons and developed a sense of the music of the Russian language, even if my use of it is limited. On arrival, I would smile, make eye contact and say ‘hello’ in Russian; either the more formal Zdravstvuite or the less formal Privet or Zdorovo. When we came to say goodbye, I would say Do svidaniya or Do vstrechi (till the next time). It felt very important when our arrivals were followed by substantial gaps in time and the next meeting some time away.
I realized that unlike us in the UK, Russians use very little phatic language. Phatic language or ‘phatic communion’ is a term coined by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1923) to refer to what we in English would call ‘small talk’, language that is used to share feelings and establish a mood of sociability – especially important when meeting up and leaving. I believe that the Japanese call phatic language Aizuchi and in Persia, it is called Taarof.
Henry: Canadians often do this by adding an “eh?” at the end of a sentence, eh?
Jan: I had to discover which of my own analytic values to hold sacrosanct and which to adapt. I had to find out where my supervisees were, psychologically, clinically and culturally and modify my approach accordingly. Like you, I supervised mainly in small groups, believing this would help supervisees listen and learn from each other. However, at the beginning, this was difficult especially in a culture where such high value is placed on didactic teaching. The effects on generations of Eastern Europeans living in oppressive political regimes meant that the internalized dictator was never far from the surface in the individual psyche. Initially, supervisees would stand up to speak in the group, and were intolerant of the clinical presentations of their colleagues. I tried to model a democratic approach of attentive listening with a non-critical, relational demeanor. Inevitably, this did not always work and I became caught up unhelpfully with their dynamics. I valued late night debriefs with Catherine Crowther, my travelling colleague, to reflect together on powerful and puzzling dynamics. I have wondered whether a classically-based Jungian approach is better suited to shuttle projects given our irregular visits. My own largely developmental model emphasizing as it does, the importance of early experiences, of defence mechanisms, psychopathology and on transference dynamics in the service of individuation, seems to work better in situations with greater frequency and continuity of meetings. Recently, when giving IAAP exams in a Russian city, I reflected with amusement about why it was that all the women chose as the theme of their written papers ‘animus development’ and the men ‘escape from the
Like you, I emphasized the establishment of good boundaries and a sound frame in which an analytic relationship could develop. I do not believe that anyone can be an analyst without understanding transference or indeed countertransference and we tried through giving of ourselves in clinical presentations to help supervisees to learn to use themselves and bear the uncertainties of ‘not knowing’.
Productive meeting points came from comparison between Russian and English fairy tales which helped supervisees to process the huge amounts of trauma and loss in the Russian patient population. I have been impressed with the work of other visiting supervisors, such as Marta Tebaldi in Hong Kong, who has worked extensively on the development of new and culturally appropriate learning techniques.
Cultural Complexes and Bi-Directionality
Unlike you, Henry, I have not been trained in cultural competencies. However, cross-cultural encounters in supervision do bring emotionally powerful experiences of turmoil, awe and despair. If they can be survived, they are wonderful opportunities for learning, for ‘moments of meeting’ and for moving forward – both for supervisor and supervisee.
Our thinking about supervising abroad owes a great debt to those who developed the concepts of a cultural unconscious, and cultural complexes (Kimbles and Singer, 2004; Kaplinsky, 2015; Rasche and Singer, 2016). Singer’s (, 2016) distinction between a cultural complex, cultural identity and the soul of the country and overlaps between them has great relevance, especially in groups emerging after years of oppression.
Henry: Supervisors’ Responses
As part of our research for this paper, and because we have both supervised routers and others in only a limited number of different countries, we decided to embark on a piece of qualitative research asking the views of a sample of 40 supervisors who had worked abroad in Developing Groups in Eastern Europe, China and Asia, South America and North Africa. We were touched by the enthusiasm with which these supervisors answered the questions we posed, as if all were waiting for an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about their experiences. We will write up this research in more detail, but here is a short overview of our findings.
Jan: Henry and I were struck that the visiting supervisors began to work without knowing what to expect but with an attitude of curiosity, excitement tinged with anxiety and a real sense of adventure. People talked in their different ways of their first impressions involving experiences of culture shock and how unprepared they felt:
Henry: ‘The deep motivation and passion for Jungian analysis….a slow awakening from years of oppression and a people who were tough and had suffered a lot’.
Jan: ‘I was disconcerted by being so hugely venerated…as though I was an exotic creature from another world
Henry: ‘half the cases I supervised were the children of mid-level functionaries of the Chinese Communist Party at the time of the [Cultural] Revolution and all were, in a way, psychological orphans’.
Jan: ‘the social conventions were other and I had to reconsider everything in order to understand clinical situations. I had to forget everything I knew’.
Henry: ‘the enormous hunger and gratitude for our hands-on experience of doing clinical work…I was moved by the very recent history of hardship, conflict and social upheaval that all of post-Soviet space has endured’.
Jan: the different psychological difficulties in China; the different images that shape them and my own unawareness of the cultural aspects of some of these difficulties’.
There were mixed views about the usefulness of supervisors’ home training and experience as foundation-stones to take with them abroad:
Henry: ‘training does not prepare us for managing the unexpected or the unfamiliar unless we play defensively with how we conceive of ourselves as analysts’.
Jan: ‘the discipline and rigor of my own training and then years of experience to find my own way of working with very different client groups, helped me to be flexible in a culture with was very ‘other’ to me’.
Jan: When reading about the effects on supervisors of coming home, it was evident that many felt these encounters with difference affected profoundly their ways of working, challenging long-held clinical practices in their home countries:
Henry: ‘by the end of the program, I think that having been exposed to so many different perspectives and ways of working allowed me to know better how I wanted to work’.
Jan: ‘to be more flexible and open-minded about our professional standards…more convinced that the quality of authenticity of the relationship is the most mutative factor for healing’.
Henry: ‘I have come to realize that in some areas of my work, I need to be more tolerant and accepting of difference and in others there is a need for greater clarity and implementation of ethical standards and practice’.
Jan: ‘the whole experience of encountering difference means that I now feel freer to trust being flexible and to use myself more actively as an analyst and a supervisor’.
Henry: ‘you become half a stranger in your own country…your cultural horizon widens and you relativize your culture of belonging’.
Jan: The clinical and cultural challenges encountered mirror some of those Henry and I have already described but they were expressed in very individual ways. What was clear was how difficult it was for our respondents to separate out whether challenges were specifically clinical or cultural when usually, they were intertwined:
Henry: ‘the awkwardness I felt when entering into aspects of both sexuality and religion’.
Jan: ‘the resistance of some trainees who resented being taught by Westerners and used cultural difference as a weapon in a power battle’.
Henry: ‘I recalled Gert Sauer saying that supervision in post-Soviet space is done with traumatized patients in a traumatized society’.
Jan: ‘difficulties were language, the intensity of their unconscious contents and emotions; the great responsibility towards the complete trust and positive expectation the Chinese have towards a Western analyst’.
Henry: ‘fear that beyond my conscious intention I could colonize the mind of the supervisee instead of encouraging him/her to explore the field of the relationship that lay in the in-between of supervision practice’
Jan: ‘the fear of authority to an almost paranoid extent would permeate both trainees’ work with the supervisors and with their patients’.
Jan: Clearly, good interpreters with a grasp of Jungian language facilitated the supervision process. Henry, I think you and other supervisors have illustrated so beautifully the beneficial discussions to be had in supervision about the meaning of words cross-culturally. Similar sentiments were expressed by those supervisors working in countries where neither supervisor not supervisee worked in their first language, making meaning, albeit it slowly in a language that was less familiar.
For visiting supervisors then, there was usually an observable process from an initial experience of nostalgia for home and disorientation leading to experiences of feeling de-skilled, feelings of not-knowing but somehow a wish to bear this and remain open to unfamiliar experiences. Later, there developed gradual understanding in supervision and the re-establishment of precious values from home and those that needed to be adapted. This provides evidence for Cambray’s (2015, p. 33) original work on bi-directionality when ‘we allow ourselves to grow beyond our inherited constraints’. Our findings leave questions of how this process affects the ease with which we can evaluate competently the stages of development of supervisees in from other cultures and how we can train future supervisors more adequately.
Henry: Supervisees’ Responses
We also surveyed about 30 supervisees, mostly people we knew or had supervised, but we made an effort to contact routers in countries we had never visited, such as China or Taiwan. In the supervisees’ questionnaire, we included a particular question: ‘What have you learned from being supervised by a supervisor coming from abroad that has affected your clinical practice in your home country?’
Almost all supervisees noted how cultural differences impacted on the process of supervision, and ‘understanding images and symbols from different cultural perspectives’. One supervisee from Eastern Europe wrote:
it seemed impossible for me to explain the realities of our life to those who never lived here…and the scale of the collective trauma.
Supervisees needed to provide detailed explanations of amplifications used from films, books, songs, myths and their meaning in their culture. Culturally specific issues of formal and informal address, greetings, as you Jan discussed, hierarchy and status, holidays, privacy, were also mentioned.
Significantly, these cultural differences made locals more sensitive to their own culture and national myth. One respondent said,
I have learned that the supervisor from other cultures could help us be more sensitive and insightful toward our own living culture. The efforts we make to try to explain and analyze our own culture to the supervisor are helpful for clinical understanding
Another router wrote,
when I work with people from different cultures, even though they speak my language, I try to keep in mind that they may look at things differently……that is, they may see a bright ideal where I see a shadow manifestation or vice versa.’
Another wrote that,
supervision with a foreigner helped me accept my cultural identity.
Supervision provided a place to think. As another router put it, supervision was
where one had a right not to know something
Almost all respondents stated clearly that they learned ‘great respect for therapeutic frames’, as well as to work clinically with transference and countertransference and often with archetypal images. Many said they benefited from having supervisors from different theoretical orientations.
Beyond the sometimes disturbing cultural divide, many routers reaffirmed how much is common in the human psyche and how ‘cultural differences were not unbridgeable’
I learned that we are all very similar in our uniqueness
and another added,
understanding is a process that doesn’t have so much to do with the language, culture and way of thinking but rather with deep emotional and intuitive connection with a person you are in relation with and where deepest contents can be shared and understood even without the ‘right’ words
One router who is now a new IAAP member summed up how the supervision process could work at its best,
It was an alchemical process of transformation…it was like my birth as an analyst
Ending or Beginning?
Jan: You and I have reflected together on the personal pleasures and pitfalls of this work; our thoughts and feelings, each from our own point of view, with our own cultural style, English and Israeli. It is striking though that what we are doing here is also part of something larger – an emergent field of strangeness that is perhaps no longer quite so strange! This year, a new book edited by Rasche and Singer (2016) was published called Europe’s Many Souls: Exploring Cultural Complexes and Identities; there is Marta Tebaldi’s (2016) book written together with a group of routers from Hong Kong (2016), called Stories of Transcultural Identities: Jungians in Hong Kong’; John Merchant’s research evaluating the router programs; and my own book too, edited together with Catherine Crowther (2015) called From Tradition to Innovation: Jungian Analysts working in Different Cultural Settings. So, we are not the only ones wishing to process our overseas adventures and evaluate our experiences and cultural competencies when supervising abroad. While some router projects have ended with new Societies forming, there is also something new beginning. There is much to be learned about diversity. In the words of the Italian journalist, Tiziano Terzani (2006):
only if we look at the universe as a whole in which each part reflects the totality and where the great beauty lies in diversity will we begin to understand who we are and where we are
When supervising abroad, I have tried to convey my values concerning the essence of Jungian analysis, Struggling together in languages that are not our own, in cities that smell different, and with social mores that have been ‘other’, means that learning is always two-way.
Like Odysseus, returning home to the SAP after these adventures has not always been easy. My encounter with ‘otherness’ has brought a new interest in diversity, a sharper focus on the effects and clashes of cultural complexes and identity in my own consulting room and less allegiance to the theory and practices held sacrosanct in my own institute. I am changed and sometimes this may not be easy for my SAP colleagues. To end with Rilke (2009, p. 56-57),
for when the traveller returns from the mountain slopes into the valley, he brings, not a handful of earth, unsayable to others, but instead some word gained, some pure word, the yellow and blue gentian.
Henry: Jan, your lovely Rilke quote highlights how we have been enriched from our going out and our returning home. That cycle of home-leaving and home-coming reminds me of the Hasidic story of Moishe, a poor Jew who dreams he must travel from his tiny village to the great city of Warsaw and dig under a bridge where he will find a treasure. In Warsaw, he is confronted by a frightening policeman who demands to know what he is doing there. Moishe tells his story; the policeman laughs, ‘Ah, if I believed in dreams I would have to go to this Jewish village and dig in the backyard of some Moishe’s house’. Moishe returns home and finds the treasure that was waiting for him but which he had to leave home to discover.
Before ending, I want to return to the opening active imagination. I am curious what came up for each of you; for me a single word emerged from my imagination. It was not ‘archetype’ or ‘individuation’, but ‘and’. ‘And’ is a word that holds words and things and people and even opposites together. It is accessible and ‘experience near’ and emphasizes an emotional attitude of accumulation and abundance. ‘And’ is a working metaphor that guided me supervising away from home. To add my theory to their experience, to add food and depth so routers could grow into themselves.
Elena Bortuleva (2014) describes when a caregiver gives the baby the fullness it requires, drop by drop, to transform pitanije (nurturing with food) into vospitanije (nurturing with truly human experiences). Our nurturing, allowed supervisees to be nourished, then to nourish themselves and later, to nurture their own supervisees. ‘And’, so we the supervisors away from home have been nourished.as well.
Since we are away from home, in Kyoto, I want to end with another poem of Basho (1967) about being in Kyoto:
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.
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