Psychoanalysis in Korea

ICP|The Institute for Clinical Psychoanalysis

     So far, it has been very difficult to get psychoanalysis training in Korea.  There was doctor-centric psychoanalysis training, but it was not easy. For example, there were only a few who earned international qualification as psychoanalysts, even among doctors. With long-term efforts, we made great achievements for the development of psychoanalysis in Korea, including what educational analysts among Korean doctors who can give analytical training in at IPA, and the Korea branch of IPA is now qualified to train psychoanalysts. Since psychoanalytic training is long and difficult training, indeed, it is commonly considered to have a high entry barrier. Psychoanalysis training at IPA is still only open to doctors and psychology majors, except in rare cases.  Therefore, it was almost impossible to provide psychoanalysis training to various people who seek psychoanalytic training or seek to care for others’ minds through psychoanalysis.


     For this reason, except for the trends IPA trends mentioned above, psychoanalytic training courses so far in Korea did not provide adequate and sufficient training for psychoanalysis as a clinical tool. Because of the high barrier, we did not have any appropriate psychoanalysts available to provide training to general clinicians. Although many research institutes and schools tried their best to provide training, there was not been enough practical training to provide clinical psychoanalysis. However, these courses have contributed to the development and expansion of clinical psychoanalysis in Korea, and we expect continuous contribution from them in the future.


     Currently, in the global view, the trend of using psychoanalysis as a clinical tool is diverse, from the IPA, which was founded by Freud, to the associations of each school and region, including ones based in the United Kingdom, the United States, and South America. Some of the associations belong to IPA while others have pioneered their own paths apart from IPA.  In addition, depending on the region, there are psychoanalysts who have backgrounds as psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as pedagogy, counseling, theology, humanities, and other areas. Some are linked to the legal system of the country or local government, and others are operating in independent association-centered systems.  The NAAP, which the ICP (formerly PIP Psychoanalytic Research Institute) interact with, is one of association and psychoanalyst group that does not belong to IPA and pioneer independently. Many psychoanalysts and institutions that belong to NAAP are influenced by the state of New York, which currently issues psychoanalyst licenses and is associated with NAAP membership.


     Recently, we have so-called lay analysts, other than doctors or psychologists, in Korea due to the initiative of a few people who pioneered the way of psychoanalytic training. Dr. Sung-ho Kim, a founder of PIP, is one of the pioneers who first opened the door. Inspired by the trend of New York and NAAP, Dr. Sung-ho Kim and other pioneers established PIP Psychoanalysis Institute in Korea to use psychoanalysis as a clinical tool in a modern sense and provided a center for truly independent psychoanalytic training in Korea.  Comparing to the days when PIP was established, several more Korean psychoanalysts have gone through NAAP’s psychoanalytic training in New York City, and through them, the number of training centers with different levels and colors of psychoanalytic training have been increasing in Korea. Although there are many limitations among these institutions that emerged from this trend, we hope that these institutions contribute to clinical psychoanalysis in a Korean sense.


     We experienced a lot of joy and pain during the establishment and growth of ICP. Looking back at our achievement and limitations, the ICP Institute is celebrating 10 years since its opening. Every year, we have graduates who become psychoanalysts after finishing our psychoanalytic training. We look back on the past 10 years and look forward to the next decade. In the next 10 years, we hope that many people can join ICP to share and achieve our dream of diversifying psychoanalytic training in Korea into many forms and flavors.


     All training is required to produce whole psychoanalysts. However, because of the long and difficult psychoanalytic training and circumstances of Korea, ICP training includes three separate stages, and the trainee will be qualified according to the training level once finished.  The training requirements for each level described below includes the previous level of training.