Culture and Psychoanalysis

A Personal Journey

in Social Analysis

Starting with a reflection on the experience of his own analysis, conducted in German by a German analyst, the author explores the problems of psychoanalytic work carried out in a cross-cultural context. First, the Hindu world-view and its three major elements, moksha, dharma, and karma, are explained. The cultural belief in a person's inner limitations is contrasted with the Western mind-set of individual achievement. The high value that Hindu society places on connection as opposed to separation and how this affects notions of gender and the sense of one's body is discussed. The article then returns to the author's experiences in analysis and his conclusions about the nature of cultural transference and counter-transference and the optimal approach toward psychoanalysis with regard to differing cultural backgrounds.