SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Marriage and Family in Modern China: Implications for China’s Future

Marriage and Family in Modern China: Implications for China’s Future
Dr David E. Scharff, MD (International Psychotherapy Institute; Editor, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in China; International Psychoanalytic Association’s Committee on Couple and Family Psychoanalysis)

Date: 17 May 2022Time: 2:00 PM

Finishes: 17 May 2022Time: 3:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B103

Type of Event: Seminar



Marriage and family patterns in China have evolved rapidly since 1949, influenced both by the millennia of traditional large, male dominated families, the primacy of the Chinese Communist Party, the One Child Policy and the influx of modern ideology of personal autonomy and free choice marriage. Government policy, the history of trauma and the remaining influence of the older generation continue to influence modern families in unpredictable ways that nevertheless will have enormous effect in China’s domestic future. This presentation introduces the way that these large vectors of history and policy affect the intimate interior of families, and how that, in turn, will continue to influence China’s overall future.

David E. Scharff

About the speaker

David E. Scharff, M.D. is Co-Founder and Former Director, International Psychotherapy Institute; Past Chair, The International Psychoanalytic Association’s Committee on Family and Couple Psychoanalysis; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Georgetown University; Supervising Analyst, International Institute for Psychoanalytic Training; Honorary Fellow, Tavistock Relationships, London; He is editor of the journal Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in China, and Director of the Training Programs in Analytic Couple and Family Therapy in Beijing and Moscow. He is a Child and Adult Analyst in Private Practice with children, adults, couples and families in Chevy Chase, Maryland. With Dr. Jill Scharff, he is the 2021 winner of the Mary Sigourney Award in Psychoanalysis, the most prestigious award in psychoanalysis.

Dr. Scharff has been author and editor of more than 30 books, with foundational texts on family, couple and individual psychoanalytic therapy, the work of Ronald Fairbairn and of Enrique Pichon Riviѐre, sexual difficulty, and innovative training of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. He has organized more than 100 conferences in the United States and abroad, and taught internationally on five continents and 30 countries. His recent initiatives involve organizing training programs in China and Russia. To this end he is founder of a journal devoted to the newly emergent field of psychoanalysis in China, called “Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in China.” As Chair of the Couple and Family Psychoanalysis Committee of the International Psychoanalytic Association, he has organized meetings of the committee and international congresses that further the study of family and couple psychoanalysis around the world, most recently an international congress in China in 2021.

His most recent books are “The Use of the Self in Psychoanalysis,” (2019) and “Marriage and Family in Modern China: A Psychoanalytic Exploration” (Routledge, 2021).


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. Click here to register

Please note that this seminar is taking place on campus and will not be recorded or live-streamed.

Chair: Dr Jieyu Liu (Deputy Director, SOAS China Institute)

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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