chapter  4
17 Pages

A Pearl of great price

Pearl was a client who visited me very early in my career as an analyst. The sense that she, in spite of her modern appearance, contemporary education, and New Age lifestyle, embodied all of China was a very powerful one for me. The scarf she wore in the dream that was emblazoned with a map of China later attested to this and proved to be a key symbol in her healing process. The degree of ®lial piety she exhibited made me think a great deal about family relationships in Chinese culture, and I was once again struck by the fact that, except for the husband and wife combination, Confucius had left women out of his conceptualization of cardinal relationships. To clarify in my own mind these ``missing'' relationships and the roles women played, I decided to write out descriptions of them. Later, this proved to be a valuable tool for several women, both Asian and Western, in my practice. It was as if looking at contemporary relationships through a Confucian lens allowed these women to sharpen the focus on what was happening in their daily lives. For example, a friend of mine, Jeanne, who is a fairly typical Caucasian American, had a very strong reaction to hearing me tell Pearl's story in a lecture. ``She had to bow to her father every day!'' my friend cried, ``That's disgusting!''