Division and Crisis in Küsnacht

The renown C.G. Jung-Institute in Küsnacht has been stuck in a crisis for years. It is threatened by a financial collapse. Now, a group in Zürich has even founded an alternative Seminar. ::   article translated from the Tages-Anzeiger online - the Zürich newspaper - Oct. 19, 2004

Article from the Tages Anzeiger (Zurich newspaper), Tuesday October 19, 2004:
http://www.tages-anzeiger.ch/dyn/news/zuerich/427384.html
(unofficial translation) Division and Crisis, by Michael Meier.

The renown C.G. Jung-Institute in Kuesnacht has been stuck in a crisis for years. It is threatened by a financial collapse. Now, a group in Zurich has even founded an alternative Seminar.
by Michael Meier

Next Monday the new International Seminar for Analytical Psychology (ISAP) will open its doors.  The Seminar has rented two floors at Hochstrasse 38 in Zurich-Fluntern.  33 students have registered so far.  "Already in its first semester, 60 lecturers from among the analysts are offering lectures - from the theory of archetypes to the theory of neuroses, from comparative religion to the interpretation of myths and fairy tales," explained ISAP-president Paul Brutsche.

"Inadequate leadership" criticized

The ISAP is a split-off from the renown C.G. Jung-Institute in Kuesnacht. Brutsche was its president from 1992-1997.  Under his successor Brigitte Spillman the Institute has run into a crisis that threatens its existence. Not because of ideological differences, the opposing group declares in unison, but rather because of inadequate leadership.  The Curatorium (Board of Directors) under President Spillmann has for nearly eight years applied an autocratic and undemocratic style, explains Jungian Stefan Boethius, who belongs to the leadership of the new Seminar.  Also, its legal structure as a trust is hindering democratic decision-making processes at the old institute. In any case, (he continues,) the atmosphere is poisoned, and the polarization of the Curatorium and the analysts is obvious.  More than half of the 300 Jungian analysts in Switzerland, who work with the Institute as lecturers and training analysts, have long stopped supporting the course of the Curatorium.

The leadership crisis can be seen from the financial crisis that has been coming to a head for the last two years.  Whereas in March 1999 the Institute still had an endowment of 2.9 million Swiss francs, these means have mostly been used up now.  According to Boethius, the unskillful financial policies of the Curatorium are responsible for this.  It recognized too late that it needed to save money massively.  Inappropriately high personnel and administrative costs as well as misguided investments had caused high losses.  The counseling project on Langstrasse, for example, which under the name of Carepoint offered outpatient treatment for people with psychological problems, never functioned properly.

Spillmann, however, sees the cause of the grave financial problems as arising from the stock market crisis, the reduced number of students, and changes in the political situation surrounding health care.  While last year she still thought that the Institute found itself  "in a difficult transition that put its survival seriously into question", today she said when asked, "We'll overcome this crisis, we have a turn-around program that is working."  They have already reduced the positions in the administration. The Curatorium as well as the lecturers are in part relinquishing their fees. "If it weren't for this division, we would be in the black by the end of the year."

Up until now, however, the crisis management by the Curatorium has only made the situation worse.  In order to fix the Institute, it demanded last year that the analysts share the cost of it.  Along with a pledge of payment, the Curatorium wanted to ensure the loyalty of the analysts with a declaration of belonging.  Whoever didn't sign, had to give up all the services of the Institute and be removed from the list of analysts.  About 200 of the 300 analysts did not want to sign the declaration.  Without minimal democratic rights, some protest letters explained, one didn't want to pay an annual contribution to the Institute.  Now the Institute wants to tie the annual contribution of the analysts to an accreditation.  Whoever is accredited, may also participate in discussions about factual concerns at the institute, although not be able to vote, said Spillmann.

Unsuccessful mediation

The group of opponents undertook several initiatives to resolve the crisis. In the summer they launched among the analysts a payment-pledge campaign: What amount would they be prepared to pay the Institute, under the condition that the Curatorium would resign?  Many approved of this procedure and together they would have paid the Institute 350,000 Swiss francs.  But this initiative too fell on deaf ears at the Curatorium.  Equally unsuccessful was a mediation under the auspices of the rector of the Swiss Institute of Technology, Konrad Osterwalder.


The crisis has now gone on for years.  So this summer the international society of graduate analysts AGAP, meeting in  Barcelona, by a large majority declared itself ready to delegate its own right to train to a Zurich sub-group, (the Seminar ISAP), and to offer itself as the carrying organization.  In response, Brigitte Spillmann and two additional persons filed a legal complaint against AGAP.  AGAP president Deborah Egger agrees with the Zurich subgroup that the new Seminar should aim at a re-unification with the Jung Institute, as long as the corresponding conditions are met and the Curatorium in Kuesnacht is replaced.

But Spillmann is not thinking of resigning, and she excludes a cooperation between the two institutes.  The damage will be limited in any case, she feels, because people are not leaving the Institute in droves.  Already last year she opined in a letter: "The collapse of this Institute would lead, in the best case, to the formation of various splinter-groups - none of these would have the reputation or radiate the atmosphere that the C.G. Jung Institute does."

According to ISAP president Paul Brutsche, the new Seminar is of interest for those international students in Zurich who will be happy to escape the tensions at the Jung-Institute.  Brutsche sees a decisive advantage in that the Seminar is not organized in the form of a trust, but rather as a democratic club: its officials  including the Seminar leadership will have to be re-elected every two years.