• Soo-Jin Lee Konkuk University
  • Seok Kim Konkuk University
Keywords: Anxiety, Art Therapy, Artistic Act, Intersubjectivity, Jouissance, Mental Disorders, Original Life, Self-Desire


The purpose of this study is to diagnose and find solutions through art, based on a psychoanalytic perspective, seeing the increasing misery of Koreans as a signal to the frustration of desire and social incongruity. However, mental disorders have a double effect. Especially, anxiety has its fair share of negative repercussions such as fear, powerlessness, and sadness; it also enables inner inspection and acts as a signal of existence that can re-establish desire.  Through a case study, this paper argues that art therapy can not only help individuals to understand their existence, but also restore intersubjective relationships and go toward sustainable society. This is because art is ultimately an act of practice aiming at the gaze, an indicator of existence. In the end, the central goal of humanity and social development should be to make them coexist in an ethical horizon through the restoration of the “original life.”

Author Biographies

Soo-Jin Lee , Konkuk University

Dr Soo-Jin Lee is an outpatient professor of Humanities Counseling and Therapy at Konkuk University. She also practices as an analyst and as a professional art therapist, and serves as an Editor-In-Chief of the Korean Society for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Seok Kim, Konkuk University

Seok Kim is an associate professor of Philosophy at Konkuk University. His chosen field of study is modern French Philosophy and psychoanalysis. He is currently the vice president of the Korean Society of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.


Beard, George M. American Nervousness: Its Cause and Consequences. New York: Putnam, 1881.
Botton, Alain de and John Armstrong. Art as Therapy. H. Y. Kim (trans.). Gyeonggi: Munhakdongne Publishing, 2013.
Botton, Alain de. Status Anxiety. Young Mok Jung (trans.). Seoul: Eunhaengnamu Publishing, 2012.
Corey, Gerald. Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Cengage Learning, 2017.
Fincher, Susan F. Creating Mandala for Insight, Healing, Self-Expression. J. S. Kim (trans.). Seoul: Hakjisa Publisher, 1998.
Freud, Sigmund. “New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis” James Strachey (ed. and trans.). Vol. 22. London: Vintage Books, 2001.
Han, Ye Seo. “A Study on the Image Expression of Plant Based on the Buddhism Anguish and the Kierkegaard Anxiety Concept: Focused on My Work.” The Graduate School of Fine Art, Hong-Ik University, 2020.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Joan Stambaugh (trans.). NY: State University of New York Press, 1996.
Kierkegaard, Søren. The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin. Gye-jeong Lim (trans.). Seoul: Hangilsa Publisher, 1999.
Kim, Chun Kyung. Encyclopedia of Counseling 2. Seoul: Hakjisa Publisher, 2016.
Kim, Seok. Invitation to the Unconsciousness: Freud & Lacan. Paju: Gimyoungsa, 2010.
Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Bruce Fink (trans.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.
Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book Ⅶ: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960. Dennis Porter (trans.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992.
Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book Ⅹ: Anxiety, 1962-1963. A. R. Price (trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014.
Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book Ⅺ: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1963-1964. Alan Sheridan (trans.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.
Laplanche, Jean and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. The Language of Psycho-Analysis. Donald Nicholson-Smith (trans.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1973.
Lee, Sang Young, Jin Wook Jung, Do Kyung Hwang, Chang Kyun Son, Simon Yoon, Su Mi Chae, Mi Ran Cha, Hyo Jin Kim. “Some Causes of the Psycho-social Anxiety in Korea and How to Address Them” Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (15 October, 2020).
Lee, Soo-Jin. An Introduction to the Psychoanalytic Art Therapy from Freud to Lacan. Seoul: Hakjisa Publisher, 2020.
Ministry of Health and Welfare. “The Survey of mental disorders in Korea in 2016.” (1 August, 2020).
Simon, Bennett. Mind and Madness in Ancient Greece. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.
Statistics Korea, (8 September 2020).
How to Cite
Lee , S.-J., & Kim, S. (2021). ART THERAPY FOR HARMONIZING DESIRE AND LIFE IN KOREAN SOCIETY. Journal of Dharma, 46(1), 25-42. Retrieved from