Fr. Fred Fleischer
Founding Jungian Analyst of the Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida
September 28, 2012
The Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida is pleased to present an interview with Fr. Fred Fleischer, Jungian Analyst & Founding Analyst of the Center. On the occasion of celebrating our 25th Season and for our Annual Social, Book Sale and Film by the late James Hillman on Jung and his Red Book on Friday, Sept 28, 2012, at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, we asked Fred to tell us how the Center came into being.
Fred: “What often seems like serendipity is actually a focused movement of the Holy Spirit.”
(Fred Fleischer, having grown up in West Palm Beach in a district now known as “Historic Old Northwood,” attended St. Ann’s School and Palm Beach High School. For his last two years of high school and for college, he attended St. Bernard’s, run by the Benedictine Monks in the northern Alabama foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. In the early ’60′s, in the midst of the 2nd Vatican Council, he tells us:) “I left the monastery in protest to what some ultra-conservative community members did to oust the wonderful forward looking Abbot we were blessed to have as our leader. In fact, I led a rebellion consisting of quite a few at the time. Doesn’t seem much like the Fred that you know today, does it? However, I was deeply convinced that the injustices done to this man could not be left unrequited.
As a group, we did not manage to stay together—different ones went in various directions. However, a handful of monks and I ended up in South Florida working for the Archbishop here, Coleman Carroll, who was a bit more sensitive to people and their inclinations than he was given credit for. He placed several of us on the staff of Catholic Welfare, whose head at that time was Dr. Gerd Cryns, who had been to Zurich and both studied, and analyzed with Jung himself. We became good friends, and he took me on as a protégé. He orchestrated my going to Zurich to study, as he felt that I had the right mindset. I honestly went there not so much to become an analyst, but to try to figure myself out. Becoming an analyst kind of just happened along the way.
While at St. Bernard’s, I completed a Master’s in Theology at Conception Abbey in Missouri, and while working in Florida, was invited to join the monastery in the Bahamas where my old college roommate had been elected as Prior. It was from Nassau that I left to study in Zurich. As a result of that process, I left the Catholic Church, and became an Anglican, and was married and have a son from this union.
As you know, I am a serious introvert, and so I never had any pretensions of founding a Jung Society in South Florida, but after I graduated from the Jung Institute, I was invited to start a practice in Palm Beach by Ted Holt, Episcopal priest at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church. It started as a one day thing, while I remained a resident in the Bahamas with my principal practice there, and with a lot of my life devoted to my other interests as Organist and Choirmaster at the Anglican Cathedral in Nassau.
Once I started working in Florida, both Ted Holt and another client told me they were interested in becoming analysts, and would like a training center in our area. I then began to explore the possibilities, taking trips, meeting with the movers and shakers of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and it took the better part of two years to get something organized that met the requirements of the greater organization. By the time we began, a number of others were interested, and so we had about six people to begin training and learning about Jung’s analytical psychology.
(In the Fall of 1988, we started by meeting at the office of Dr. Santo Tarantino, Clinical Psychologist, in Boca Raton and we also had many of our monthly meetings at Ted Holt’s parsonage and at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church in Palm Beach. Dr. Ann Lynch was among those founding Board members of the Center. Julia McAfee, also a Zurich trained Jungian Analyst and an art therapist, from Jacksonville, and Dr. Roger Radloff, Zurich-trained Jungian Analyst and beloved Catholic priest in Miami, assisted Fred in the training. The Center became incorporated by the state of Florida as a non-profit organization and it became an accepted training group by the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA). After Dr. Radloff passed away, Gene Qualls, MD, Jungian Analyst from Birmingham and a graduate of the Jung Institute in Zurich, agreed to join Fred as Training Director of the Center and he came on a regular basis for the seminars and planned the monthly training. Linda van Dyck, also a graduate of C.G. Jung Institute of Zurich, moved to South Florida and joined in the training as well as established a private practice in Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach. In those early years, we had people who had different objectives—some wanted to train to become analysts and some wanted to learn more about Jungian psychology and about themselves.) “Unfortunately, some participants in the seminar applied formally to the IRSJA to enter training to become analysts before they were ready without getting my (Fred’s) thoughts on their readiness, and were rejected, leaving some bad feelings behind. Santo, however, did the necessary preparatory work, and when he applied, he was wholeheartedly accepted.
Meanwhile, the Center was torn between keeping the events we were offering sufficient to meet Santo’s requirements, and making it interesting to the general public, as we were attracting more people interested in Jung’s psychology. Again, there were some hard feelings about this, but we stuck by Santo to have the training in keeping with the rules of the IRSJA. We expanded our meeting venues to All Saints Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale.
In the meantime, Dr. Sam Swendenborg, Jungian Analyst, who received his diploma as a Jungian Analyst from the San Francisco Institute, and, a Psychiatrist from California, moved to South Florida and agreed to become a part of the training program. Then Dr. Rick Overman, Psychologist, and also on the Board, decided to apply as a candidate to the IRSJA and was accepted. Unfortunately, Dr. Swendenborg passed away the following year. The two of them, Santo and Rick, were actually launched by our group, and Santo was able to complete his training under the auspices of the Center, however, Rick needed to go to other training programs to complete his work as we did not have enough Jungian Analysts to satisfy the IRSJA requirements.
“Meanwhile, Nancy Daugherty, Jungian Analyst from Chicago, moved to Florida, and was interested in organizing a training seminar. I had been involved in sharing her mentoring process through the Inter-Regional, and knew what an amazing woman she is. She brought a group of analysts together to found another organization, the Florida Association of Jungian Analysts (FAJA), which was strictly for training Jungian Analysts.” (Nancy was joined by Fred and Rick, and for a time by Linda and Santo, as well as by Danila Crespi, Jungian Analyst from Venezuela, who moved to Miami with her principal practice in South Miami, and later by Dr. Judith Moscu, also a Jungian Analyst from Venezuela, who has a practice in Aventura, and others, and most recently, by Kaityrn Wertz, Jungian Analyst in Jupiter, who received her training through FAJA and IRSJA.)
(We have included many venues in our offerings around South Florida over these 25 years, including Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church in Palm Beach, All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale, The Riverside Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, the Tower at Florida Atlantic University in Ft. Lauderdale as well as the Boca campus of FAU, Lynn University in Boca Raton, the Duncan Conference Center in Delray Beach, the Women’s Club in Hollywood, the Sunshine Cathedral in Davie, and the Flagler Center in Stuart, among others. As a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, we serve the wider community by presenting lectures, workshops, and movie discussions to address psychological, social and spiritual issues of our times and provide a forum for personal reflection and growth inspired by C.G. Jung’s Analytical Psychology. We are supported by memberships and tax-deductible donations.)
(Currently, Fred is not married, lives with his partner, Tony, in Miami and is a grandfather.) “So the Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida became really what its name says it is: a public venue for learning more about Jung and his contributions to understanding the human psyche. Over the years, the organization has taken on a life of its own, and has made a major contribution to raising the consciousness of South Floridians about matters of the soul.”
“I am really very proud of what we have accomplished in our twenty five years of service in South Florida. The organization is stronger now and more vibrant than it ever was. Thanks to Ann Lynch, who deserves much of the credit for holding things together in the midst of tensions and difficulties that have destroyed most organizations like ours and we are very grateful for what she has done and continues to do. We have so many talented and dedicated people on this volunteer Board and have had over these many years, as well as those who are members and others attending our meetings. I look forward to its continued success as we take on international figures in the field and sponsor workshops of several days.
However, please continue to remember: “The most important work that we do is not the work that the group does, but the individual work we do on our own souls. May we continue to be a major source of enlightenment to our area, and may we continue to move from strength to strength!”