Presidents letter: November 2013

Dear ECPP Members.

May I offer my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all ECPP organisational, branch and ECPP members in the different countries in which you reside. 

This time of year provides a time to celebrate the aspects of our lives that we rightly cherish. It is a time for us all to restore our energies for the work we do and to balance out our lives. On behalf of the Executive and Board, I wish to thank all of you who have made a contribution to the work of ECPP this year and for furthering our objectives, in particular the engendering of a lively culture and the rich exchange of ideas.

We have had a very eventful few months since I last wrote to you in September 2013.


Anniversary Congress.

The Tenth International Congress of the European Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies under the auspices of the ECPP, the Ukrainian Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies (UCPP), European Association of Psychotherapy (EAP) and the Ukrainian Umbrella Association of Psychotherapy(UUAP) took place in Lviv National University on the 28-29.09.2013 2013 in Lviv, Ukraine. The title of the conference was: “Education in Psychoanalysis: and challenge and controversies»”

It was the 10th Anniversary of the ECPP as an organisation. The conference was a great success. It was both very well organised and well attended and we were fortunate that it took place in Lviv National University, which goes as far back to the 15th century. The conference was opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the university, Vladimir Melnik. Congratulations and greetings were received from our former past Presidents Marcus Fah and Mikhail Reshetnikov and Chair of the Accreditation and Certification meeting, Charles Sasse. The opening address was given by Alexander Filts and Barbara FitzGerald, co-chairs of the conference along with our esteemed colleagues from Ukraine. The topic of the conference was education and training. Clinical and psychoanalytic contexts of training, which are embedded and linked into the socio/political and social psychological context, were central to the discussions. This gave rise to fruitful dialogue and helped to ground all our discussions as the theme was illustrated by clinical material. We had a range of presentations from different perspectives .The conference gave a lively examination of the tenets of education/training.

We looked specifically at the training of psychoanalysts. What techniques in education teach us to reflect, to learn introspection? Is personal analysis needed? What is its value? What are the questions that concern us with regard to the selection, training, supervision, continuing education, and professional development of psychoanalysts? We explored the processes and outcomes of psychoanalytic training and development for the benefit of scientific, clinical, and mental health policy. One of the speakers at the conference posed the question: what are the values that permeate out trainings. Are we identified within hierarchical and patriarchal structures?

Certainly the Conference showed that ECPP in this exchange of views is a growing, vibrant though young organisation which is flexing its muscle and capacities as it supports a lively culture of discussion and dialogue.

Board meeting

In lviv, we held a Board meeting where we discussed and garnered our insights from the last ten years with regard to the objectives of ECPP.

ECPP started with a broad expanse of vision which is encapsulated in its objectives. How far have we met our objectives? What further developments need to happen? How do we encourage a lively and intellectual culture within ECPP? Where are we now and what challenges does the organisation face? We hope to give more time to continuing that discussion at our next Board meeting as we vision where we would like ECPP to go over the next few years. ECPP is a young organisation and yet it is important not to become complacent. One suggestion among many was the need for more contact and connection between the academic and professional streams of the association, and between the ECPP and the countries which it represents. Another was developing relationships with other organisations in particular our relationship to formal structures such as the EAP and the WCP.There is need for renewed energy towards alliances which share our political goals.

There are many positive initiatives taking place in our respective trainings and countries. It will be useful to spend some time at the final period of the next Board meeting to hear about news and initiatives from the different countries. If you would like to send any updates on news from your country or branch please send an e-mail before the first week in January. To encourage our lively culture, dialogue is important. It is work that we must endeavour to continue so that we can build on the many positive initiatives already under way in our respective countries, and in the individual and collective efforts throughout our organisations.

Eurasian conference, Moscow July 5th.

On the 5th July, ECPP hosted the conference ‘Psychoanalysis Inner and Outer Realities: Giving voice to the Real’ in Moscow as part of the Eurasian conference.  There were contributions from psychoanalysts and psychotherapists from European countries including Russia, Ireland, and Israel. France, UK, Switzerland and Vienna.

Summer School, St. Petersburg, July 1st.

Prior to the Moscow conference both Marcus Fah, former president and Barbara FitzGerald, president, presented papers at the ECPP summer school in St. Petersburg.

That was a particularly wonderful event where we were warmly welcomed by our esteemed colleague, Professor Mikhail Reshetnikov and his organisation.

One of our aims as an organisation is to have an understanding that if psychoanalysis is practised within a particular culture it requires an understanding and appreciation of that culture. White nights, meeting colleagues on the seashores of the Baltic, collegial dinners and the intense searching questions of the colleagues during the time of the joint supervision given by Marcus Fah and I showed the growing strength of our organisation and augurs well for the future.

In particular it was great to hear many strong women voicing their clinical opinions and joining their male colleagues in a search for clinical excellence. I will not only always remember the sense of creativity and positivity with which we shared our experience, but also how we delved into the substantive content of our professional discourse in such an energetic and direct manner. I was heartened by the very high educational level and seriousness of purpose of the colleagues with whom I interacted with during this time.

These conferences enabled us to discuss issues, disseminate information and develop further our thinking on professional practice through focusing on significant themes and through meaningful discourse. They brought together a stimulating range of international perspectives, theoretical positions, clinical experiences and psychotherapy practices which have all been helpful as we forge our identity together.


Barbara FitzGerald

President ECPP