Category file: International Psychoanalysis
The International Psychoanalytical Association ––founded by Freud in 1910, and federating 72 constituent societies worldwide–– has recently published an informative online article: "About Psychoanalysis".
It explains the origins of psychoanalysis, what it is for, Freud’s discoveries, the major schools of thought, the setting, how analysts train, ethical principles, and many other areas.
Written by Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau in Boston, Gábor Szõnyi in Budapest, and Raul Hartke in Porto Alegre, all three Training Analysts of the IPA, the article is an unbiased introduction to the field for those who wish to know more.
Read the article.
Every two years the International Psychoanalytical Association has a congress in one of its three regions: Europe, North America and South America.
The theme of the last Congress, celebrated in July, 2015, in Boston, was Psychoanalysis in a Changing World.
Psychoanalysts from all over the globe attend these Congresses as the IPA represents over 12,000 members from more than 50 component societies.
One of these members wrote a compelling article about her experience at the Congress and the what she found there: a focus on empirical research and science, openness to technology, a gender-balanced attendance, a vibrant and friendly atmosphere, and a recognition for the need to evolve with the world we live in.
Many psychoanalysts in Madrid would agree with her thoughts.
Read the article.
In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, Joshua Kendall reviews Casey Shwartz’s book: In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis.
In The Mind Fields deals head-on with contemporary debates between neuroscience and psychoanalysis that sometimes tend to polarize to extreme positions.
Sometimes psychoanalysis seems to ignore the functioning of the brain to such an extent that it risks becoming brainless, and neuroscience tends to forget so entirely the subjective experience of the individual so as to become mindless.
Shwartz profiles Mark Solms, the founder of neuropychoanalysis, and describes how he resolves this false polarization, namely by stressing the fact that anything that goes on in the mind goes on in the brain too, and vice-versa.
She also touches on the lively debate between Hobson and Solms over the role dreams play, and to what extent an excess of emphasis on data gathered by highly sophisticated technology might forget the actual experience of the individual.
Read the article.
At the recent International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress in Boston, psychoanalysts from all over the world celebrated the launching of a new, truly international on-line psychoanalytic journal, Psychoanalysis.today.
Psychoanalysis.today is the result of a collaborative effort between the four regional federations and associations of the IPA: Fédération Européenne de Psychanalyse (FEP), Federación de Psicoanálisis en América Latina (FEPAL), American Psychoanalytic Association (APsA), and the North American Psychoanalytical Confederation (NAPsaC).
There are many distinguished psychoanalytical journals ––The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, La Revue Française de Psychanalyse, La Revista de la Associación Psicoanalítica de Madrid, to name only a few–– but they tend to reflect local psychoanalytical culture and are often too technical for non-specialists.
The goal of Psychoanalysis.today is to improve communication between the IPA regions and to provide a platform where people who are interested in psychoanalysis can be informed in non-technical terms about what is being currently debated in the field.
The journal is available in English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Go to Issue Zero of Psychoanalysis.today: “The First Time”
In 1915, one hundred years ago, Sigmund Freud wrote his seminal paper, The Unconscious, in which he described the workings of the unknown recesses of the mind. To this day, psychoanalysts seek to understand further what the contents of the unconscious are, and how they affect us.
We are all familiar with the relatively benign manifestations of the unconscious: dreams, slips of the tongue, unintended actions, forgetting, or flashes of odd fantasies are common occurences. But the unconscious can also have other, less benign manifestations, that lead people to seek help: symptoms that they cannot understand, nor control. Freud's genius was to describe, and find a way to access, a part of the mind so removed from conscious awareness.
To celebrate the centenary of publication of The Unconscious, the Freud Museum in London is running “The Festival of the Unconscious” in which, among many other installations, Freud’s extensive collection of antiquities will be exposed. Collecting and the symbolism of antiquities are nodal points in Freud’s conception of the mind and are often revealing about the collector’s unconscious…
In the following article, a Freudian scholar delves into the matter.
Read the article.
A reader of the Revista Psicoanalítica de Madrid asked a number of interesting questions about the article “The Strata of Being”. Since they could be useful for people interested in psychoanalysis, here are the questions and the answers. For reasons of simplicity we will use the generic masculine pronoun.
I’d like to know more about the Oedipus Complex and masochism, subjects that you talk about in your article. I’ll transcribe the paragraphs where you refer to these subjects and then I’ll formulate specific questions.
Page 86: “…(S. Freud) opens the field with his conception of a drive-based unconscious where the forces of sexuality, aggressiveness, narcissism and its ideals, mourning and the great relational organizer, Oedipus, inhabit an unknown world, ruled by principles that escape the bounds of logic and that will be severely frustrated by reality.”
- What are you referring to when you say “the great relational organizer, Oedipus”? Could you develop that idea?
- I also have another question… when you say:“that will be severely frustrated by reality”… firstly, I was struck by the word severely… and secondly, does this frustration have to do with human development or with life in general?
Page 92:“I believe that, in part, this is achieved as the patient introjects the experience that psychic suffering is not gratuitous pain ––nor is it the erotic pleasure of masochists–– but rather that tolerating it and working through it allows him to be who he is.”
I’d like to know more about the erotic pleasure of masochists. On page 90 you discuss Freud’s hypothesis on primary masochism…
- What is the good object?
- How can one identify a masochist? Is it someone who eroticizes pain because their mental apparatus cannot tolerance suffering?
- If this is the case, could you give me a concrete example?
Time in the Mind: Here and Now, There and Then
The British Psychoanalytical Society celebrates its centenary anniversary with a conference dealing with temporality and technique. Members of the British Psychoanalytical society will debate on the issues of when, how, why and what to interpret with regards to time.
The subject of temporality in psychoanalysis has been richly studied and has led to much debate and controversy about what the psychoanalyst should focus on.
Freud’s famous archaeological metaphor of psychoanalysis as the method with which to unearth ancient civilizations within the mind tended to put the accent somewhat more on what happened in the past, There and Then, although not completely.
Later schools, particularly the Kleinians, felt that there was more emotional immediacy and possibility of reaching the patient if one focused on what was happening within the consulting room between the patient and the analyst, Here and Now.
Strachey’s paper on mutative interpretation attempted to join the two and encouraged analysts to interpret how what had happened There and Then is happening Here and Now.
Since then, the scientific debate on how to interpret temporality has been on-going and ever-deepening. In this conference, leading thinkers in the field will debate their cutting-edge clinical research and experience.
Date: From Friday the 19th of September to Sunday the 21st
Place: Regent’s College, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4NS
Adam Phillips is British psychoanalyst who belongs to the Independent Group of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He read English literature at Oxford, went on to become a child psychotherapist and worked in the National Health Service for many years. He currently works mostly with adult patients in private practice.
Phillips is a prolific and unconventional writer who has written nineteen books on a vast range of topics that are frequently neglected by traditional psychoanalysis. In this long interview he discusses his background, how he came to be a psychoanalyst, his love of literature, the kind of psychoanalysis he is interested in, and his writing process. He is currently working on a short biography of Freud that intends to be less idealizing than the previous ones, written by Peter Gay and Ernest Jones, have been.
Read the article in the Paris Review
There are numerous general therapeutic factors, common to all schools of psychotherapy, that are well known: the psychotherapist’s empathy, his/her authentic wish to help the patient, the patient feeling that he/she is accepted the way he/she is, to be listened to carefully, the regularity in contact with another person, etc.
There are many other therapeutic factors, specific to psychoanalysis; some have been well known for a long time, other are still insufficiently clear and need to be studied further in order to understand them. Recently we have acquired greater knowledge of one of these therapeutic factors.
Sometimes the input of another discipline, such as the neurosciences, for instance, allows us to find a parallel between brain functioning and a psychoanalytic theory of therapeutic action that had been observed many times, had been abundantly theorized but whose brain mechanisms had remained mysterious. Such is the case of what happens during what neuroscientists call memory reconsolidation, which is particularly relevant for psychoanalysis in the case of traumatic memories. The first intuition of memory reconsolidation was Freud's in 1896 in a letter to Fleiss. Neuroscientific research began in the 1960s and was developped by Nader et al in 2000. Recently, Alberini (2013) has published a book on the subject.
Let us begin, then, with the psychoanalytic thesis on this. We know that we all have the tendency to repeat, in the present, behavioral patterns and experiences that we learned unconsciously within the context of important relationships during childhood and that left traces in our implicit memory. This manifests itself clearly throughout our lives in the way that we establish relationships with others, both positive and negative. Now, there is an essential difference to the way positive and negative unconscious behavioral patterns are repeated.
There are three areas of ethics that concern psychoanalysis: the ethics of psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline, the ethics of clinical psychoanalysis with the patient, and the ethics of psychoanalysis as a profession.