Confidentiality Committee


Psychoanalysis has been built on a number of fundamental principles, including the vital importance of confidentiality and the practise of sharing clinical cases to develop understanding and share best practice.

The Boston Congress demonstrated that changing technologies and growing globalisation are altering the context in which psychoanalysis is practised. At the Prague Congress, there was considerable unhappiness when the IPA restricted access to sessions where clinical material was to be discussed.

There are other profound changes taking place in the social landscape: to give one example, across the European Union there is a growing consensus that personal data are owned by the individual, not the clinician; that the individual should have control over their own data, especially "sensitive personal data" (a category likely to include much that emerges in analytic sessions); and that patients should generally give informed consent before their material is used. In the UK, where the IPA is registered, some breaches of data protection laws are now criminal offences.

These changes could have direct implications, to take two diverse examples, for the reports that are prepared by Supervisors working at IPA Institutes, and for the use of VoIP technologies to conduct remote analytic sessions.

The IPA should position itself to advise its Component Societies and Members on best practices in relation to these activities.


  1. To conduct a comprehensive overview of the ways that confidentiality pertains to and impacts on the work of IPA psychoanalysts.
  2. To draft documents on best practices re: confidentiality for the IPA Board to review and approve.
  3. To advise the IPA Board on issues related to confidentiality for the IPA's 2019 Congress.
  4. To consult with other IPA Committees as needed.
  5. To consult with experts on specific issues as needed.

Ways of working and reporting

The Confidentiality Committee will be expected to do most of its work electronically, using Skype, GoToMeeting, or other free-to-use communication systems. The Committee, like all IPA committees, will be expected to be self-supporting for secretarial and other purposes. It will have access to the web and email support services offered by the IPA.

Any face-to-face meetings should take place, so far as possible, adjacent to IPA or regional congresses. The Chair of the Committee will provide a written report to the Board at least annually.


The Committee is formed initially for a two-year period, which the Board may eventually extend, if desired. The members of the Committee will be appointed in the usual way, by the President of the IPA and with the consent of the Board of Representatives.

Composition of the committee

The Committee will consist of a Chair, plus two members from each Region. The Committee may request the appointment of Consultants to advise on specific issues as needed (Consultants will not be funded to attend in-person meetings). The Executive Director will be an ex-officio member and serve as the Committee's secretary.


The Committee will propose a budget during the annual IPA budget cycle.

Board approved January 2017

Full NamePosition
Dr. Andrew BrookChair
Psic. Nahir BonifacinoMember
Mr. John ChurcherMember
Dr. Allannah FurlongMember
Dr. Altamirando Matos de AndradeEx-Officio
Mr. Paul CrakeEx-Officio
Dr. Sergio Eduardo NickEx-Officio