Psychoanalytic practice is carried out in a strictly maintained setting of privacy, confidentiality and abstinence, sheltered as much as possible from the impingements of external reality. Yet psychoanalysts also live and function in an environment to which they belong professionally, which is geared to foster their scientific exchange, promote their skills, conduct the training and education that safeguard the survival of this endeavour, and protect them, as far as possible, from external infringements. Briefly, they also belong to their local, national and international institutions and organizations. Yet while there is much investment in the scientific and clinical aspects, the organizational side has mostly been neglected or ignored as a major contributor to the psychoanalytic endeavour, and where it has been absolutely necessary, attended to with ordinary psychoanalytic tools.
This area of neglect was recognized by the IPA Board in 2014 when it created the Task Force on Institutional Issues, stating that “The IPA recognizes that organizational dynamics have an influence on the functioning of training institutes and societies, but this area has received relatively little attention until now.”
The newly created Task Force set out to explore this area in a number of ways. A Survey of the entire membership received considerable positive response and confirmed the feeling that this area is in need of immediate and significant attention. An additional survey aimed at discovering and reviewing the publications that exist in this area by psychoanalysts and related writers. The aim here was twofold: First, to see if and to what extent psychoanalysts have focused on the area of organizational and group dynamics. Second, to bring such work together under one roof in a bibliographical list of references that would make it available to all our members.
I am very pleased to report that we have discovered that a great body of literature, knowledge and consideration does in fact exist that touches on numerous aspects of the psychoanalytic organizational life. This bibliographical list is indeed very impressive. We are delighted that with the help of the IPA Editorial Committee and staff this bibliography is now being uploaded to the IPA website, where it can be accessed by all and provide needed references and substance. The list is organized in a number of categories for ease of search, but can be searched in other ways as well. Furthermore, it is an open-ended list of references, and additional items will gladly be added as they are suggested or we become aware of them.
We encourage you to peruse this bibliography and familiarize yourself with the impressive amount of work that has been done by colleagues in the area of group and institutional dynamics and organizational issues and perspectives. There is much to be learned and a great deal that is pertinent to our daily life in our psychoanalytic institutions. We also welcome any additions or suggestions you may have.
Institutional Issues Task Force
Siv Boalt Boethius
Shmuel Erlich, Chair