Moscow Group of Psychoanalysts

The Moscow Group of Psychoanalysts (MGP) is a Provisional Society of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA).
Here you can see our group with the members of our Liaison Committee:
Our Board members are: Elena Bederova (President), Lola Komarova (Chair of Training Committee), Olga Papsueva (Chair of Admission Committee), Irina Minasyan (Chair of Ethics Committee), Elena Kostyleva (Chair of Programme Committee), Irina Shibaeva (Chair of Outreach Committee), and Elena Rabotnova (Treasurer). As a group, we have existed in the IPA since 2005 (since 2009, under the name of Moscow Group of Psychoanalysts):
Our history
Our Society began to emerge in 1988. Long before we achieved the status of IPA Study Group, we existed as a group of people passionately seeking the opportunities to study psychoanalysis. We came from diverse backgrounds, with different educations (psychologists, psychiatrists, and teachers) and had different professional approaches based on different schools of thought. Our country has passed through a number of severe crises that also took their toll on our own development.      
Since the beginning of the Perestroika, we thought that psychoanalysis would come as a breath of fresh air for us, both professionally and personally, but by the end of the Perestroika it turned out that there was much less freedom than we had expected. However, despite new difficulties, we managed to establish contacts with IPA psychoanalysts who began to come to Moscow to give lectures and conduct training seminars. 
For a few years we worked under the guidance of a British analyst, Mrs. Cheryl Fitzgerald. This work enabled us to feel like close associates, like a group. Some of us formed a group that worked at infant orphanages. Our work with the orphanage staff was devoted to the issues of emotional development of children abandoned by their parents. This experience left an indelible impression on us. It was a huge, valuable experience, both clinically and theoretically, and it helped us to significantly advance professionally.  

In 1995, our child observation group - together with the International Movement of Women Against Child Abuse - organised the 1st Moscow International Conference on Child Abuse and Mental Health issues sponsored by Mrs. Naina Yeltsina, wife of the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, with the participation of internationally renowned psychoanalysts and mental health professionals.  

Eventually we began to study psychoanalysis within the framework of the Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe (PIEE), with psychoanalysts belonging to different analytical schools in Lithuania, the UK, France, Finland, etc.
As an IPA Study Group, our society has travelled a long and difficult way, going through a succession of crises that brought us both losses and gains. We are deeply grateful to all our teachers. The next generation of our candidates began to receive their psychoanalytical training in our group.

It had been all the more difficult, as at that time, psychoanalysis in Russia began to be seen as oppositional by the community of academic psychologists and psychiatrists. Despite everything, we retained our status of an IPA Study Group.  
It was largely due to our work with our third Sponsoring Committee – with our teachers Dr. Roger Kennedy, Henk Jan Delewyk, and Dr. Michael Sebek – that we began to gradually overcome the difficulties arising in the process of our development.  
For us, it was an important step in gaining experience of team working, of making joint decisions by a group of persons with different experiences and different – sometimes opposing – views. 

Meetings in Prague 
An important part of our group’s development that distinguishes us from other European Study Groups was the fact that, for 5 years, we went to Prague twice per year to meet with our Sponsoring Committee. It had not been easy for us, but surprisingly, it turned out to be very important for acquiring a free, neutral space to develop our identity as a Society. It facilitated our consolidation and our gradual integration into the international community.  
In 2017, our group was granted the status of IPA Provisional Society at the 50th IPA Congress in Buenos Aires.
Society’s goals and activities 
As we develop, we engage in new activities and set new goals. 

Between 2017 and 2018, we organised the visits of Schmuel Gerzi and Alain Gibault in Moscow. Their lectures and seminars proved to be very valuable for our development. 
An important goal for us is to create an environment that would enable each society member to pursue their own professional goals within the framework of MGP, whilst also fostering the development of our society as a part of the international psychoanalytic community.     

Taking into account that the future carries traces of the past, we consider it necessary to minimise the risks of transferring to the new generation of our candidates, the old traumatic ways of interacting within the group and with the external world. To this end, we plan to organise seminars to explore the impact of trauma on the group’s functioning.
To develop a sense of continuity of the group’s existence, we are planning to create an archive in which our past could be presented as recollections, memoirs, photographs, and other documents, accessible to all members of the group, both analysts and candidates.  

We would like to carry on a successful tradition of initiative groups consisting of MGP members and candidates that can independently organise ad hoc scientific, cultural and organisational seminars. This tradition was initially suggested to us by our sponsoring committee. 
Thus, we have an art seminar “Visual arts: the history of understanding” held regularly since October 2017. What makes this seminar unique is its attempt to find a deeper meaning of the symbolic content of an artist’s work through art history approach, to discuss how their works are linked to their history. The lectures will widen the scope of our educational and professional interests. During recent seminars, we have discussed the works of Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele, Hieronymus Bosch, and Louise Bourgeois.   
Our society has begun to publish our Psychoanalytic Newsletter, the Society’s independent printed informational periodical. This publication is designed to promote the development of psychoanalytic knowledge by providing a space for free expression and discussion of different opinions on psychoanalytic tasks and themes. It also serves to broaden the sociocultural horizon of MGP members and candidates, and to inform MGP members and candidates about important events in Russian and international psychoanalysis.       
Our plans include creating a psychoanalytic library, launching a Psychoanalytic Bulletin containing scientific papers of the Society’s members, and creating a database of electronic publications. 

We have recently updated our website ( and created areas to display scientific articles written by MGP members, as well as personal pages for our members. We plan to translate the website into English. 
The society continues with scientific research in child and adult psychoanalysis. Several projects are being implemented and the results will be presented at scientific meetings and published on the MGP website. 
A scientific conference: “New technologies in the project on Infant Observation using Esther Bick’s method” will be an important event for MGP in 2018.