Society of the Month: July 2016

  Istanbul Psychoanalytical Association  


Turkish psychoanalytic movements can be traced to the  ’80s,  a period of strong political repression and persecution. In a time when the military junta had seized power (1980) and had no tolerance for freedom of thought and organization, a group of psychiatry students and interns from the Faculty of Medicine of Çapa (Istanbul University) came together to study the works of Freud, Lacan, Jung and Adler. Some psychologists and psychology students also joined the group. In this sense, the desire to study these psychoanalytic texts took birth in these professionals that had progressive political ideas.

Foundation years

In the ’90s Talat Parman, who was a member of this group,  decided to return to Istanbul after having finished his residency in psychiatry and begun his psychoanalytic training in the Paris Psychoanalytic Society. He had the intention to create the first psychoanalytic group in Turkey, which would eventually be part of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He obtained the support of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society for the creation of a psychoanalytic group and the development of psychoanalysis in Turkey. The group was founded in 1994 and named as the “Istanbul Psychoanalytical Group”. At the beginning it was composed of Talat Parman, Tevfika Tunaboylu-İkiz, Bella Habip, Stella Ovadia and Nesim Bitran. A year later Ayça Gürdal and Levent Kayaalp and two years after Elda Abrevaya joined them. All of them had studied in France and some of them were already in analysis in this country but had not started their psychoanalytic training.  This first group continued till 2000. Then Bella Habip, Stella Ovadia and Nesim Bitran decided to leave the group at the point where the other members wanted to establish a psychoanalytic association. 

The academic positions that Talat Parman, Tevfika Tunaboylu-İkiz and Levent Kayaalp occupied at the Istanbul University made possible to obtain the support of the Psychiatry Departments of the Faculties of Medicine of Çapa and Cerrahpaşa, as well as that of the Psychology Department. Thus introductory conferences to psychoanalysis were organized for psychiatrists and psychologists.  The Turkish Neuropsychiatry Association also supported these efforts. The financial support of the cultural service of the French Embassy in Turkey was obtained. An agreement signed between the Istanbul Psychoanalytic Group, the Paris Psychoanalytic Society and the French Embassy permitted the invitation of training psychoanalysts of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society in Istanbul. Each visit consisted in theoretical and clinical seminars, which aimed at the development of the members of the Group, and also at the dissemination of psychoanalytic concepts among the students and other professionals.  From 1995 to 2001, thirty visits were realized, twenty of them by Bernard Penot from the Paris Psychoanalytic Society. The other visits were realized by other members of the same Society, such as; Jean-José Baranes, Bernard Brusset, Jean Cournut, Paul Israel, Florence Guignard, Alain Fine, Claude Janin, Martine Janin-Oudinot and Gilbert Diatkine. Along with the collaboration with the consulate of France, which still continues, came also the cooperation with the cultural services of other consulates: Spain, Italy, Israel and Austria.

The Beginnings

The members of the Group, except Talat Parman who had begun his training in 1993, started their training. They travelled to Paris each month for their personal analysis (shuttle analysis) and individual supervisions. They participated in theoretical seminars of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society. The five members of the Group, Talat Parman, Tevfika Tunaboylu-İkiz, Elda Abrevaya, Levent Kayaalp, Ayça Gürdal completed their training and became members of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society. So together they formed the first generation of psychoanalysts in Turkey and played a very important role in the development of psychoanalysis. They offered conferences and seminars, which revived a growing interest in the professionals working in the field of mental health. Many psychiatrists and psychologists began their personal analysis with them.

In 1999 some of the members of the Group planned the publication of the first psychoanalytic journal, Psychoanalytic Writings and the first issue appeared in 2000. At the same time a collection of psychoanalytic books “Dream/Thought” was created by Ayça Gürdal Küey, the editor, and they were published by Bağlam Editions in Istanbul. These publications contributed greatly to the dissemination of psychoanalysis. The same year the first International Psychoanalytic Meeting of Istanbul was organized. Eminent psychoanalysts from Europe and United States, such as Benno Rosenberg, Guy Rosolato, Yolanda Gampel, Antoine Hani, Bernard Penot, Michael Stone were invited to participate to the conference.   

The creation of the first generation of psychoanalysts was crucial for the development of psychoanalysis in Turkey. Till then any person who wished to become a psychoanalyst was obliged to travel abroad in order to be analyzed and receive training. It was the first time that a psychoanalytic group was founded with the aim of belonging to the International Psychoanalytic Association. In 2001 the Istanbul Psychoanalytical Association was created with also the participation of Raşit Tükel, Başak Yücel, who were members of MEPEV (Murat Şefik Etaner Foundation for Psychothereapy), established by Professor Ulviye Etaner. Dr. Etaner was an emeritus professor of Child Psychiatry in Istanbul University and a psychoanalyst trained in Berlin but she was not a member of the IPA. In January 2003, the executive committee of the Association wrote a letter to the president of the IPA to ask for their support and guidance to provide psychoanalytic training to its members.
The response of the Board of the IPA was favorable and led to the creation of the Turkish Supervisory Committee.

Three years later, in February 2006, the four members of the group, Talat Parman, Tevfika Tunaboylu-İkiz, Elda Abrevaya and Levent Kayaalp, who had already become members of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, wrote a letter to the president of the New Groups Committee of the IPA to become a Study Group. A site visiting committee, composed by Gemma Jappe (chair), Dieter Bürgin and Guillermo Bodner, was appointed and came to Istanbul in November 2006. In its meeting in New York on January 2007, the IPA’s Board approved the IPA Study Group status for the Istanbul Psychoanalytical Association. On May 2007 the IPA Turkish Sponsoring Committee was appointed, composed of Antonino Ferro (chair), Gemma Jappe and Savvas Savvapoulos. Finally on July 2012 in their meeting in Toronto, the Board of the IPA recognized the Istanbul Psychoanalytical Association as a “Provisional Society”. 


The development of the Association

The Association is composed of 6 training and supervising analysts, 22 analysts and 70 candidates. The French model has been adopted for training. Aside from the supervising analysts of the Association, supervising analysts coming from other psychoanalytic societies contribute also to the training of the candidates. These visiting analysts organize in average four visits a year during which they study theoretical texts with the candidates and discuss clinical cases presented by them. This aspect of the contribution of analysts coming from other psychoanalytic societies, principally from France, Israel and Germany, constitutes one of the originalities of the training program. As the founders of the Istanbul Psychoanalytical Association had benefited during their training from a plurality of clinical and theoretical teachings in the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, they considered that the training and supervising analysts coming from different psychoanalytic models and societies could in a similar way enrich the process of training of the candidates.


In spite of being a young association, it has been very dynamic in organizing conferences, seminars and congresses that contribute to the training of its members, but also to the cultural and intellectual life of the Turkish society. The analysts and the candidates participate actively in the transmission of psychoanalysis and organize conferences with this purpose in other cities of Turkey and in Cyprus too. Seminars are open to the public to promote the familiarization with psychoanalysis. The journal Writings of Psychoanalysis has been diffused successfully since 2000 and benefits of a wide public of clinical professionals, students, intellectuals and artists.  Since 2005, another annual publication, Meetings of Psychoanalysis brings together the conferences that have been presented during the International Psychoanalytic Meetings of Istanbul. An important collection of psychoanalytic books diffuses texts on psychoanalytic research, theory and practice among the professionals in the field of mental health but also in the wider public.  


Among the specific psychoanalytic annual meetings are:

  •  The International Psychoanalytical Meetings of Istanbul 
  • Child Psychoanalysis Days    
  • Discussions on Youth
  • An Author and A Theory
  • School and Psychoanalysis 
  • Cinema and Psychoanalysis
  • Music and Psychoanalysis
  • Meet the Artist
  • Psychoanalysis in Search of History