Bibliography on Psychoanalysis and Organizational Issues

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
Abel Feinstein
Elizabeth Fritsch
Mario Perini
Edward Shapiro

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This section has to do with the history of psychoanalysis both as a movement and a structured organization, while also exploring some political issues related to its societal life.

This section is mainly focused on various aspects of the psycho-, socio-, and systems-dynamics that may impact on the psychoanalytic institution in terms of group (ill-) functioning, emotional climate, and organizational creativity, coherence, safety and welfare.


This section deals with some outreach issues, in particular for what concerns the capacity of the psychoanalytic organizational culture to lean out from the analytic room while trying to better understand the surrounding social environment and its influence on its theory and practice. 

This section has primarily to do with the building of the analytic identity and with the vicissitudes of the analyst’s “sentience” bonds and feelings of belonging, and the way they may develop in forms of orthodoxy, elitism, intolerance or fundamentalism. 

This section addresses the many facets of the analytic training, its procedures and the related institutions, with regard to its influence on the psychoanalytic organization, its real and fantasmatic hierarchies, and issues like money, power struggles, orthodoxy Vs pluralism, endogamic bonds and schismatic phenomena.