September 2022



Coming into Being

The particular and pioneering significance of the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee is establishing a cohesive fourth region for the IPA. Previously, the six Societies/Study-Groups that comprise the Asia Pacific region were individual islands of psychoanalysis, connected through long-distance kinship with either European or American Societies.  Australia and India are miles away in longitude and latitude from each other, as well as from Europe, but both were grouped into the IPA's Europe Region (and both were also members of the European Psychoanalytic Federation (EPF). The other four societies and study groups were allocated to the IPA's North American Region (and therefore were part of the North American Psychoanalytic Confederation (NAPsaC).

The growth and development of psychoanalysis in China gave an impetus to the possibility of creating a fourth region of the IPA, the Asia-Pacific.  By establishing a fourth “region,” the IPA now truly circumscribes the globe.  

The success of the 1st Asian Psychoanalytic Conference held in Beijing in 2010 encouraged the groups of the Asia-Pacific region to come together, to promote and develop psychoanalytic knowledge through a conference, to share their rich, centuries-old cultural and philosophical heritage. Bion’s double arrow < -- > emphasises how psychoanalysis and historical culture contribute to each other. With encouragement from the IPA, the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee was established in 2016 to play a vital role in organising and arranging an ongoing conference to facilitate collaboration between the six regional Societies and Study Groups. It aims to support and maintain the Societies and Study Groups’ individual identities while including the commonality of psychoanalysis that unites them.

After the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee organised well-received conferences in Taipei (2017) and Tokyo (2018), it was decided to have Asia-Pacific Psychoanalytic Conferences biennially, starting in 2020, in the years when there is no international IPA Congress. The 2020 Conference, to be held in Sydney, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The present Asia-Pacific Psychoanalytic Conference is being held on January 4-6, 2023, in India’s capital, Delhi, to mark the Indian Psychoanalytical Society’s 100th year of establishment.

Organising and creating the Asia-Pacific Psychoanalytic Conference

The Asia-Pacific Programme Committee creates, organises, and executes the conference’s scientific programme, from the opening to the closing ceremony.  The Committee liaises with the local host Society/Study-Group members who arrange the cultural programmes.

The Aims of the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee 

The Programme Committee aims to provide an opportunity for psychoanalysts and candidates to participate, present, and be involved in the international psychoanalytic scene.  Growing numbers of members from Europe and America are registering, participating, and presenting at the Conference.  For the Delhi conference, it is the first time that conference proposals have been made through the IPA submissions portal and are reviewed anonymously. The reviewers are internationally chosen.  This year, the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee could only accept one out of three submissions!  Both panel and individual paper presentations have been selected from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as from America and Europe. This has made the Conference a truly significant international event in the IPA calendar. The six keynote lectures are presented by a representative of the regional Societies and Study Groups, with discussants chosen from the Region and Europe, and the Americas.  A feature of the keynote lectures is that they meld psychoanalysis and regional culture and practice.

A particular innovation made by the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee, which has proved extremely popular with the participants, are the two separate small group activities. One is called “Being Together” Groups. (Being Together in Tokyo - BTT; Being Together in Taiwan - BTT) This involves two chairs and a small group of participants from all six Societies and Study Groups that meet after the day’s presentations to discuss their responses to the conference; share the organisation and working of their Societies/Study groups.  
The second one is Small Clinical Discussion Groups, which comprise twelve members, two from each of the six participating Societies and Study Groups. There are two clinical sessions presented by each Society/Study Group, which are then discussed by the group. The six groups then meet twice with two clinical sessions delivered by each Society and Study Group. This is an excellent way for members to understand how their colleagues work. 

The Composition of the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee

The Asia-Pacific Programme Committee consists of a Chair, one member from each of the Asia-Pacific IPA Society/Study Groups, an IPA member (from Europe and the Americas), and an IPSO representative serving on the Asia-Pacific Planning Committee.  The present Asia-Pacific Programme Committee 2023 is as follows:

Louise GYLER, Chair, Australian Psychoanalytical Society
Minnie DASTUR, Indian Psychoanalytical Society
Hsueh-Mei FAN, Taiwan Psychoanalytic Society (Study Group)
Jianyin QIU, China Study Group
Naoki FUJIYAMA, Japan Psychoanalytic Society
In-Soo LEE, Korean Institute for Psychoanalysis (KIPSA) – Interim Provisional
Thomas PLAENKERS – IPA member from Europe
Gagandeep KAUR, IPSO Representative for India

The Asia-Pacific Programme Committee – A Bridge between the East and the West

With its aim of psychoanalytic development, the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee enables increased dialogues between the East and the West by selecting contributions on the present theme, as well as other subjects that explicate and promote psychoanalytic understanding.

Through the years, starting with the psychoanalytic conferences in Beijing and Shanghai, the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee has enabled closer cooperation, understanding, and exchange of not only psychoanalytic knowledge but also cultural and social awareness.  Hence, this year’s theme, Containing Diversity – Bridging Differences, is particularly representative of the working of the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee. Much planning goes into making the Asia-Pacific Psychoanalytic Conference.  The congress site has been visited by the IPA Vice-president, the Treasurer, and the Events Manager to work out the costs and logistics and to find a pleasing and hospitable environment.
The Asia-Pacific Programme Committee meets every month and nearer the Conference more often.  The Committee also collaborates with the local host arrangements committee to make this a memorable experience. For a truly global IPA, these events are of utmost importance.  Not just for a platform provided for psychoanalytical knowledge but to promote an atmosphere and field of cooperation and fellowship amongst the participants. To know what it is to be human. The Asia-Pacific Programme Committee is the IPA’s bridge between the East and the West.

The last two themes of the Asia-Pacific Psychoanalytical Conference are testimony to the work of the Programme Committee. The 2020 theme was Belonging, Displacement & Loss in times of Turmoil. Unfortunately, this very title was played out in the displacement of the conference due to the pandemic. The present congress, Containing Diversity – Bridging Differences, is of concern in our present socio/economic/political climate.

The establishment of the Asia-Pacific Conference and the development of this region also owes thanks to previous International New Groups (ING) Chairs, Maria Teresa Hooke, Claudio Eizirik, the past Presidents and Vice Presidents, Stefano Bolognini and Alexandra Billinghurst, and Virginia Ungar and Sergio Nick. The current President, Harriet Wolfe, and Vice President, Adriana Prengler, are playing an active part in the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee as well.

It is the Asia-Pacific Programme Committee’s unwritten mandate to organise in a streamlined manner and make possible an enlivening Conference to put the Asia-Pacific region as a significant contributor to psychoanalytic growth and promotion.   

Asia-Pacific Programme Committee

From top left:  Adriana PRENGLER (VP-IPA),  Karina GUTIERREZ (Event Manager – IPA), Louise GYLER
(President Australian Psychoanalytic Society & Chair – Asia Pacific Programme Committee)
Middle row: Thomas PLAENKERS, (European member – IPA)  Naoki FUJIYAMA (President Japan Psychoanalytical Society)
Hsueh-Mei FAN (Taiwan Psychoanalytical Association)  
Bottom row: In-Soo LEE (S.Korea - Korean Institute of Psychoanalysis) Minnie DASTUR (India – Indian Psychoanalytical Society)  
Jianyin QIU (China –Study Group for Psychoanalysis)

From top left: Louise GYLER, Karina GUTIERREZ, Hsueh-Mei FAN,
Middle row: Naoki FUJIYAMA, Adriana PRENGLER, Thomas PLAENKERS,
Bottom row: In-Soo LEE, Gagandeep KAUR (IPSO Representative – India), Jianyin QIU.

From top left: Louise GYLER, Karina GUTIERREZ, Thomas PLAENKERS, YunPing YANG (China Study Group),
Middle row: Naoki FUJIYAMA, Minnie DASTUR, Hsueh-Mei FAN, Adriana PRENGLER,
Bottom row: In-Soo LEE, Gagandeep KAUR