IPA PSYCHOANALYST EMIGRATION AND RELOCATION COMMITTEE (PERC)
Our presentation aims to keep you informed on the work in progress of the IPA PSYCHOANALYST EMIGRATION AND RELOCATION COMMITTEE. Click here to read our mandate.
Please get in touch if this is an area of interest, or pertinent to your experience, not only as a relocating/emigrating IPA Psychoanalyst or IPSO Candidate, but also as a representative of an Institute or a Psychoanalytic Association interested in exploring policies of inclusion of IPA Members that wish to join your local psychoanalytic community from another IPA Institute.
Members of PERC Committee
Luisa Marino - Chair
Afsaneh Kiany Alisobhani Member - Representative for North America West Coast
Graciela Hoyos Liévano Member - Representative for Latin America
Demian Ruvinsky Member - Representative for Europe and Asia
Marco Posadas Member - Representative for North America
Jeanne Wolff Bernstein - Consultant
"All of a sudden, unpredictably, unprecedentedly, still in shock, we found ourselves having to rethink and
reorganize our lives and our practices."
Sadly, this is a sentence we have heard so many times that now it sounds almost hollow, but it is far from being so.
Increasingly colleagues have had to change and readapt, and some have had to emigrate and relocate in order, not only to keep their practices alive, but also their own lives and that of their families and loved ones. Covid and now wars are affecting many of us.
Emigration is certainly not a new theme for the IPA (the Committee was created in 2017 by Stefano Bolognini and the then IPA Board during his mandate as IPA President - see Adriana Prengler and Rogelio Sosnik contributions - the first as PERC past-chair, the latter as North American PERC past-representative - in our Resource area, click here
Nevertheless, it has become even more relevant due to recent events.
Given PERC’s original mandate, we decided in March 2020, probably also influenced by the sudden loss of physical proximity with our loved ones and that of our colleagues, that it was time to get in touch directly, to be ‘live’ with those that, like many of us PERC members, had had to (or wanted to) relocate somewhere else, from their country and IPA institute of origin.
Supported by technology, we were able to set up monthly zoom meetings from April 2020 to date as a precious additional tool for our Committee to help explore and support those IPA members that found themselves in the situation of having to find new homes, new groups of colleagues, and were often exposed to potentially traumatic situations, such as those who moved because of social and political reasons, including, from Venezuela, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Iran, Mexico, Brazil, and more recently Ukraine and Russia.
Our experience, aside from our research conducted in the last five years of PERC's existence (see our Resource Area
on the IPA website), comes from our own personal histories of relocating/emigrating (some a long time ago, others more recently). In a strange way we have realized in these years of PERC group reflections, that whatever the reasons one had or decided at some point (maybe because we "had to"…a circular sometimes irresolvable issue) to move, there are many commonalities and similar experiences and ways to deal with this change. It became crucial to our work to share all of the above with more colleagues and explore these themes further.
Therefore, we held an IPA Small Discussion Group during the IPA-IPSO 2019 London Congress, and a second one last summer on the occasion of the IPA-IPSO online Conference in 2021. Below are some photos taken during that session.
PERC Zoom Small Discussion Group during the IPA-IPSO online conference in July 2021: "Foreign in a foreign country during the pandemic. Reconnecting with your IPA institute of origin or joining a new one. Sharing our PERC experience with e-zoom meetings during the tough times of the COVID-19 world crisis with relocating IPA/ IPSO members
Here is the link for the full event video recording:
These two sessions alongside our regular zoom meetings with relocating and emigrating psychoanalysts and candidates have been very rich and have provided PERC members with new insights on lesser known unconscious fantasies about the experience of moving, even biases, such as a hidden sense of guilt for having “left,” a persecutory effect of paranoia; or new understanding on inclusion and exclusion, race and discrimination, ultimately on the broader themes of change and separation, including its positive aspects of discoveries and a reciprocal enriching opportunity, for those who move away and those who welcome them.
We were also happy to see how many colleagues were touched and grateful in return, although at times exposing their personal frustration and disappointment because, as an IPA committee, we are unable to influence any specific rules of integration or transferability of our IPA member status from one institute to another, as each institute has their own policies, as also each country has different rules of transferability of licenses and work permits.
PERC's goal is to create a link, a bridge, to help cross literal and more metaphoric boundaries between the newcomers and the recipient places where we settle as moving psychoanalysts (see Conci, M. 2010 An advantage of globalisation: Working with Italian patients abroad in their mother language.
International Forum of Psychoanalysis 19:98-109) To do so, we keep an eye out for the IPA member or candidate who moves. We offer consultations to the institute and local societies that receive the newcomers. With our experience, we hope to help and facilitate awareness and inclusion.
From experience it has to be said that sometimes we foster a sense of attachment to the IPA as a way in which to support us in the process of transitioning from one place to another in a moment of big change, as if this wider Association could prevent us from facing the very concrete and factual difficulties of reintegrating in a new environment and cherishing the fantasy that it could even protect us from the impact of these inevitably traumatic changes we are exposed to as immigrants and often as actual victims for example of war or racial persecution.
Ironically, those who emigrated in the first generation of IPA analysts during the first and second world wars, due to local racial laws, among others, are the same analysts that founded many of the institutes that are now firmly established in various regions.
The IPA is a community of analysts, many of whom not only contributed in the past, but still support the IPA because they themselves relocated and emigrated somewhere in the world, not only to survive (Freud and his family to begin with) but also to expand and explore more opportunities for our psychoanalytic practices, to become useful to a wider global audience; ultimately to help more patients in their/our struggle for mental health.
"PERC aims at reaching out, supporting, and creating more awareness on the actual situation of those colleagues moving and relocating from one country to another - helping both parties involved - the relocating analyst and the recipient Institute to be in touch, create a space for integration and mutual growth, keeping the IPA spirit and that of psychoanalysis alive and global, especially in times like these where more countries and colleagues endure the horror of war and forced migration."