IPA Webinars 2023

Behind the scenes of toxic polarisation: consequences of a divided world


Making agreements and meeting positions between people, organisations, and countries is becoming increasingly complex. Positions that are defended as unique and irreconcilable increase tension every day. This webinar will analyse the unconscious mechanisms involved in producing these harmful effects.

Heribert Blass (Germany)
Training and Supervising Psychoanalysts for Adults, Children and Adolescents, also Specialist in Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Psychiatry. Member of the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV) and the IPA. President of the European Psychoanalytic Federation (EPF). He works in private practice in Düsseldorf, Germany. IPA President-Elect.

Title: Autonomy, mortification and the loss of an anthropological universalism - Read the paper
In ‘Civilization and its Discontents’ (1930), Freud already described the antagonism between the pleasure-seeking individual and the restrictions imposed by the surrounding culture. It seems that today, in the course of a capitalistically underpinned expansion of the autonomy striving of both individuals and states, the sense of an anthropological universalism is increasingly lost and feelings of individual mortification are emphasized instead. This leads to polarizations that seem to make understanding for the other impossible. As psychoanalysts, we have to deal with the chosen offenses.’

Claudio Eizirik (Brazil)
Cláudio Laks Eizirik , MD, PhD , is a Training and Supervising Analyst, at Porto Alegre Psychoanalytic Society, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, former President of IPA ( from 2005 to 2009) and FEPAL ( Latin American Psychoanalytic Federation), recipient of The Sigourney Award in 2011, with books, chapters and papers on analytic training, practice and institutions, and the relation of psychoanalysis and culture. 

Title: The almost impossible and the absolutely needed science and art of listening to the other - Read the paper
In my presentation I will suggest possible unconscious roots and primitive ways of feeling and thinking that makes it a sort of a miracle when people, groups, organizations and nations are able to listen and try to understand the other, the different, the foreigner that often is perceived , treated as and becomes the enemy. 
After suggesting some possible ways in which psychoanalytic listening , developed in more than a century of daily clinical, training and institutional work may be useful in this challenging and often disappointing task, I will give some examples in which listening to the other had a positive impact on social , institutional and individual relationships. In short, in my view we are not doomed to the repetition compulsion of bad experiences , feelings and thoughts and these examples suggest that there may be at least some room for the creation of new sounds and ways of listening to the other.

Sue Kolod (USA)
Dr. Kolod is the President-elect of the North American Psychoanalytic Confederation (NAPsaC). She served on the Board of the IPA for 2 terms (2019 to 2023) and the Executive Committee as a representative from North America from 2021-2023. She is a Supervising and Training Analyst and member of the Faculty at the William Alanson White Institute and co-leads the Depolarization Project with Dr. Chris Heath. Dr. Kolod is also a member of the Board of Directors of APSA.
Title: Toxic Polarization within Psychoanalysis - Read the paper
It seems that Psychoanalysis has much to offer to help alleviate toxic polarisation in the world. However, it is not clear whether this is really the case. Splitting and projection are rampant on psychoanalytic listservs. In public discourse there is little tolerance for diverse points of view—especially and most recently in terms of Israel and Hamas. I suggest we first must develop tolerance for and even embrace the different, opposing points of view of our colleagues. Only then, will we be prepared to take our message to the world. Examples of how this might occur will be provided.

A Chris Heath, MD (USA)

Chair of External Communications at the International Psychoanalytical Association. Member of the Committee for Psychiatry and the Media of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, a professionalism think tank in the United States. He was awarded a Video Grant from the Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing Web (PEPWeb); his series "Mind Your Mind", explaining psychoanalysis in lay terms, is available on PEPWeb free of charge. He creates outreach videos on Tiktok at https://www.tiktok.com/@achrisheathmd and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/c/FreudaliciousMind.