IPA in the Community

Today I want to share the work of IPA in the Community, a new structure of committees created at the start of our Administration with the purpose of increasing IPA psychoanalysis’ presence in the community. We believe that it is important to work actively to broaden the scope of psychoanalysis so that we can fully develop its potential.

As the world is facing a myriad of troubles (e.g. violence, migrations, intolerance to differences) with serious impacts on the mental health field, we firmly believe in the importance of making use of analytic tools not only in our private practice, but also in a diverse array of other settings.

The IPA in the Community Committee sub-areas that are already actively working are: Health (both general medicine and mental health), Education (across all age groups), Culture, Violence, Law and Humanitarian Organisations.

Also, as this is a new area of committees, we have launched a call for proposals for prizes

After the last online meeting Sergio Nick and I had with the Chairs of the IPA in the Community Committees and with Abel Fainstein, the ExCom member in charge of the Steering Function, we would like to share an update of the committees’ work. 

The IPA in Education Committee has the purpose of surveying psychoanalysis’ relationship with the field of education at all levels, and of working on enhancing and increasing links with educational communities. Working closer with educators allows psychoanalysts to intervene directly, in an interdisciplinary collaboration, to detect developmental problems at very early stages. We could also help educators with the problems that are naturally involved in the educational process. 

The committee has grouped its sub-committees: Early Child and Pre-school; Primary and Secondary; and University. They are discussing the importance of publishing, through the IPA website, projects that are already in progress with the aim of exchanging experiences between different institutions. They plan to post 2-minute videos describing some of the projects that involve psychoanalysis and the community (not only education).

They are also planning to examine several topics of importance such as the barriers that make collaboration between educators and psychoanalysts challenging, and the demand for quick results in a therapy, amongst others.

The IPA in Health Committee focuses on studying the subject of health on the interdisciplinary work with the medical specialties that are most related to, and in dialogue with, psychoanalysis. This committee is envisioned to increase the visibility of IPA analysts in the wider world of clinical medicine.

The committee has set up a Facebook page entitled IPA in Health. It is a meeting place for all IPA psychoanalysts who are involved and interested in the interface between the dynamic understanding of the mind and the physical health of individuals. The Facebook posts include several topics such as: eating disorders, facing death, psycho-oncology, treating trauma, psychosomatics, Balint groups, psychotherapy training in the community, and the interface between analysis and medicine in Germany, to name a few.
The IPA and Humanitarian Committee comprises United Nations, Humanitarian Organisations, and Migrations and Refugees sub-committees. This committee was created to foster connections with international humanitarian organisations, because we believe in aiming to enhance the IPA’s involvement in these fields.

The committee is working on its first tasks: mapping the organisations with which the IPA is most likely to liaise beneficially, and to begin collaborative projects where IPA members can be involved in the dissemination of psychoanalytical knowledge. They are currently contacting members who are engaged in working with humanitarian organisations and gathering data about the work that they are carrying out. They are also collecting information regarding organisations that the IPA could potentially collaborate with. They will create a database of this worldwide information. Moreover, they have set up a Facebook page to increase their outreach.
The IPA in Culture Committee explores psychoanalysis’ involvement with cultural and aesthetic movements, in areas like plastic arts, literature, cinema, music, dance, theatre, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, etc.

The task of this committee is aimed towards the psychoanalytic community (in-reach rather than out-reach). They are working to provide analysts with experiences of creative processes such as the ones activated, expressed, and experienced in the work of art, literature, performances, music, etc. Creativity involves the unconscious, which is a very important component of the analyst’s mind at work. Therefore, engaging colleagues in cultural activities (as creators and/or as recipients) will nurture them in psychoanalytically meaningful ways.
In order to achieve this, the committee has submitted a proposal for the London Congress in 2019, of an activity that promotes a creative experience.

They have also launched a survey of the cultural interests of IPA members, that was sent out to all IPA members and candidates. The results of this survey will be summarised soon on the IPA website. 
The Psychoanalysis & Law Committee (the already existing committee) is fully engaged in the publication of a book which already has a commercial contract signed in the USA. This is a truly international project with authors from the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Portugal, India, England, Germany, and Norway. The idea was born at the committee meeting at the Buenos Aires Congress last year, and they intend to launch it at the London Congress next year.
The Violence Committee is mandated to contribute with psychoanalytic reflections on violence against women, terror and terrorism, social violence, violence against children and on child abuse, genocide, and other forms of extreme expression of violence (e.g. femicide, hate crimes, racially motivated and gender-based violence etc.); and to contribute with proposals for the external objective world as well as the psychoanalytic world. 

The committee is currently undertaking research into these different areas of their mandate within the psychoanalytic literature. They realise that some of the areas have a rich psychoanalytic literature and others do not, and they are considering contacting certain colleagues, from other disciplines who are experts in the relevant areas. They aim to gradually build up a psychoanalytic body of knowledge in these different areas of violence. 

The Violence Committee will work in collaboration with COCAP, COWAP, the IPA and Humanitarian Organisations Committee, the Inter-Committee Project on Child Abuse, the IPA in Health Committee, and the IPA Sexual and Gender Diversity Studies Committee.

Virginia Ungar
IPA President
Virginia Ungar
IPA President