CHALLENGES FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS IN MEXICO
Mexico is an amazing country rich in tradition, culture and diversity. With 121 million-inhabitants and an extended territory, it is also complex and full of contrast.
Regarding psychotherapy as a profession there are no tight regulations by the government; so many psychologists can start their clinical practice right after finishing their degree, without having the proper technical knowledge and without the need for psychoanalytic training.
One of the problems for psychoanalytic education in Mexico, relates to the question undergraduate students ask themselves after finishing their studies: Why should I have a psychoanalytic training if I can start a clinical practice right away? What advantages will psychoanalytic training offer if it doesn’t provide an academic degree?
With the start of their professional life, many graduates in psychology face a dilemma between ethics regarding their clinical practice, which would require more years of preparation, and their strivings for instant economic success and recognition. The younger generations in our country are used to the immediate, so working hard to obtain a goal is not always perceived as worth it.
Culturally, religion is an important part of life for many sectors strongly influenced by Catholic and Christian tradition. Furthermore, and because of the influence of our native population, many people follow a millenary cultural tradition favoring magical thinking, therefore it is not uncommon that many –particularly those who live in poverty- search relief from their emotional problems with popular healers “santeros”, or seek guidance and help with priests, church or religious groups.
On the other hand, those who have access to wealth and/or education are influenced by postmodern culture in which immediacy and efficiency are highly valued. For these sector the gym, extreme sports, nightclubs, alcohol and drugs provide a sense of ephemeral wellbeing.
Therefore, as many other psychoanalytic societies in Mexico and abroad, we face the fact that just a small part of the population seeks professional or psychiatric help, let alone psychoanalytic treatment.
These and other challenges are the context within which our history as a psychoanalytic society has developed since 1965. Partly, in an attempt to face some of those challenges we have developed over the years several outreach activities, that can help a wide range of fields and populations understand the contributions psychoanalysis can offer as a theory, as a treatment and as a model of thought.
As part of our history as a psychoanalytic society, we also faced challenges specifically connected to the development of the psychoanalytic movement in Mexico. Undoubtedly, that shaped our identity, conflicts and goals both as individuals and as an institution.
WHAT IS AMPIEP?
We are the Mexican Association for Psychoanalytic, Practice, Training and Research. AMPIEP for the acronym in Spanish.
Located in Mexico City, we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2015! Our congress “Resilience, Adversity and Psychoanalysis” was an essential part of the festivities along with a Cycle of Film commentaries surrounding the same topic.
We are an IPA component society since 2009, one of the three located in our convoluted and heavily populated capital city. We are at present 44 members in a society with a Directive Board composed of several committees among them: our Institute, Clinic, Research, Outreach Activities, Library, Ethics and International Relations.
We have been the only society in Mexico with a predominant female leadership since our birth in 1965 until our present, as well as a majority of female membership composed of clinical psychologists and some psychiatrists.
Our psychoanalytic training is based on the Eitingon Model. We have always emphasized the importance of high frequency personal analysis, personal control case supervision, group supervision of control cases and theory seminars. We stress the importance of developing in our theory and clinical seminars a critical, creative and questioning learning and thinking style in candidates, and at the same time promoting critical and deep understanding of Freud`s writings and thinking, as well as that of other contemporary and classic psychoanalytic authors.
We have a long history training psychoanalysts, with 15 generations of graduates, one generation currently in training and another one about to begin in 2016.
AMPIEP has developed over the years many academic programs to promote interest in psychoanalytic theory and ethical clinical practice, as well as to raise consciousness about the importance of psychoanalytic training and education. These programs also answer the need of students for an academic degree with recognition by national education authorities.
We initiated with introductory courses in psychoanalytic psychodynamics and in 1994 we lounged our “Master Degree in Psychoanalytic Research” from which 17 generations have graduated.
We promote the participation of our members in different fields where they apply psychoanalytic thinking and theory. Through their work in schools, hospitals, diverse institutions, but specially teaching in universities and in our undergraduate and graduate courses, they have promoted interest and contact with potential candidates for psychoanalytic training.
In addition to psychoanalytic training, one of our goals has been to promote psychoanalysis in different social, political and cultural fields. We have a particular preference for cinema that has evolved in our traditional psychoanalytic Film Festivals; interdisciplinary discussion groups about polemic films and in fact we were promoters and organizers of the Post Congress Film Festival in Mexico 2011. To reach a general audience we started, in 2015, a project of outreach through the radio.
We recognize the importance of establishing contact with colleagues from different countries and different schools of thought as a way to enrich our knowledge, clinical practice, and skills as supervisors and teachers. We had the honor in the past of having courses, supervisions and conferences from colleagues like Joseph and Anne Marie Sandler, Anni Bergman, Paulina Kernberg, Calvin Settlage, Ramón Ganzaraín, René Kaës and lately with colleagues like Fernando Orduz, Rubén Zukerfeld, Sabin Aduriz, Ricardo Carlino, Batya Monder and others. Currently we have foreign teachers for some seminars in our psychoanalytic training program. Although this tradition in AMPIEP to connect to the psychoanalytic community worldwide started since the 70’s, we consider it one of the advantages of being part of the IPA.
OUR ORIGINS: WHY AMPIEP HAS BEEN A PIONEER INSTITUTION?
One of the relevant facts about our history is that we emerged against strong hegemonic forces that were present in psychoanalysis in Mexico. In the late 50´s the possibility to access quality psychoanalytic training according to the IPA rules was banned for aspirants without a medical degree. AMPIEP was a pioneer in Mexico, being the first psychoanalytic society to offer quality psychoanalytic training for psychologists.
We invite you to watch our 50th Anniversary video for a broader understanding of our history.
Our female leadership has been also pioneering in a society where male dominance is endemic in a “macho” culture. So we have confronted prejudice not only because we were not psychiatrists, but also because we were mainly women, many times referring to our society members as “Freud´s Widows”. That is certainly one of the reasons we have been interested in themes regarding gender, female leadership and female empowering.
Beyond that, we have also had over the years many study groups about different subjects, among them: on “Gender and Psychoanalysis”, on “The Impact of the Father in the Development of the Daughter”, “Psychoanalysis of the Institutions”, on “Psychoanalysis and Love”, on “ " "Enactment”. Several of our members were for ten years part of a research on “Couple’s Breakup and its impact on the Children” with Judith S. Wallerstein as an Advisor.
We are also proud of our Magazine “Imagen Psicoanalítica”. In its 15 editions, it contains papers of our members and invited writers in topics surrounding theory, technic and the practice of psychoanalysis. Number 16 will be a digital magazine with the papers presented in our congress in 2015. We have also published the psychoanalytic commentaries of our Film Festivals and several publications resulting of the work of our study groups.
You can read more about them by clicking here.
OUR WORK IN THE SOCIAL CONTEXT
In the wake of the 1985 earthquake, AMPIEP worked with 14 crisis intervention groups for the victims. We have also worked with support groups for caretakers of foster homes and other projects. Recently some of our members are working with a government agency in a program that deals with teen pregnancy.
We have a clinic that provides psychoanalytic treatment with lower fees. Up until 2015 we have been able to give treatment to 2610 patients, including adults, adolescents and children. Most of these patients were treated individually, but we have also worked with families and couples.
More than 50% of the patients are in average between 21-31 years. Females come for help more frequently than men. Nonetheless, we have seen an increase in the number of man looking for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.
We also have “School for Parents” a program that gives workshops and conferences in schools and parent groups with a psychoanalytic understanding of problems such as discipline, drug abuse, adolescent conflict, Internet addiction and others.
We believe sharing a psychoanalytic perspective can contribute to prevention and early detection within community settings.
The last 50 years represent only the start of AMPIEP. We have many projects coming, and we will work every day to promote psychoanalysis and hopefully to improve not only ourselves but also the society we live in.
For contact and more information, visit our website www.ampiep.org
Members, candidates, students and friends during the 50th anniversary toast.