Canadian Psychoanalytic Society-Quebec English branch

The Quebec English Branch (CPS-QE) is based in Montreal and is part of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society. Currently, we have 82 members, 27 candidates, 12 fellows and 16 guests.

Montreal’s European roots both French and English, the geographical proximity to the United States, being home for generations of immigrants from all over the world, and its linguistic and cultural identities make it a unique city in both the province and the country. The city is a centre of education boasting four large universities including McGill University, with its international reputation, and several large hospitals associated with these universities.

The unique geographical position, history and bilingualism (French and English) contributes to the extraordinary confluence of ideas at the CPS-QE. Also, the CPS-QE seminal affiliation with the British Psychoanalytical Association, the various backgrounds of its founding members, the exposure to different psychoanalytic theories and the opportunity for cross-fertilization with the Société psychanalytique de Montréal (SPM) which is housed at the same address, contributes to the clinical richness at the CPS-QE.

An abbreviated history of the QE
Miguel Prados, a self-analyzed neuropathologist affiliated with McGill, began the Montreal Psychoanalytic Club in 1945. It grew rapidly and the following year Father Noël Mailloux, founder of the Institut de Psychologie at the Université de Montréal, joined the Club. In the subsequent years, analysts trained in London, Paris, other European cities and the United States came to Montreal and became part of the psychoanalytic group. In 1957, after complex negotiations, the group became officially recognized as the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society (CPS), the 16th recognized member of the IPA.

Issues of language and geography soon led to the CPS becoming a federation of seven separate branch societies. In 1969 anglophone analysts in Montreal formed the Quebec English branch of the CPS and francophone analysts formed the Société psychanalytique de Montréal (SPM). Over the years, other branches were established across the country, in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, London and Quebec City.

Where we are now
While many of the analysts who trained in the earlier days of the QE are retiring, a recent increase of interest in psychoanalysis is bringing more candidates to our Institute contributing fresh energy, passion and new ways of thinking about psychoanalysis. Nowadays, several members of the QE are actively involved in multi-national study groups. They attend and present at conferences sponsored by IPA, APsA, the European Federation, and at other Canadian branches.

The CPS-QE offers monthly Scientific Meetings and an Annual Symposium. In the last five years, we have received international psychoanalytic thinkers such as Howard Levine, Antonino Ferro, Riccardo Lombardi, Larry Brown and Andrea Celenza, to name only a few! On a less regular basis it also organizes Visiting Scholar Workshops, Clinical Process Seminars and psychoanalytic discussions of books and cinema. Each of the activities offered is accredited with the provincial regulating body so that attendees may fulfill the requirements for Continuing Education.

In addition to the regular members, the QE has a roster of guest members composed of mental health professionals and other members of the community who may be interested in learning more about psychoanalytic thought and practice. This level of membership provides access to all our activities, the use of the library and access to a subscription to PEP Web. The CPS-QE Psychoanalytic library is the largest in Canada with over 3,000 manuscripts in English.

Training at the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis
The Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis (CIP-QE) is housed in the same building as the CPS-QE. The candidates are required to be in training analysis and to follow a year long infant observation. The four-year training follows the Eitingon Model. It also includes a module on French developments in psychoanalysis and another one that focuses on post-Bionian authors and contributions. Candidates of the CIP-QE are permitted to choose their training analyst and one supervising analyst from the Institut psychanalytique de Montréal (IPM) in order to fulfill the requirements for training. In 2016, the CIP-QE started to offer a non-clinical track for academics interested in studying psychoanalysis. It offers the possibility of distance training through zoom for candidates in Ottawa and Vermont, USA.

In 2018, in response to a dearth of psychoanalysts coming forward to apply for membership in the Institute, the CIP-QE developed a seminar for members who might be considering applying to become training analysts. The seminar took place over a period of eighteen months during which time many topics were covered including the teaching, supervising and analyzing of candidates, overseeing clinical case presentations as well as the challenges of writing and presenting analytic papers for publication and for the purpose of applying to become a training analyst. This revolutionary seminar was deemed an excellent learning experience and some of the members who participated have already begun the process of preparing for application to the Institute.

Child Analysis at the CPS-QE
Clifford Scott, a founding member of the CPS, was a child analyst and a strident supporter of child psychoanalysis: his influence on our Society is apparent until today. A separate entity, with affiliation to the CIP-QE, is the Training in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. It has been operating for many years in the building that houses the QE, and is staffed by members of the QE, SPM and other CPS branches. As well, the Canadian Group of Psychoanalysts for Children and Adolescents (CGPCA) was founded 30 years ago in Montreal by Clifford Scott and Jean-Baptiste Boulanger. This group continues to meet monthly to discuss topics of interest and present papers and cases pertaining to child and adolescent analysis. Members of the QE have long been well represented as members and chairs of this group, which continues to thrive and evolve. In 2004, a one-year Infant Observation module was introduced into the first-year curriculum of the CIP-QE providing candidates with the rare opportunity to experience the particular kind of listening, watching and not intervening so necessary for working with adult patients in psychoanalysis.

The CPS-QE and the SPM

Many personal and collegial relationships have developed between members of the two Montreal Societies over the years. In the past 10 years an annual Joint Scientific Meeting between the two Societies has been revived and collaborative meetings established between the Presidents who share responsibility for the maintenance of the building in which they reside. Members of each group frequently attend scientific programs and symposia put on by the other branch and members of both groups can and do collaborate in study groups and seminars. Other bridges between the two groups often takes the form of SPM members being asked by the QE to present at their Scientific Meetings.

Outreach Initiatives
Outreach has become an integral focus as we are especially aware of the need to attract psychiatrists and clinicians from various mental health fields to attend our programs and consider training. In order to enhance our interface with the academic community and the community at large, the QE has recently created the CPS-QE Book Club to explore the intersections between psychoanalysis and literature. The CPS-QE is currently embarking on a joint project with Dawson College and Concordia University entitled Psychoanalysis and Film.

Fellowship Program
The QE has also implemented a unique and fruitful outreach aptly named the Fellowship Program. Participants are each assigned a mentor from among the membership of the branch. They have monthly meetings individually with their mentors and with the group of fellows and mentors together. As a group, the fellows and mentors read and discuss the psychoanalytic literature centered on a topic selected by the group at the beginning of each year. Fellows can also attend Scientific Meetings and other programs throughout the academic year. From the outset of the Fellowship Program, a significant number of former fellows have applied to train at the CIP-QE, eventually becoming members actively involved in all aspects of the QE and CPS, an unexpected and most welcome outcome.

Other Outreach
Over many years, psychiatrists in the later years of their residency have benefitted from a replication of the Wednesday Evening Psychoanalytic Discussion Group as it was originally conducted during the time of Freud. This younger generation of psychiatrists trained in the contemporary biological model, have been offered exposure to psychoanalytic theory, thought and clinical casework with several senior, experienced analysts. This has led several of these residents to undertake a personal analysis as well as psychoanalytic training. At one of the hospitals, the Jewish General, there is a psychoanalytic psychotherapy clinic, named for the late Dr. Henry Kravitz, a Training and Supervising Analyst at the QE and currently under the leadership of another of our QE members.

The Aquarium Foundation has recently been founded by several QE members. Its mission is to promote the teaching and practice of child psychoanalysis with the goal of enhancing accessibility to treatment in the community.

For more information about the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society - Quebec English Branch, please visit:

Collaboratively written by Meryl Elman, CPS-QE President; Cheryl Jacobson, Past President; Susanna Jack, Treasurer of the CPS-QE and Inês Faro, Candidate and member of the Scientific Committee.