The Lebanese Association for the Development of Psychoanalysis (ALDeP) is the first society, in the Arab world, to be affiliated to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) and the European Psychoanalytical Federation (EPF) as a Study Group since January 2010.


The development of psychoanalysis in Lebanon has to take into account its ¬historical, cultural background and the diversity of its religious communities. Though it has not been confronted with the same level of resistance as in neighboring Arab countries, psychoanalysis in Lebanon has evolved in tandem with a work of culture which cannot take place without taking into consideration the prejudices, conflicts and arrangements that are the essence of this country. 

Despite domestic as well as regional conflicts and divisions, the implantation and development of psychoanalysis took place during the Lebanese war (1975-1990) and has been well received and supported in the mental health circle and in the Universities. In Lebanon, the practice of psychoanalysis began in the early 70s due to the interest of some psychologists and psychiatrists in the work of S. Freud. Among the pioneers, are Michel and Marie-Thérèse Asfar, Mounir Chamoun, Adnan Houbballah and Adel Akl, joined shortly thereafter by Liliane Ghazaly. The 1975 Lebanese Civil War resulted in a set back of the still modest activities of these early analysts, but did not prevent them from continuing their clinical and academic practice. In 1978, Michel Asfar died, struck by a shrapnel in his home. An obituary of Paul-Claude Racamier, published in the Revue française de psychanalyse, testifies to the qualities and merits of this analyst disappeared in the early years of the Lebanese psychoanalytic life (P.-C. Racamier, Michel Asfar, Revue française de psychanalyse, Presses universitaires de France, Tome 42, n°4, 1978). Note that other practitioners left Lebanon before the war to settle in countries like the United States (Antoine Hani), Canada (George Awad) and France (Nagib Khouri, Jacques Nassif…).

A few years later, the Lebanese Psychoanalytic Society, the first Society in the Arab-speaking Middle-East, was founded in 1980 by A. Houbballah, M. Chamoun and A. Akl along the lines of French Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Its activities developed mainly after the end of the war (early 1990s) with the admission, in 1995, of new members and the development of its scientific activities. Less than a decade later, a series of institutional crises led to a succession of resignations and the creation of new groups, most of them presently dissolved. We quote from these groups Circle of Psychoanalytical Studies (CEP), Society of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy in Children and Adolescents (SPADEA), Arab Centre for Psychoanalytic and Psychopathological Research (CARPP) and Lebanese School of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ELPP). 

In 2009, five members resigned from this first society and founded the Lebanese Association for the Development of Psychoanalysis (ALDeP) with the aim of an affiliation to the IPA. 

After working through the trauma of separation from the former society and mourning its loss, the present members of ALDeP enriched by their diverse psychoanalytic backgrounds, managed to create a dedicated team determined to fully integrate the international psychoanalytic community.


One of the main reasons for the institutional crisis of the former society was the wish of some members to join the International psychoanalytical community, enhance the theoretical and clinical fruitfulness this community could bring but mostly, introduce an outside and external objective perspective to prevent and avoid eventual future crisis. ALDeP pioneers considered that it is not in the interest of today's psychoanalysis to remain on the sidelines of an international movement that brings together scientifically rich societies, diverse in their complementarity. Remaining on the sidelines of this movement would lead to a risk of isolation and impoverishment of a composite psychoanalytical discourse which has been growing ever since Freud. Thus, one of the main objectives of ALDeP's was to join this movement by working to put in place the steps for an affiliation to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA).

Founded by five Lebanese psychoanalysts, some direct members of the IPA and others of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society (Mona Charabaty, Wafica Kallassi, Marie-Thérèse Khair Badawi, Nagib Khouri and Maurice Khoury, soon joined by Mouzayan Osseiran and later by Nayla De Coster), ALDeP is officially recognized by the Lebanese Interior Ministry on March 26, 2009 (Official Journal of April 2, 2009). Its aim is to: 

  • transmit and develop psychoanalysis as a specific scientific discipline and as a therapeutic and research method in accordance with the work of Freud and his successors 
  • promote psychoanalysis practice and theory by organizing seminars, clinical workshops, round tables and conferences 
  • encourage exchanges with colleagues of various orientations by consolidating relations with different psychoanalytical schools of thought in Lebanon and abroad 
  • organize the training of candidates for the practice of psychoanalysis; ALDeP follows the French model of training and the personal analysis takes place before the official and institutional learning process. As for all models, the training is based on the tripartite concept procedure (personal psychoanalysis, supervisions as well as
  • theoretical and clinical seminars) and on the central role of the psychoanalyst and his responsibility in the psychoanalytical process by reinventing a specific listening, finding alternatives for the development of the analytical process and thus, enable the patient to reinvigorate his/her own life. Today, ALDeP includes fifteen practitioners, seven full members and eight candidates.

Several months after the 2009 March foundation, and the IPA site committee visits (Dr. André Beetschen from the French Psychoanalytic Association and Dr. Vojislav Curcic from the Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia), ALDeP was approved as an IPA Study Group at the IPA Board meeting in January 2010, NY, USA. During 2010, the IPA’s Executive Committee appointed a Sponsoring Committee composed by Drs. F. Ladame (Swiss Society of Psychoanalysis) and S. Frisch (Belgian Psychoanalytical Society).

The scientific activities of ALDeP consist of seminars, clinical workshops, conferences and meetings. Internal seminars are reserved for the candidates.

Other seminars and clinical workshops are open to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in psychoanalysis. Conferences and meetings oriented towards a wider audience are regularly held. Besides pure psychoanalytical topics, they generally deal with subjects from various fields such as literature and other culturally oriented themes. Moreover, and from a perspective of dialogue, ALDeP inaugurated, as of 2016, debates with psychiatrists and therapists of non-analytical approaches. 

ALDeP members also participate actively in scientific meetings outside the association, including the annual French speaking psychoanalysts conference (CPLF), the IPA and EPF annual conferences as well as the child analysis conferences of Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Psychanalytiques pour le développement de l'Enfant et du Nourrisson (GERPEN) and Société Européenne pour la Psychanalyse de l’Enfant et de l’Adolescent (SEPEA). 

Although mostly trained in the perspective of French psychoanalysis, the psychoanalysts currently practicing in ALDeP also show an openness to other psychoanalytic schools of thought, notably the British kleinian, post-kleinian and winnicottian orientation. This openness appears to be due mainly to the country's pluralistic cultural nature and the growing interest in child psychoanalysis, largely developed in the UK. Psychoanalysis with children, adolescents and non-neurotic mental structures has given rise to technical and conceptual variants of the practice, variants that have considerably enriched the therapeutic approach to psychic disorders. Consequently, the clinical thought that prevails at ALDeP is based on this multi-theoretical framework, assorted with the needs of the Lebanese culture and its diversity (Arab and occidental background).

Our vision for the future of ALDeP is to grow from a study group to a component society by training new candidates, expanding memberships, reaching out to external disciplines, and in particular, by surviving the current socio-political challenges of a region impacted by wars, conflicts and displacement of populations.