The IPA Project Committee on Clinical Observation and Testing was originally approved in 2009 as a time limited project to enhance the practice and communication of clinical observations. The Committee's mandate called for developing methods of clinical observation, and experimenting with testing interpretations, hypotheses and theories by means of clinical observation.

The Committee developed the Three-Level Model (3-LM) for Observing Patient Transformations and organized multiple Clinical Observation Work Groups at IPA Congresses, regional meetings and local societies. These efforts have led to continuing Work Groups in several societies and the 3-LM is also being used in psychoanalytic training and research. The groups generated by the Committee have brought a great many IPA members and candidates from different cultures and schools together for in depth study of transformations in psychoanalytic work.

The permanent Clinical Observation Committee will continue to realize the Professionalism and Participation goals of the IPA by creating bridges between practice and research, between different theoretical orientations, and between the different IPA regions.


  1. To explore how to describe the changes that occur in patients over the course of their psychoanalyses (in a phenomenological and conceptual way) and to explore the link between the foci of interpretations and the observed changes or absence of changes in a patient's psychic functioning.
  2. To experiment with testing how a psychoanalyst's specific theoretical propositions on therapeutic action, implicit and explicit, are related to changes in the psychic functioning of an analytic patient, using the discussion of a group of psychoanalysts (over several hours) with verbatim sessions from the beginning and two later stages of a psychoanalysis.
  3. To support the various uses of the 3-LM, to develop new applications of the model, and to function as a think tank for identifying and promulgating best practices for Clinical Observation Work Groups.
  4. To continue to organize, moderate, and report on Clinical Observation groups at IPA and regional Congresses.
  5. To train moderators and reporters (in each of the IPA regions) to be able to organize Clinical Observation groups in their home societies, and to provide continuing consultation and support to sustain these groups.
  6. To pursue and coordinate contributions to psychoanalytic research, training, and professional development.
  7. To promote and coordinate the publication and presentation of new methods and findings.
  8. To liaise with the IPA's Working Parties Committee.

Ways of working and reporting

So far as possible, the Clinical Observation Committee will be expected to work electronically, using Skype, GoToMeeting, or other free-to-use communication systems. The Committee, like all IPA committees, will be expected to be self-supporting for secretarial and other purposes, and will have access to the web and email support services offered by IPA staff. Any face-to-face meetings should take place, so far as possible, adjacent to IPA or regional congresses. The Chair of the Committee will provide a written report to the Board at least annually.

Composition of the committee

This is a permanent IPA Committee whose members will be appointed in the usual way, by the President of the IPA and with the consent of the Board of Representatives. The Committee will consist of a Chair, plus two members from each Region. The Committee may request the appointment of Consultants as needed (Consultants will not be funded to attend in-person meetings).


The Committee will propose a budget during the annual IPA budget cycle.

Board approved January 2017

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