We at the British Psychoanalytic Association, are delighted to be invited to be the IPA Society of the Month. The BPA is the second Component Society in the UK and one of the youngest and smallest IPA societies.
Thanks to the energy and commitment of our members, we have developed into a lively, pluralistic society, where new ideas and initiatives flourish.
At our Society meetings we encourage a culture of openness, with priority given to clinical discussion. Members take turns to present material in small groups.
With a membership of 97, including 30 candidates, 18 training analysts and three Honorary Fellows, our members are increasingly visible at IPA and EPF events. A strong record of publications is emerging.
It is a privilege to be President of such a group. Below we give a glimpse into the history of our foundation and some of our activities. If you have questions or comments please contact us: [email protected] / www.psychoanalysis-bpa.org
In the beginning, the BPA developed slowly. Dan Twomey stood as Chair of the Psychoanalytic Section of the British Association of Psychotherapists (BAP), intending to explore the possibility of applying to the IPA. Sharon Raeburn and Helen Alfille immediately joined Dan.
After lengthy meetings with the British Society (who supported our application), the IPA and the BAP, from 2000- 2003, our first Site Visit followed in 2004. Transition from Site Visit Committee to Liaison Committee, from Direct Membership to Component Society, happened in the shortest possible time, from 2005 until IPA Board ratification in 2010.
Sadly, Dan Twomey did not live to see most of the progression and our success, dying in 2004. By then Sharon Raeburn and Helen Alfille had already taken over. We will always be grateful to Dan for initiating this move: which led to a new IPA Society in the UK.
Very few had believed it possible but we held our goal in mind and, thanks to the IPA’s facilitation, encouragement and sup- port, we succeeded. This success rests partly on the strong foundations from our original training, and particularly on the analysis, supervision and teaching by IPA training analysts.
Sharon Raeburn became the first President of the BPA and Helen Alfille the Vice President. In order to have our new society, we had to do more than fulfil the IPA’s requirements; we had to make them our own. I am proud of what has been achieved by the tireless work of a small group, initially, and then extended to a full Board with all its committees, members and candidates.
The BPA is now a thriving Society, actively taking its place in the EPF and the IPA.
Sharon Raeburn, Founding President, BPA
The BPA Training begins
It was an exciting moment in 2006 when the BPA became an Interim Provisional Society of the IPA. Immediately we set to work, developing our vision for training, using Max Eitingon’s model as our inspiration.
The guiding principles of this model are personal analysis throughout training, four years of theoretical and clinical seminars and the psychoanalytic treatment of two patients (a male and a female), four to five times a week under two different supervisors.
We added a requirement for candidates to observe a mother and baby weekly in the family home and to present these observations in weekly seminars. This pre-clinical experience would prepare the candidate for their first training case at the beginning of the second year.
Each group of candidates would have a Progress Adviser to facilitate continuous assessment and would also engage in self-assessment.
The Training would aim to consolidate understanding of analytic concepts and processes and to foster clinical independence. Candidates would be challenged and supported by trusted trainers who understand the vicissitudes of the analytic journey.
A Reduced Fee Scheme would provide candidates with suitable patients.
With our in-depth programme ready and our teachers keen to start, we commenced training in September 2009. We have had an intake every year since then. Those of us involved in training find it immensely satisfying to see our candidates grow and develop as psychoanalysts.
Joscelyn Richards (above, left),
Chair of the Training Committee from 2005 to 2015
We relish our relationship with British and international colleagues with whom we share our values and concerns for the training of psychoanalysts and for the future of psychoanalysis.
When the BPA applied to become a Provisional Society, six members bravely offered themselves to be assessed by the Site Visit Committee to become
All six were recommended for IPA Training Analyst status and, along with seven other psychoanalysts, they became the founder members of this newly formed IPA Society, which became the BPA. We will always be grateful to those six brave members.
When the Liaison Committee appointed four more training analysts, the BPA assumed responsibility for interviewing further applicants. A Training
Analyst Committee now meets regularly for workshops supporting their important roles as training analysts and supervisors for the BPA’s candidates.
Marion Schoenfeld, candidate writes:
As one of the first 20 BPA candidates, I felt very welcomed. Candidates are listened to and encouraged to contribute to scientific meetings and curriculum discussions. The training is hard. Arriving for seminars at 8.30pm, I sometimes feel a sense of dread, but when I leave at 10pm I am always buzzing. The clinical work sustains me and helps me to make more sense of the theory.
Through the EPF, IPA and IPSO meetings for candidates, I enjoy meeting my international colleagues and seeing how varied psychoanalysis can be against its common core.
On nearing the end of his training, Alan Colam wrote:
I am very excited to be reaching the end of a long journey - what has been for me a real deepening of my psychoanalytic capacity. I feel it has been a training of very high standard, but I also feel that the atmosphere has been thoughtful, supportive and facilitative all the way through.
Another new member Catherine McKisack, writes:
Training with the BPA was an intense and enjoyable experience. Teaching, supervision and personal analysis proved both challenging and rigorous whilst being
deeply enriching and supportive.
Clinical and theoretical discussions, with candidates and supervisors from different theoretical orientations, allow for real questioning and contemplation in a safe
We were also encouraged to form a Candidates Group to provide a forum to discuss training issues and to socialise.
What happens after training
New Members Link, a recent initiative, gives a personal welcome to new members, helping them to make the most of BPA membership.
This, in turn, spawned the BPA New Members Group for newly qualified psychoanalysts: a forum for sharing experiences and exploring ways in which individuals may contribute to the life of the Society.
As part of the BPA’s rich developing scientific life, Scientific Meetings are held regularly with papers, panel presentations and occasional supervision masterclasses. Speakers are invited from the BPA and other IPA societies. The BPA’s culture of theoretical pluralism - Independent, Kleinian and Contemporary Freudian traditions- ensures lively psychoanalytic discourse.
The BPA also has a tradition of clinical presentations and discussions for members.
Members wishing to discuss psychoanalytic or applied topics of interest to them have started Special Interest Groups.
Members are also encouraged to run short workshops.
Last year the International Journal of Psychoanalysis generously hosted a Writing Workshop at the BPA. One of our members now provides a peer review service offering feedback to those wishing to publish. Follow the link to publications.
One of the BPA’s guiding principles has been to open up psychoanalytical thinking to as many members of the public as possible.
Our vibrant Outreach programme is run voluntarily by BPA members. The aim is to introduce psychoanalysis, both theory and practice, and to apply psychoanalytic thinking to cultural, social and political phenomena. IPA and EPF Outreach forums have been an inspiration to us in developing our own programme.
Our Freud Bars are held once a month in a beautiful room at the historic Holly Bush pub in Hamp- stead. With psychoanalytically informed talks and discussions on music, literature, politics and film, these events have proved so popular that we now ‘sell’ free tickets.
The BPA Film Society explores links between psychoanalysis and film. It has screened films such as Regeneration, The Imposter and Don’t Look Now, followed by panel discussions with psycho- analysts and film makers. Follow the links to interviews filmed with psychoanalyst Neville Symington and poet Wendy Cope.
We also run twice-termly ‘Keeping Connected’ events in-house. Our current programme alternates between one of Freud’s Introductory Lectures from 1910 and one of his case histories.
In 2014 the BPA ran a three-day Summer School and in 2015 a ‘Weekend with Psychoanalysis’. The Weekend is now an annual fixture. Its particular remit is to provide a space to think for those who may be interested in training in psychoanalysis.
The popular new Clinical and Theoretical Seminars, a course of evening lectures and clinical discussion groups, attracts participants from diverse professions and ages. Some express interest in training with the BPA. Others wish to apply and disseminate psychoanalytic ideas in their professional lives.
Topics include dreams, the unconscious, transference, counter transference, sexuality, the Oedipus Complex, narcissism, psychic retreat and enactment.
With its eye-catching web page this course has proved successful since inception. The second year begins in September, 2016.
The BPA’s first conference
Psychic Change in Psychoanalysis: What does it mean and how does it happen?
We are pleased to announce that our first conference will take place on 20th May 2017 at the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park. Clinical Groups will be held on Friday evening, 19th May, at the British Psychotherapy Foundation. Booking will open in September, with details on the BPA website.
[email protected] www.psychoanalysis-bpa.org