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IPA Centenary Special Issue: Diffusion of Psychoanalysis


This is a short outline of the development of psychoanalysis and of analytic training in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Han Groen Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe was founded by the IPA and the EPF in 2002 to organize and coordinate this. The activity of such an unusual training institute, virtual and time-limited up to the birth of new IPA study groups, is described with the problems it has had to face, from shuttle analysis to research of this unusual training, from initial outreach activity to formation of new analytic groups, from unavoidable plurality of analytic approaches of an international staff to the need for systematic teaching, from criteria for selection of candidates in such a large area with many languages, cultures and histories, to the integration of new analysts and groups in the international analytic community. These problems are part of the challenge implicit in the globalization, with its unavoidable push to enlarge to the whole humanity the psychoanalytic theory and praxis. Such an experience is now used in Latin America, but may also soon have its application in other continents. Freedom of mind is a basic need of all humans and psychoanalysis still has much to say about this.

This article should perhaps be understood as a ‘work in progress,’ given the necessity of much larger in-depth studies of a situation in continual, rapid change and with many different aspects to consider. I will address primarily the Han Groen Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe (PIEE), which has been in operation since April 2002. However, one cannot set aside from consideration the preceding 15 years, during which solid foundations were laid and the development of psychoanalysis in Eastern Europe began. With the establishment of PIEE, the multiple and rich initiatives brought forward by various committees, national institutes and societies and individual groups of analysts have in large part come together into a single organism or have found a common point of reference.

In speaking of Eastern Europe, we are here referring to post-Communist Europe, and we also include in that group those countries born out of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This is a geographical area of vast dimensions, with 420 million inhabitants who have in common no more than decades of a totalitarian regime and the economic difficulties that arose in consequence. A part of this area – a good 120 million people – has now become part of the European Union.

The fall of the Iron Curtain aroused very deep and intense emotions, some apparent and immediate, others unconscious and more difficult to decipher. Less obvious was a profound geographical and political split, but especially a human one, as a consequence of wars and cruel totalitarianism that drained and traumatized the European continent in the 20th century. Two geographical realities that were connected and familiar to each other in Freud’s time had become ever more unknown and estranged over the decades, and now they suddenly reemerged in each other’s consciousness. 


1 Published on the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(3):695-713, 2011. 

  Translated by Gina Atkinson M.A.

2 The content of this article is closely connected to long, intense study with members of the Board and Staff of PIEE. It is therefore difficult for me to attribute individual remarks to their authors, and so the text must be considered in large part a common work.

Thus, a moving encounter took place between those from the two areas who shared a common interest in psychoanalysis. Each brought to the encounter not only enthusiasm, but also parts of their own history, and both sides mobilized affects an intense unconscious fantasies, some disturbing and not always easy to manage. Ancient familial roots could be brought to the West, along with traumas, a sense of guilt, solidarity, curiosity and a disconcerted feeling that an entire world – one so familiar and also so close – could have been so far away for more than half a century.

In the East there was a great curiosity, an enormous enthusiasm, a holding back of problems to be worked through and a great desire to learn, with all the idealizations and also feelings of humiliation that these involved.

Freud, too, was after all of ‘Eastern’ origin, born in Pribor in the Czech Republic; many pioneers of psychoanalysis and many of its first patients have by now become famous:

Freud’s family belongs to the generation of Jews, spread all over the territory of the South-Eastern Europe. His parents were coming from Galicia: his father was born in a little town called Tismenitsa (located in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast of Ukraine), and his mother was born in Brody (Lviv oblast). Young Freud’s mother once lived in Odessa, later his father tried to conduct business in this city. It is known that Freud himself well knew the realities of Ukrainian life and could even say several words in Ukrainian … As E. Jones noticed, the majority of Freud’s patients came from Eastern Europe. It is difficult to understand the reasons for such a circumstance. Among these could be the high-paying capacity of patients, their susceptibility to the psychoanalytic method of discovering the unconscious (as Freud thought), their increased need for such a treatment or the East European ancestry of many analysts, including Freud himself as well as M. Eitingon, Lou Andreas-Salomé, W. Reich, and others. It is very likely that Freud’s most famous Ukrainian patient was Serguei Konstantinovich Pankeev (1886-1979), the son of a landowner from Kherson, known in the psychoanalytic world as the Wolf Man.

(Pushkareva and Romanov, 2002, p. 116)

In the 1990s, the question was also raised of whether the societies and cultures of Eastern Europe were suitable receptors for psychoanalysis, which was by that point perceived as something exquisitely Western, almost as though the unconscious, drives, conflicts and mechanisms of defence were not constituent elements of homo sapiens in general. More recently, similar perplexities have been expressed regarding China and other cultures that are now showing up in the psychoanalytic world. Those objections seem to be paradoxical after the effort made in the 20th century to demonstrate the universality of the oedipal complex.

There would be much to reflect upon and write about regarding these and other aspects, as well as on the rich history of the development of psychoanalysis in the last 20 years in an area so vast and widely varied in language, culture, and history. But that would merit a separate discussion, of course, so I will limit myself here to a few references.

Historical Outline

The only Communist country in which psychoanalysis miraculously survived openly was Hungary, where already in 1975 the IPA had recognized a Study Group that in 1989 became a component society. IPA analysts in secrecy, or those very limited in their activities, were also present in the Czech Republic before 1989, as well as in Poland, Serbia and Croatia. They left followers who could again take up and develop these principles after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In other countries, it was necessary to begin almost from the ground up.

East Germany is a special case in that, since 1989, it has also become fully a part of Germany, analytically speaking, and therefore did not enter into the international programmes for Eastern Europe.

In 1987, Han Groen Prakken, then president of the EPF, together with Gyorgy Hidas, the IPA’s liaison officer for Eastern Europe, organized an initial meeting with representatives of potential Eastern candidates in Budapest. The next year, Han Groen Prakken and Eero Rechardt went to Lithuania, at the invitation of a group of psychotherapists interested in psychoanalysis, and by chance arrived on the same day that this country declared its independence. Eero Rechardt, when asked in an interview on Lithuanian television how one could define psychoanalysis, replied: “Psychoanalysis is freedom of mind”. The great adventure had begun!

Difficulties, rigidity and initial misunderstandings within the IPA and the EPF could not quell the pressure, enthusiasm or exceptional motivation of either Easterners or Westerners who remained fascinated by this exchange. The Eastern European Seminars followed, organized by the EPF (Budapest, 1989; Belgrade, 1990; Pultusk-Polonia, 1991; Vienna, 1993; Vilnius, 1994; Constanta-Romania, 1995; Moscow, 1998; Kiev, 2000; Prague, 2002), during which over one weekend Western analysts and aspiring candidates from the East discussed psychoanalysis and tried to find ways of organizing an analytic training programme in Eastern Europe.

In 1990, five Lithuanians moved to Helsinki and began their training there. Other candidates moved to Paris, to the United States, and to other countries. But it was soon evident that this would not be a productive way of bringing about development in the East, since – with rare and valuable exceptions – the long duration of training led candidates to set themselves up permanently in their host countries.

It was only from 1993 onwards that the IPA’s attitude changed, and Eero Rechardt as chair of the EPF’s Eastern European Committee (EEC), together with Han Groen Prakken and John Kafka as co-chairs of the IPA’s EEC, initiated a productive and intense collaboration, once and for all launching developmental projects in the East.

In 1994, the EPF Eastern European Summer School of Psychoanalysis took place in Estonia, the first of what have now been 16 annual schools held in various countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine) and directed for many years by Tamara Štajner-Popović. They began by teaching ‘what is psychoanalysis’ as part of an outreach project whose goal was to provide the foundations for the eventual justification of an analytic training programme, but also to create a broader information base. Not least – and over time ever more important – was the additional goal of bringing quality psychoanalysis into evidence, analysis ‘with an IPA stamp,’ to differentiate it from the more or less wild ‘imitations’ that had begun to proliferate in the entire area.

In 1996, Hans-Volker Werthmann and Horst Kächele, together with other German colleagues, and utilizing solid economic support from the DPV, did their utmost to initiate the first ‘shuttle analysis,’ in Frankfurt and Ulm, for Russian candidates.

In 1999, conceived by Lilo Plaschkes, the EPF Eastern European School for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis was set up, which for 10 years was held in Croatia and has now moved to Slovenia. Although its initial aim was simply one of outreach, integrated with other seminars over the course of the year, it became in 2009 the official PIEE seat of training for child and adolescent psychoanalysis.3


3 PIEE has a Committee for the Development of Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis in Eastern Europe, of which Lilo Plaschkes (Israel) is the chair. The secretary is Leena Klockars (Finland) and the members are Marta Badoni (Italy), Renate Kelleter (Germany), Jaap Ubbels (Netherlands) and Andres Zachrisson (Norway). The committee also assumes the functions of a Training Committee for the psychoanalysis of children and adolescents.

In 2000, the first of the Eastern European Candidates’ Seminars was held in Poland, reserved for candidates in training; it was organized by Michael Rotmann who had succeeded Rechardt as chair of the EPF’s EEC. In subsequent years, it was conducted by Aira Laine and was later broadened to include Direct Members in the area of permanent education. These seminars have moved annually among Hungary, Serbia, Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Romania, Italy and Lithuania.

These three types of annual schools all have a duration of six days and include 30 hours of teaching with lessons attended by all, followed by small group discussions, group discussions of clinical cases, workshops, individual consultations on clinical work, and the showing and discussion of films. From 60 to 110 students participate in each school, together with 10 to 20 training analyst teachers. The less obvious aspect of the schools, perhaps, but no less important, is the opportunity for informal communication and interaction during breaks, meals, free time, and in the evenings. Beyond the possibility, widely beneficial, of ‘asking what one has never dared to ask’ in more formal situations, in such an atmosphere series of facts are transmitted about authors to be read, small examples of effectiveness in clinical work, the communication of fragments of larger experiences, and so on. At the schools candidates may experience a more human dimension of their teachers, what diminishes a distorting idealization, which would tend to infantilize them. This fosters the distinction between transference to their personal analyst from transference to the analytic institution and to the group of teachers. I suppose that, in addition, a general atmosphere of warmth, good will and relatedness facilitates and enhances learning. Still something happens also on a deeper group psyche level (in terms of the meanings of ritual, common meals, etc), but I will not discuss it here.

The plenary essays presented in the schools, already numbering 37, have been published on PIEE’s website in English and sometimes also in Russian, so that the participants can also use them in their groups of origin.

In 1999, two seminar programs were initiated in parallel for candidates in Eastern Europe, self-financed and put into effect by groups of analysts on a voluntary basis. The four-year Amsterdam Psychoanalytic Training Program for Eastern Europe was initiated by Han Groen Prakken and later directed by Antonius Stufkens (who for six years was also a member of PIEE’s staff). It was carried out via four classes, the teaching of which was contributed to by more than 40 Dutch analysts. Thirty-three candidates participated, of whom 20 have already become Direct Members.

Simultaneously, Eero Rechardt began the Helsinki Project, which arranged the organization of training analyses. Another 10 Eastern European candidates participated, benefiting from teaching by 30 Finnish analysts; eight of these candidates are already Direct Members. These four-year courses have arisen independently but in prior agreement with the IPA and EFP committees, and PIEE afterwards, and have been integrated with teaching provided by PIEE schools.

Extensive outreach activity in various countries – and thus the gradual development of candidate training in Eastern Europe – was carried out by the Paris Institute, even though it was not integrated with other activities organized by the IPA and EPF’s EEC, due to linguistic diversity. A large part of this activity converged with the process of forming PIEE when Gilbert Diatkine, who in the 1990s was already coordinating the Paris Institute’s activity for Eastern Europe, assumed the function of Associate Director for Training in the PIEE. Numerous French analysts have been very active both in outreach and in a training program that has attracted the interest of about 30 candidates, seven of whom have already become analysts. In particular, the Paris Institute’s rich seminar activity, given the modalities with which French training is organized, has always been open to the participation of French-speaking candidates from Eastern Europe.

Han Groen Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe

In 1999, the IPA Board stated that one of its three priorities was:

Helping psychoanalysis to remain alive, develop and take its place in the contemporary world, particularly in countries where it is not currently practised … It is likely that the future, albeit modest, growth of the IPA will come from the European region over the next few years, given particularly the IPA and EPF investment in Eastern Europe.

An important accomplishment in this direction occurred in 2002 when the IPA (with Daniel Widlocher and Alain Gibeault) and the EPF (with David Tuckett) agreed, with a memorandum of intent, to form the Han Groen Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe (PIEE), combining the activities of the EPF’s Eastern European Committees (essentially the schools) and of the IPA (on training competencies), and assigning some new activities to them, such as research, and endowing them with further means, such as financial loans for candidates.4 The geographical area of activity assigned to PIEE is made up of those Eastern European countries where there are as yet no IPA societies, so it does not include Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland or Serbia, since those countries already have their own training institutes, or Romania, which already has a recognized study group. PIEE’s training activity ceases, furthermore, when study groups are formed, since these – with the help of the Sponsoring Committees – provide for training by themselves. Up to this point PIEE has helped Moscow and Croatia to set up study groups. In Lithuania, that status has been achieved in 2010, while in Bulgaria, Estonia and Latvia applications to be recognized as study groups have already been sent to the IPA. It is expected that, in the coming years, they will be followed by other local set-ups from which PIEE candidates come. When there is a sufficient number of active study groups in the assigned area, PIEE will be dissolved.

Usually, collaboration continues between the study groups and PIEE inasmuch as, especially at the beginning, the didactic potential of small groups is limited, and for their candidates and new members, attendance at PIEE schools is still valued. Presently, PIEE’s activity includes Russia outside Moscow (St Petersburg, Rostov, Stavropol and Irkutsk), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

According to PIEE’s Guidelines for Training:

Everybody who is living and working in an area, where no established IPA group (Study Group, Provisional or Component Society) is active, and who wants to become an IPA analyst, has basically two ways to realize it. One possibility is, like everybody all around the world, to be accepted by any Institute of an IPA Component Society in any country and then fulfil its requirements to become Member of that Society. At the end of this training the Candidate may apply for membership in this Component Society and thus obtain membership in the IPA. In this case the concerned Society’s Institute will provide all the training. A second possibility of psychoanalytic training is through PIEE, which leads to IPA Direct Membership. In this case the Institute takes care of the training, of the interviews and of the evaluation. (PIEE, 2002)

Nine years after its establishment, PIEE has completed the training of 70 Direct Members and 80 candidates are presently in training. Thirty Direct Members, spread out among 11 countries and not 


4 PIEE has a Director, Paolo Fonda (Italy), and four Associate Directors, two for training: Aira Laine (Finland) for seminar activity and Gilbert Diatkine (France) for the candidates’ individual curriculum. The other two Associate Directors are for outreach (Tamara Štajner-Popović, Serbia) and research (Gabor Syonzi, Hungary). Together they make up the Board, which is supported by a staff of collaborators: Gary Goldsmith (USA), Eike Hinze (Germany), and Igor Kadyrov (Russia). In addition, there are advisors: John Kafka (USA) and Eero Rechardt (Finland). The Board and staff meet three times a year, usually during the Schools.

yet belonging to study groups, turn to PIEE, which offers them a part of its postgraduate education, with the schools, and assistance in the organization of their groups. If one considers the entire Eastern European area, including within it – besides PIEE – the societies and study groups as well, there are today about 240 IPA members there.


Since the beginning in the 1990s, it was realized that at that time the work had to be done mainly through the EPF Eastern European Seminars and Schools, to create at first an essential facilitating environment, the only basis from which consistent motivations for training can grow and on which the holding of newborn analysts can be possible and successful.

Within the general discussion about the crisis of psychoanalysis, it is clear that many analysts think the crisis is deeper in those regions where analysts work isolated from universities, from health institutions, and from a wider psychotherapeutic and cultural context.

At the beginning we were deeply convinced that in Eastern Europe psychoanalysis could not take root at all, if only a few good, trained analysts could be dropped into an environment where no one knew anything about psychoanalysis, where all the institutions (universities, hospitals, etc.) and almost all the psychiatrists and psychologists would neither accept nor recognize psychoanalysis, where the groups of psychotherapists interested in psychoanalysis would become hostile, as totally ignored by analysts and by analytic institutions. In such isolation, where would the first analysts find patients? And further, in such isolation, they could neither publish a review nor translate a psychoanalytic book (because there would neither be enough writers nor enough readers). Neither is it possible to imagine how a person could allow his motivation to become an analyst to mature and develop if he had no idea about what psychoanalysis is and particularly what clinical analytic work is.

We needed the Eastern European Seminars and Schools for another reason: because thereby we can better know the Eastern Europeans and the different sociocultural environments they live in and have to work in, in order to better support the more gifted and motivated of them in their psychoanalytic training.

One of the functions of outreach, as with training, is also that of analysing and resizing the ‘myth of psychoanalysis,’ of the idealization with which many approach it, which, if it is seductive at the beginning, later leads to distortion of the instrument that one must make use of.

In recent years, PIEE’s activity has moved more and more towards training in regard to outreach, progressively passing on to newly trained analysts and to local groups – now much more prepared – greater sections of the outreach activity in these respective areas. Thus many local seminar activities have arisen, managed by members and candidates of PIEE, activities dedicated primarily to psychotherapists and other mental health professionals. Those activities are self-financed, and PIEE, in sponsoring them, limits itself to facilitating contact between the organizers and qualified analysts available to teach in them. This is the breeding ground in which new justifications for training arise. In some areas, however, outreach activity remains in its early stages, and it is necessary to train local colleagues appropriately for that.

Thus it happened that in the Summer School, which is the most demanding annual event, there was an expansion of the part dedicated to training, with an increasing number of candidates and also of Direct Members who have asked to participate. There has been no diminution, however, of the pressure from numerous groups coming from areas where training has not yet begun, who insist on participating in the area of outreach goals. The number of participants had therefore already risen to 110, some years ago. It was necessary at that point to establish a firm limit and to refuse dozens of requests every year, so that the school would not lose its organizational distinctiveness or its indispensable traditional atmosphere.


The most difficult problem to resolve in organizing training, essentially following the Eitingon model, has been without a doubt that of personal analysis, given that in Eastern Europe (with the exception of Hungary) there were no training analysts, and the experience of the migration of candidates to the West for the period of their personal analyses immediately proved disappointing. Taking into account that the pioneers of almost all Western societies, in the end, have had some analyses that are not ‘orthodox’ in setting or duration and that, in establishing a core group of analysts in a country, a certain flexibility was again necessary, different models were devised.

Candidates from the Baltic countries and St Petersburg went to their training analysts in Helsinki for ‘concentrated analyses’, attending four sessions in two days over the weekend, or having a greater number of sessions every second weekend.

By contrast, ‘shuttle analyses’, initiated in Germany, at first took place in blocks of sessions during three annual periods of about six to eight weeks each, during which the candidate resided in his analyst’s city and had more sessions per week than the traditional four. Then other modalities were added, in which there were sessions concentrated in ten days of each month. After about ten years of that modality of analysis, which involved about 70 per cent of the candidates at PIEE (the others could have standard analyses), we can generally state that, based on evaluations in second interviews, on the opinions of supervisors, and on evaluation of the analytic work with the first cases in treatment, the result seems to satisfy training requirements. At any rate, it remains a model of analysis to be better understood and – now that sufficient cases have accumulated – to be subjected to more systematic research. But that modality has always been considered a temporary necessity to be overcome, in order to move on to traditional models of analysis. Now these are becoming available in almost all the countries in which PIEE operates, such that, within a few years, treatments will have to fall completely within standard analysis.

It must be clarified that sessions via Skype or by telephone are not forbidden during breaks in the shuttle periods, but numerically they cannot be counted toward the aim of 100 yearly sessions, the minimum necessary for the validation of ‘shuttle’ training. We observed with satisfaction that many members, after the final validation, continued their analyses, and some have even returned for a second analysis, as frequently happens in the West. If in the beginning there was a concern that excessive enthusiasm could push for going too fast, it is notable that in fact the training periods with shuttle analysis are generally completed in eight to ten years.

Nine Bulgarian candidates benefited from a valuable experience – though unfortunately one unique in Eastern Europe’s history of training – when they were able to undergo standard analyses at four sessions per week in their mother tongue with Nikolai Kolev, a training analyst in the Swedish Society who is of Bulgarian origin and who moved back to Sofia for some years. Thanks to this experience, Bulgaria is now already in a position to request the status of a Study Group.

Today some standard training analyses are available to candidates, beyond, naturally, in the Component Societies and in Study Groups (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, Romania, Croatia and Moscow), also in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and St Petersburg. The necessity of recourse to ‘shuttle’ arrangements is thus rapidly diminishing.

The selection of candidates is not simple since linguistic obstacles in communication must often be overcome during the selection interviews, as well as the sociocultural diversities between interviewer and interviewee. There is then the difficulty connected to the absence of tested references in evaluating an individual’s appropriateness to an analysis with a particular setting, such as the shuttle type, which requires an alternation of periods of intense immersion in the analytic relationship with long interruptions between blocks of sessions (Šebek, 2000). Also, the effect of long-term ‘life by shuttle’ – which includes long stays in a foreign country very different from one’s own, where the candidate often does not know the local language and does not have particular activities to engage in – is difficult to predict.

At any rate, two initial interviews are conducted and two more after a two-year period, when the initiation of cases in supervision is authorized.

Less complicated has been the problem of supervision since it could take place in part during the ‘shuttle’ period and in part via e-mail. At present, Skype, which permits the best visual contact and an immediate interaction, offers notable advantages over e-mail, but a minimum number of in vivo supervisory sessions is required. After 20 years, an ever greater number of local training analysts is beginning to offer training analyses and regular supervisory sessions in the same place, and especially in the mother tongue of either candidates or their patients.

Also less difficult has been the organization of theoretical seminar teaching. PIEE’s schools have gradually moved the gravitational centre of their activities from initial outreach to the training of candidates. During the Schools, the activities of selection and final evaluation of candidates also take place, as do mentorship activities. Every candidate must in fact choose a mentor among the members of the Board and staff of PIEE. PIEE avails itself of the generous activities offered by more than 40 training analysts of various European and American countries, who for years have gradually been replacing others in teaching in the schools and seminars, as well as offering individual clinical consultations and collaborating in interviews and evaluations. But what counts even more is that they offer the candidates an international staff with diverse theoretical and clinical approaches, cultivating dialogues and comparisons, and the ability to communicate among different schools. In this way, future analysts come into contact with an international psychoanalytic environment early in their training. Thus there is also an attempt to avoid the danger of the creation of a cluster of little, self-sufficient, self-referential groups throughout the vast area of Eastern Europe; in such an atmosphere, narcissistic tendencies of local leaders could also come to the fore. It is also a way to resist the illusion of an ideological conception of psychoanalysis, as Šebek (1999) mentioned: “The plurality of psychoanalytic knowledge was frustrating for those who conflated psychoanalysis with an unconscious utopianism and the illusion of an ultimately correct ‘ideology’ – the powerful object that might strengthen an uncertain personal identity” (p. 986).

Diversification and dialogue are also reinforced by the fact that other candidates attend seminars, according to the foreign languages that they speak, in training institutes in Paris, Germany, Finland, Austria and Italy.

In 2006, with the conclusion of the Dutch and Finnish programs, PIEE on its own began seminar activity in Odessa in the Russian language, similar to the Amsterdam Psychoanalytic Training Program, again with the rhythm of four intense weekends per year for four years, which offer in total 240 hours of teaching to each class. The whole is always integrated with the three annual schools. In 2009, the second course began with 22 candidates, while in 2010, the 13 candidates in the first course ended their four-year period. A general reading list was provided to the participants, as well as a series of readings for each seminar on the topics discussed. Some articles from the international analytic literature were also translated into Russian for each seminar, and these are then available to be published in books and journals.

It must be remembered, too, that many candidates and members have made a very rich contribution in translating and editing the editions of a great many psychoanalytic texts into many Eastern European languages, especially Russian. This language continues to have the function of a common language in many areas beyond Russia so that today the psychoanalytic texts translated into Russian already number several hundred.

The final evaluation of the two cases discussed in supervision is the central moment in which the results of the overall training become evident, based on the tripartite model. At the same time it also provides feedback on the validity of PIEE’s training.

PIEE’s Training Committee is made up of the Board and staff, together with training analysts who from time to time participate in interviews or in evaluations of candidates.

Since adequate training of training analysts themselves requires many years, it has been thought temporarily to get around the lack of available local training analyses through the temporary introduction of the figure of the ‘analyst authorized to analyse candidates’. After not less than three years following his election as a Direct Member, such an analyst can request evaluation of a third case of his, in order to obtain authorization to treat a limited number of candidates. Therefore, there is a further selection, the goal of which is to provide the candidates, as an alternative to shuttle analysis, with a standard analysis in their mother tongue and in the place where they live. Although PIEE has essentially adopted the Eitingon model, in the particular circumstances in which the outlines of the new groups are found, that choice is more than justified, considering also that, within the IPA, opinions and policies are far from unanimous that the analyses of candidates must be conducted by training analysts. However, supervision, candidate selection, and final candidate evaluation are reserved for training analysts, as are shuttle analyses, considered more demanding.

In 2009, after the conclusion of the Amsterdam Psychoanalytic Training Program for Eastern Europe, a group of Dutch teachers, led by Thijs de Wolf, in collaboration with PIEE, began a new program called simply ‘Training for Trainers’. There are six weekend seminars during a two-year period, dedicated to new members of PIEE and of the study groups that are preparing to carry out training functions. It is not connected, however, to designation as a training analyst. The fact that a good 30 Direct Members have been interested in this demonstrates the necessity and usefulness of postgraduate initiatives, which should be enhanced in the future.


With the help of data collection, the specifics of supervision during and after shuttle training have been brought into focus. This has led to reformulating supervision guidelines. An early paper on this topic was published by Gábor Szonyi and Tamara Štajner-Popović (2008).

The following research themes have been discussed; they are presently at different levels of realization, from just an idea to a running study with connections to PIEE:

ο Comparison of PIEE candidates and candidates of regular training institutes at outcome (qualification, e.g. comparative blind assessment of qualification papers and examination committees’ opinions).

ο Using the EPF Working Parties for Education, namely, the project on competencies, to compare similarities-differences in the members’ retrospective assessments of the relative importance of education components regarding different competencies. This is an ongoing program. It may also involve analysts and candidates trained at PIEE as compared with those trained in shuttle format, and the data will be compared with other groups as well.

ο Retrospective questionnaire on shuttle analysis for new members who have been in shuttle training. This is in a testing phase; it combines a questionnaire on experiences in personal analysis with questions about shuttle analysis, in cooperation with the EPF Working Party on education. Single case studies will be added.

These topics will be circulated among PIEE members and candidates, and among members and candidates of established Eastern European Societies and Study Groups, to recruit persons interested in joining a study.

That could also contribute to the discussions on training that very often occupy and preoccupy the IPA.

Financial Aspects

What stood out immediately after the opening of Eastern Europe was the diversity between the high cultural level of those nations and the extremely low economic level that was left behind by the collapse of governments. The aspiring candidates’ affective investment in their analytic projects was inversely proportionate to their economic possibilities.

Although their financial participation in the initiatives (seminars, conferences, training) has always been there, beyond their own not inconsiderable travel expenses, their contribution has moved from almost symbolic beginnings to meaningful levels with the economic improvement in their countries. Presently, users of educational activities already contribute with their dues 27 per cent of PIEE’s budget, while the IPA finances, 31 per cent and the EPF, 34 per cent. That trend, though temporarily slowed by the present economic crisis that strikes the weaker Eastern European economies with greater force, is now growing.

Also directly contributing to PIEE’s budget are the German Psychoanalytic Association, the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and the Association for Child Psychoanalysis. Other societies collaborate, both with economic support of some candidates and with logistical support related to their residence during shuttle analysis, as well as by encouraging participation in their seminar and meeting activities.

At the beginning, the IPA made loans through PIEE to candidates for their training. They have issued 23 loans totalling more than $150,000.00. At this point 10 recipients have already become Direct Members and have begun to repay their loans, while others will follow shortly. The loans were essential because in certain countries it was possible to initiate early training, but the shuttle arrangement could not be anything other than expensive.

Particularly valuable was the 2003 assignment of the Sigourney Award to PIEE, which permitted the institution of some scholarships. These allowed the launching of training in the Ukraine, a great country but particularly unfortunate at the economic level. Now the situation has improved almost everywhere, both economically and in regard to the growing availability of training on the spot. Presently, PIEE candidates, like those of other geographical areas, can apply on their own for the issuance of loans for training through the IPA Candidates Loan Panel.

The New Groups

In an early phase, on a wave of initial enthusiasm, priority was necessarily given to the training of individual analysts, without much questioning about how – after the termination of their training – they would form a study group capable of functioning. But sometimes what seemed to be simple turns out to be more complicated. As in the best traditions in psychoanalytic groups all over the world, in Eastern Europe, too, it was observed that some people, merely based on the fact of having been analysed, are not necessarily able to form a good work group. Among the pioneers, tensions and conflicts sometimes appear which can paralyse the activity of groups, even leading to early splits. This aspect is proving to be crucial since the goal of PIEE, being a time-limited structure, is not that of training a great number of analysts, but overall of leading to the formation of study groups that may in a short time be capable of organizing themselves and taking over the complex and difficult training of subsequent generations of analysts.

A disadvantage connected to distance is becoming evident – geographical as well as other types of distance that exist between the Institute and the local groups that are forming. For now, these groups do not participate in the choice of their future analyst colleagues, but see them arrive already chosen by PIEE. After all, the Component Societies themselves, in appointing their own training analysts, choose their colleagues, and they still have control later with the vote at the moment in which these must be accepted as members. One cannot therefore take for granted that anyone PIEE selects can necessarily be accepted, going along with and integrating with the rest of the local group. For such reasons, PIEE ultimately pays particular attention to the training and functioning of groups of members and candidates in the phase that precedes the request for the status of Study Group.

One of the advantages of PIEE, on the other hand, is that, in contrast to other psychoanalytic institutes, it selects and trains candidates who will never be in the same society to which the members of the Board and staff of the Institute belong. Therefore, the dangers of collusions and allegiances to subgroups with problems of unresolved transference, which often create tensions in institutes, are already excluded from the outset. The training process is not disturbed nor are there concerns about individual trainers creating groups of students to strengthen their own position in the balance of society power, nor are there society pressures on students to conform to dominant theoretical choices. The absence of these dynamics, which in some traditional institutes contribute more than a little to the infantilization of candidates (Kernberg, 19962000), together with the care taken to consider the candidates themselves as colleagues with a rich professional life behind them, and not only as students, is, we believe, bearing fruit in encouraging their creativity.

Some Reflections

In Eastern Europe we have seen, then, that interest in psychoanalysis has been from the outset much greater than that imported or cultivated by the activities of Western psychoanalysts. Surprisingly, for an area in which Freud’s books in libraries were kept under lock and key, almost inaccessible, and where the connotations of this ‘bourgeois science’ have always been negative ones, there has been an incredible explosion of interest:

If as a measure of the popularity of psychoanalysis in Russia we take the amount of translated material published here, psychoanalysis enjoyed extraordinary popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, as it does again now … An edition of 40,000 copies of Freud’s Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis published in 1989 sold out instantly. The same year, three parallel editions of Freud’s principal theoretical writings appeared in Moscow in a total of more than 500,000 copies (Etkind, 1992, Fisher, Fisher, 1995).

(Kadyrov, 2005, p. 469)

One can say that already in the 1990s, there was almost no city in Eastern Europe that could not claim at least a group of psychotherapists interested in operating in a psychoanalytic sense. Many of these continue to send representatives to PIEE’S Summer Schools, and others, new ones, continually ask to gain access.

This intense interest naturally seems tied to a great demand for psychotherapeutic interventions on the part of the population. The reasons for this are undoubtedly complex, but one of the hypotheses is that totalitarian society – which had long constricted individuals in an essential passivity that nevertheless guaranteed life conditions that were sufficient though low – in suddenly crumbling caused problems of survival and choices to fall onto the shoulders of individuals, problems that aroused anxieties that were at first in large part deposited into social structures. Now each person must rely only on his own strengths, only on the strength of his own ego. These persons, staggering under an unusual load, cannot but feel its effects in their own vulnerable insides, launching into accounts of their suffering and anxiety. Furthermore, as Kafka (2003, p. 11) writes:

The connection between rapid social change and the growth of psychoanalysis is not accidental. An examination of our history reveals that analysis never developed and flourished in a steady average expectable environment. Psychoanalysis, after all, had its start in the birthplace of modernity, Freud’s Vienna, an environment characterized by unsurpassed rapidity and depth of ideological, social and political change. While the changes are different, the depth and the speed of change in Eastern Europe since the fall of the iron curtain come close to those seen at the very birth of psychoanalysis.

Initially, in some IPA circles, there was a concern that some Western non-IPA psychoanalytic groups, with particularly aggressive ‘missionary’ activity, would win positions of predominance in Eastern Europe that would then be difficult to undermine, but that concern has proved to be exaggerated. In reality, we have witnessed the instantaneous rising of numerous ‘homemade’ training institutes in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, at first simply based on a few hurried lectures, then developed more or less seriously. Thus, a broad world of analytic training has been created, parallel to what the IPA has tried with great effort to establish. Some of these institutes limit themselves to training psychotherapists in an analytic orientation, while others do not hesitate ambitiously to blaze new trails in the area of psychoanalytic training.

Many seek connections and collaboration with PIEE or with IPA analysts. Sometimes that search is instrumental in obtaining a kind of international legitimacy, and at other times it is a sincere desire to learn and to improve one’s own standard of training. Sometimes, both students and teachers enriched by those institutes who recognize the limits of the environment in which they find themselves learning or teaching, later enter into PIEE training with good motivation. It is a matter of identifying the local interlocutors with whom collaboration is useful and appropriate, and those whom, for their lack of seriousness, must be avoided.

But the situation that has been created is also a challenge for PIEE. With respect to potential requests from both patients and aspiring analysts, it is realistic to consider that the number of IPA analysts who can be trained in the coming decades is relatively limited. At this point, the meaning of our efforts certainly cannot be that of having a monopoly on psychoanalysis, something that furthermore does not happen in any country of the world. On the other hand, what good would it do to scatter the land with dull, colorless figures and not very diverse ones, or who were even of a level inferior to those trained by non-IPA groups?

The only reasonable objective is that of training groups of ‘IPA brand’ analysts who, for their ‘registered stamp’, in a broad space of free competition, distinguish themselves for the quality of their training (that they have had and that they provide), by their clinical work, research and publications. We are not talking about arrogantly maintaining an empty identity without foundations other than name or lineage, but about creating a substantial richness to be offered to those who can utilize it. What distinguishes IPA analysts and their communities are not genealogical ascendancies, but the quality of their scientific production, of the ‘nurturing environment’ that, for its richness of stimulation and knowledge, permits the training of new generations of quality analysts. PIEE’s mandate is the reproduction of all that.

The institution of PIEE has been a new paradigm for the IPA, just as for the EPF. It has meant, in essence, not abandoning an area that is so vast and culturally well equipped to spontaneous development, which – given long isolation and economic difficulties – could have required decades to be able to take off.

Initially, an aspect of the problem could have been whether to consider the IPA, the EPF and the psychoanalytic societies mere corporate associations aimed at protection of the professional exercise of those who already adhere to it, or to undertake initiatives stemming from ideal motivations, those that consider psychoanalysis a valuable instrument not only for the cure of patients, but also for the scientific and cultural development of every modern society. Such vast communities cannot be left deprived and impoverished. The ample and generous response to the campaign for the collection of funds for activities in Eastern Europe, which asked IPA members to donate ‘the equivalent of one analytic hour’, demonstrates that the second formulation is strongly felt. Besides individual help, the support of other entities has been generous in all these years: by many component societies, institutes and groups of analysts who have given life to initiatives consistently based on voluntary work. Thanks to this motivational push for almost 20 years, many dozens of expert analysts, not only Europeans but also Americans, teach without compensation in the three schools, in the seminars for candidates, and frequently hold seminars in local groups. It is only in this way that almost all that exists in Eastern European psychoanalysis today could have been achieved.

Of course, even that has its limits. The rush of enthusiasm for giving and receiving help cannot last long-term and also involves risks, such as paternalism, infantilization, dependency, placated resentments, etc. Inexorably, the time arrives when the mythical Golden Age – or, if we put it in oedipal terms, the honeymoon – fulfils its functions, and it is necessary to change the tone of the relationships. Initiation, a sort of adolescent rite of passage, is the crucial moment represented by the acquisition of the status of Study Group, which involves separation from PIEE and the assumption of new responsibilities that are also generative, although with the assistance of a Sponsoring Committee, until full autonomy as a Component Society is reached. This moment is delicate because often the group of new members and candidates must work together for the first time; almost always, there is a convergence in the study group of analysts who earlier operated in various groups of psychotherapists that had been in existence for a long time, and were sometimes also in competition with each other. Relationships with preexisting groups are not easy to divide and modify. In these moments, it can be of fundamental importance that the members of the Sponsoring Committees gain familiarity with the local reality and with the general conditions in which psychoanalysis has developed in Eastern Europe. Keeping in mind that five Study Groups presently exist in Eastern Europe, but that in a couple of years this number could more than double, annual meetings of the Sponsoring Committees – recently instituted by the International New Groups Committee – appear extremely useful. In these meetings, the delicate transition from PIEE, as well as other non-trivial problems related to growth and to the new groups, can be discussed, and experiences and strategies can be compared.

A further problem that is being posed at PIEE is: what are the limits of its task – to what geographical point are the analytic groups diffused? This question is directed in particular at Russia, given its dimensions, since requests for training continue to originate from numerous big cities with prestigious universities, and it is not possible, for the moment, to divert all of them to the two newly constituted Moscow Study Groups, which are not capable of taking on this charge. If, on the one hand, it is unthinkable that PIEE, and therefore the IPA and the EPF, might concern themselves with diffusion of analytic groups in all Russia’s cities, there is no sense either of filling that enormous area with isolated analysts – analysts who will not be able to attend groups with colleagues located thousands of kilometres away. Outside Moscow, PIEE must make the choice to limit and concentrate its own activity in some localities where candidates and members already exist, such as St Petersburg and the area of Rostov-Stavropol in the south, in addition, perhaps, to Irkutsk for the Siberian area.

There are other considerations to take into account. In the first phase, requests for training were welcomed from whatever locality in which they originated, and they were primarily from doctors and psychologists of an excellent cultural and academic level, with extremely strong motivation. With the expansion of knowledge of psychoanalysis and of psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic practice, which has had a diffusion and a popularity that were absolutely unforeseen, the number of requests for training has also increased. Therefore, the problem arises of selecting from among these a second generation of candidates who will not be inferior to the first in quality and motivation, so that there will not be a drop in the level of providers of an international certification, which seems to be much appreciated in general. With respect to the necessity of an accurate selection of a limited number of candidates, in relation to their quality, to the capacities of the didactic structures available, and to their geographical placement – which does not condemn them to professional isolation – PIEE has recently felt it necessary to further solidify some of the criteria for selection:

An ad hoc appointed Committee, formed by two analysts, will mainly consider the following aspects: suitability of the personality for psychoanalytical work, bent for psychological thinking, motivation, integration and activity in the local group of colleagues, age (preferably 30-45), general cultural background, kind of University degree (preferably with training in health profession), knowledge of foreign languages, clinical experience in psychotherapy, clinical experience with psychiatric patients, number of attended PIEE Schools and psychoanalytic education activities, possibility to regularly attend PIEE Schools and Seminars, feasibility of his/her project for psychoanalytic training, financial possibility to complete the training. Qualities in one area may compensate lacks in others, but the general impression should be high. On this basis PIEE will select each year a limited number of new trainees.

    (PIEE Guidelines for Training, 2008)

The evaluations of two interviewers are then discussed in the Training Committee forum.

PIEE’s attention must not be directed only to the reproduction of analysts and analytic institutions, but also to the integration both of analysts and of their groups in two directions. The first is integration into the international analytic community, an ever more pressing requirement with globalization. The second, equally important, is integration into the local scientific-cultural environment so that analysts do not end up being strangers in their own country.

Greater integration into the community – a goal from the beginning – in addition to integration with a rich international presence in all PIEE’s activities, also encourages and maintains ample participation by Eastern European candidates and members, both at international congresses and at those of already consolidated societies with rich scientific traditions. PIEE candidates are present at IPSO activities as well.

After the opening of the Latin American Institute of Psychoanalysis (ILAP), there were regular exchanges of experiences. Some members of the two Boards have taught in twin institute schools, drawing very useful inspiration from this for common reflections on work in progress.

Some Perspectives

Today, about 20 years after the first training programmes were instituted, and after many positive results have been achieved – the development of new societies and study groups and an increase in the number of analysts, and especially in the number of training analysts – we ask ourselves what our next steps should be.

In Eastern Europe, a cluster of study groups and societies of medium and small dimensions is being formed, which could be useful to maintain in order that their development will not be stunted. Turning our gaze somewhat towards the development of already consolidated analytic groups in other areas of the world during the century that psychoanalysis has been alive, one can perhaps identify some modalities of growth that follow slow but almost obligatory phases. At the beginning, the pioneers learn ‘the psychoanalysis of others’, they appropriate it and practise it, accumulating experience and knowledge. Then in the first decades, every group grows and deepens its own identity, which involves a fertile integration of psychoanalysis with local culture as well. In this way, the conditions are created in which to form schools of psychoanalytic thought with a greater or lesser national imprint and the conditions that encourage the unfolding of personal talents, since at this point they are rooted in an adequately fertile ground to bear fruit. But it is really this long maturation that, in order to arrive at the most valuable results, must be followed and maintained, avoiding both colonialist intrusions from the outside, and wild hybridization with local cultural traditions. The fear that Eastern Europe may train second-rate analysts seems to me to be inconsistent and must not be confused with the aforementioned necessity for the long maturation of groups and of their scientific productivity.

PIEE is accumulating experiences that will not have to be dispersed, but transmitted to new groups of analysts who are just coming into being, and who, in the coming years, will have to form their own training institutes. In PIEE’s concluding phase, that will be of crucial importance. This process has already been initiated with the gradual insertion of a growing number of East European training analysts, as they gradually become qualified, in the structures of PIEE and in the study groups.

It could be useful if, after PIEE no longer exists, some of its activities come to be maintained for a certain period, such as the schools and seminars for candidates – useful both for the support and integration of training in groups that are still too small to provide sufficiently rich teaching, and for intermediation among the still-limited local circles and a broader sphere of international interaction. Such activities could be managed by a consortium of groups, with support from the EPF and the IPA that would have to be gradually reduced so that the groups would become stronger. However, one would need to pay attention in order not to create a new Eastern ghetto separate from the West, but that, in contrast, it would be a further occasion for integration with the rest of Europe and the world.

This will also permit a strengthening of the bases for activities in both training and research, to a supranational level, which might complete and enrich the local ones. This is a vision of analytic institutes in concentric circles, from regional realities to national ones, from multinational areas to continental and global ones. It is not in fact possible to imagine the relationship of an individual with the global world without the mediation of intermediate group realities, and this is true both for humanity in general and for the analytic community.

In parent-child interaction, it is not only the parents who give things to the child, but they also receive from him, and they in turn are moulded and enriched. They also transmit to the little one that which their broader group delegates to them to give (codes, behavioural patterns, unconscious myths, etc.), and through the child their various potentialities are opened up, both individual ones and those that have roots in the group dimension. Something similar happens between candidates and their teachers, too, in that the neophytes also bring their professional characteristics to the training process, as well as their cultural allegiances and their existential experiences. But not only these! Candidates, like their teachers, are part of bigger processes, both conscious and unconscious ones, in the dimension of bigger groups and their cultures. They are carriers and activators of an unstoppable thrust towards growth, towards evolution and continual adaptation to new conditions of life in the societies to which they belong. This thrust also includes, and always to a greater degree, the irrepressible need of individuals to know themselves and the mechanisms with which their psyche functions. It is in these dimensions that very intense libidinal charges seem to have their roots – those charges, that is, that have triggered this great adventure and caused it to endure: the expansion of Eastern Europe, as with other expansions that will follow in the unstoppable globalization of psychoanalysis. All this cannot but have a certain influence on the global analytic community itself. The IPA of the 21st century, in its second hundred years, will certainly not be able to remain the same. Perhaps some will be sorry about this, but others of us will consider ourselves fortunate in having witnessed these extraordinary developments.


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