Rudolf Balmer:Changing Times - Changing Relationships. EFPP Millenium Conference Oxford 6-9 April 2000

The well-organised conference in the exciting setting of the University of Oxford had a good attendance by 400 participants. It was characterised by an open minded and friendly atmosphere, by a high quality standard of the papers and by a culture of intensive discussion which was stimulated by the daily discussion groups. The structure the three section conference with partly common and partly separated events turned out to be very creative for the scientific but also the political discussions.

The subject of the conference focussed on the relationship of the radical social change with our Psychoanalytic Psychotherapeutic work. We were impressed by a great variety of approaches and ideas which could be summarised under three headlines:
· Relation between society, social change and individual.

Many papers concentrated on this theme and they showed the difficulty in describing precisely social phenomena and their impact on the individual. Fascinating was the approach of Isobel Menzies Lyth in her keynote paper describing many trends in modern society as "psychotic". A workshop of Italian colleagues focussed on the impact of social norms: "New normalities, new madnesses". An interesting theme occurred also in the French speaking "atelier" of Jacques Boushira and Serge Frisch : "Des temps qui changent face à l`inconcsient atemporel de Freud".

Modern clinical issues.
Many papers presented clinical issues which are induced by the actual social tendencies such as migration, psychic traumatism and all kinds of disorder oriented psychotherapy. The paper of Joyce Mc Dougall was one of the most discussed contribution in this category : "Sexualities and Neosexualities". In her paper she advocated a differentiated understanding and approach towards sexual perversions.

The position of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy in modern society and health systems.
The strong impression at this conference was that many of our colleagues are aware the importance of this issue. All over Europe a lot of work is being done. Margaret Rustin focussed on this problem in her plenary paper on "Child and adolescent psychotherapy as an applied psychoanalysis". She emphasised the value of long term psychotherapies even in times of short term interventions. Amongst many others excellent workshop papers I would like to mention the contribution of Julia Besch Cornelius: "Rejection of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in an age of managed health care".

At this conference also several prospective and future oriented projects have been discussed:

A working party on Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Psychotherapy presented the state of discussion for a new organisational framework in the EFPP
· The Group Section worked together with EGATIN ( European Group Analytic Training Institutions Network) on their training standards in order to adjust them to the training schemes in Psychoanalytic Group Psychotherapy in the different countries of Europe.

A working party met to work on a Certificate of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Europe. This document should cover all three sections and should guarantee a high quality of training.

EFPP gives research a high priority. Olivier Nicolle and Phil Richardson chaired an interesting workshop presenting new findings and discussing several contradictory issues in the field of psychoanalytical outcome studies.

In the cultural part of the Conference some members of the Group Analytic Institute of London presented a play "The end of abuse" written by their colleague John Woods. It showed in a sensible manner all the different dynamics in the victim, the family and the professionals confronted with this crisis. This play again is indicating the creative spirit of the EFPP "Millenium Conference".


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last modified: 2001-07-25