Frisch: A European platform representing the analytic pole: can it become
2. In the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy EFPP attracts increasingly psychoanalytical psychotherapy societies (approximately 12.000 persons are a member of the EFPP's national networks). But other European organisations do also exist in those fields, for instance group psychoanalytic psychotherapy organisations, as well as other organisations promoting the psychoanalytic approach with children and adolescents etc.
3. Beside these 2 groups exist the non-analytical organisations. The main organisation is the EAP (European Association for Psychotherapy). This organisation tends to gather all therapeutic orientations: systemic, behaviour, humanistic therapies but also the relaxation therapists, masseurs, hypnotherapists and many others. To increase the confusion EAP even tries now to have a psychoanalytic section. The EAP proposes the same basic framework of training for all therapeutic orientations (a sort of training Esperanto?). It wants to create a specific profession - that of Psychotherapy in Europe in which it would no longer be necessary to possess a core professional training as a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker etc. to become licensed psychotherapist.
For the sake of my argument I will be somewhat schematic and not mention many other developments. However the trend I have mentioned gives the impression of armies making ready for combat. On one wing we have the psychoanalytic societies. On the other wing a great number of heterogeneous therapies whose common ground is their anti-reflective psychology orientation, with similar underlying factors of suggestion and manipulation as the major therapeutic methods, as was observed in past decades by Freud, Jones and Glover.
is the place of EFPP in that professional field?
But I am also aware that psychoanalytic psychotherapy may run the risk of evading its psychoanalytical foundations, its "basic soul" as the psychoanalytic frame, the key role of the unconscious, the attention given to transference and countertransference. It threatens to become a repairing, directing or supporting technique and thus a more vaguely analytically oriented psychotherapy, in which suggestion might again occupy a central place.
As stated, psychoanalytical psychotherapists have a core place in the public health system. So they are continuously exposed to and have to deal with the social, political and economical constraints of health policy systems. By contrast, many psychoanalytic organisations and psychoanalysts believe that it is necessary to remain formally outside of all health and mental health policy involvement. The argument is that there is a definite risk of excessive constraints on psychoanalysis, the development of psychoanalytic thinking and that it needs to be free to practice in the most unimpeded circumstances as possible. If psychotherapy in the public sector wishes to retain its psychoanalytic foundation, it will have to work through this important and profound conflict or otherwise runs the risk of becoming just one kind of psychotherapy amongst others.
The substantial development of psychoanalytic psychotherapy societies at national and now - with the EFPP - at European level, confirms their institutional existence and has introduced a new political dimension in the therapeutic landscape of which the long term consequences cannot yet be measured.
notable exceptions in a few countries, psychoanalysts and psychoanalytical
psychotherapists have not yet succeeded in establishing creative dialogues
or relationships between the two types of societies. But it may be that
in future these exceptions could multiply under the pressure from public
authorities that may wish to control the vast spectrum of psychotherapies.
These pressures may come for economical reasons or as a result of complaints
by people with mental health problems about trained or untrained persons,
or as result of changes inside the professional organisations. This will
increase the current tendency in many countries towards an official status
for psychotherapy in which it is difficult to envisage psychoanalytic
psychotherapy willing to stay outside these political discussions. This
even if many aspects of such a status might possibly not suit the "analytical
pole" at all, especially if there were to be little differentiation
between the training criteria of analytic and non analytical groups.
There are differences on many levels between psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy and these need to be discussed more fully. This is not a negative statement towards either psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy. They are 2 different branches of the same psychoanalytic family. Each one of these 2 branches is represented by their own organisations at a national level, a European level and for psychoanalysis on a world level. This must continue to avoid unhappy confusions between the aims and settings of the work of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Maintaining clarity in this situation will be dynamically stimulating and beneficial for everybody. If there is conceptual clarity it may be increasingly possible to work across these boundaries. An example may be the continuation of psychoanalysts (and psychoanalytic organisations) who fully respect the need of psychoanalysis to have its independence from state restraints, but who may also share the aims of making psychoanalytic thinking available within the public sector and may support EFPP networks. On the organisational level, I think it necessary to keep clear distinctions about objectives.
It is my view that it may not only be in the interest of the analytic pole but an absolute necessity that societies, associations or groups that rotate around the psychoanalytic psychotherapy field establish and build contacts on a European level. It is increasingly important to build bridges on an organisational level to create meeting points and clarify points of convergence and divergence between the organisations of this field. We need to keep in mind the wider social, national and international contexts within which we operate. These contacts should be on a European level to avoid the conflicts about national "petites différences" and the conflicts between organisations in the national analytical pole. It will then be more possible to reduce the chances of territorial 'war', improve the chances of healthy political solutions for more adequate treatments for patients as well as stimulating research programmes and development of psychoanalytic theory in various settings. Contributing to this outcome should be the fundamental target of EFPP during the forthcoming years.
|last modified: 2001-07-25|