|FOUNDATION OF THE COLLEGE
COLLEGE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS: AN IMPORTANT NEW FOUNDATION FOR 2005
The College of Psychoanalysts - UK is pleased to announce the foundation, on 5th. January 2005, of a new separate but affiliated institution: the COLLEGE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS which has been established in order to carry out new academic and research activities that are to remain separate from the professional activities of The College of Psychoanalysts.
In order to avoid any possible confusion between these two organisations, both of which contain the word college in their name, The College of Psychoanalysts - UK will continue, as before, to be referred to, in its abbreviated form, as The College. The new institution will be referred to, in abbreviated form, by the acronym CPA.
The College will continue to maintain its principal function as a learned professional society for practitioners of psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom and will continue to publish its Register of Practitioners.
CPA aims to offer a range of courses of seminars related to psychoanalysis. Some are likely to be academic in nature while others will relate to continuous professional development. These courses will be open to practitioners of psychoanalysis and, in most cases, whether such practitioners are also members of The College or not. It is hoped that other seminars may be open to those who are not psychoanalytic practitioners. Details will be announced in due course.
A further important area of activity of CPA is intended to be the pursuit of research related to psychoanalysis in general, as well as the nature and comparison of different forms of psychoanalytic theory, training and clinical treatment in particular.
Further information about CPA will be published as soon as possible.
THE COLLEGE IS ADMITTED TO MEMBERSHIP OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY
In November 2004, The European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP) admitted The College to full organisational membership.
EAP is the body which represents all modalities of psychotherapy at the European Commission. Membership of this organisation will enable The College to send delegates to the AGM of EAP and to take part in the on-going committee work there. Some of the work, like the current setting up of a European Wide Organisation (EWO) for the psychoanalytic modality, is of particular interest to The College.
Membership of EAP is an important development for The College, in the light of the decision taken by the EU on 11th. February 2004 to issue a European directive for psychotherapy (see article by Haya Oakley in Papers for Publication And Discussion on this website).
EAP is a complex organisation and The College is fortunate to count among its members some who are familiar with its structure and procedures. This should enable The College to become an active member.
The College now looks forward to extending our discourse to European colleagues. Members of The College will be kept informed of future developments in Europe which might affect them or the discipline of psychoanalysis.
THE BRITISH PSYCHOANALYTICAL SOCIETY WITHDRAWS
Following publication of the disclaimer concerning BPAS on this website in August 2004, BPAS made some cosmetic changes to the unacceptable references to The College, which then appeared on their website. These went some way towards dealing with some of the points raised against them. There remained, nevertheless, a number of serious statements which amounted to malicious falsehoods or were defamatory, by innuendo, of all individual practitioners who are members of The College. The College understands that a number of practitioners, who are members of The College, then wrote to BPAS, taking up these matters on a formal legal basis. Although, so far as The College is aware, none of these practitioners has so far received from BPAS any meaningful response to their letters, The College is nevertheless very pleased to record that BPAS have now removed from their website, in their entirety, all references to The College and its members.
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED - THIS SIDE OF THE POND: INTEREST IN THE BRITISH PRESS
An article by Audrey Gillan was published in The Guardian on 9th. June 2004:
Battle of the couches
The article deals with the controversy surrounding the foundation of The College and presents comments of practitioners from both sides of the argument. The following is a commentary on some of the arguments raised.
The first point made against The College is the similarity of the new website address for The College to that of the long-established website address of BPAS. The latter address is based on the word "psychoanalysis" while The College address is based on the word "psychoanalyst". There are many website addresses throughout the world which include the word "psychoanalysis". So far as The College is aware, no website address for any organisation anywhere in the world includes the word "psychoanalyst". The College website address is therefore entirely distinctive and possibly unique. It is certainly not in the interests of The College for it to be confused in any way with BPAS or any other organisation. In this connection, the President of BPAS now appears to concede that his society "probably overreacted" in relation to their published disclaimer about The College.
Later in the article, Professor Peter Fonagy of BPAS while, refreshingly, claiming not to have strong feelings that psychoanalysts should belong to any one institution, nevertheless calls for the government to intercede and introduce some clarity. This is an extraordinary suggestion coming from someone in an organisation which has, until now, sought exemption of their members from any form of state regulation, whether as part of the current dialogue about the regulation of psychotherapy generally or the regulation of psychoanalysis in particular. The argument is that there exists the potential for great damage to vulnerable people at the hands of those not properly qualified to practise psychoanalysis. The College entirely supports that view. However, within the present context, this argument is disingenuous because government regulation of who is entitled to use the label "psychoanalyst" will not overcome this problem. It is not the use of one label or another (whether it be psychoanalyst or psychoanalytic psychotherapist) which has the potential to cause damage to vulnerable members of society but rather the manner in which clinical treatment is conducted. No amount of regulation will ever be able to prevent any psychotherapist (or counsellor, for that matter) from practising psychoanalysis in the consulting room; no matter what label they may use. If such a regulation existed, it would be impossible to enforce, even if there existed powers for serious and damaging intrusion into that which takes place in the consulting room.
As usual, great play is made in the article on a postulated distinction between two forms of psychoanalytic treatment: psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The argument is that each form of treatment is carried out by a different type of practitioner and that this justifies the separate labels psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. There may well be a difference between the two forms of treatment but nobody has, so far, been able to articulate convincingly what that difference might be, other than purely in terms of some formal criteria. The fact is that both forms of treatment require a training in psychoanalysis and that both forms of treatment are carried out by all psychoanalytic practitioners, whichever label they may use. One of the aims of The College is to promote discussion amongst practitioners from all schools of psychoanalysis about whether there is in fact such a difference and how this might be defined. Nevertheless, so far as the underlying theory is concerned, there is only the theory of psychoanalysis itself, in all its diverse forms. There is no such thing as a separate theory of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Most significantly of all, those who claim an exclusive monopoly on the right to call themselves psychoanalysts and to practise psychoanalysis have never been prepared to articulate what constitutes a psychoanalytic training, which is distinguishable from any other form of training, other than in terms of the so-called "technical rules".
What the article does not make clear is the fact that all members of The College have undergone a training in psychoanalysis which is, in all material respects, of the same standard and quality as that offered by any established training in psychoanalysis anywhere in the world.
The article concludes with the statement that the controversy has resulted, so far, in a missed opportunity for reconciliation among psychoanalytic practitioners.
RIPPLES ACROSS THE POND - U.S. INTEREST IN THE COLLEGE
On 29th. May 2004 an article by D.D. Guttenplan was published in The New York Times under the heading:
Calling All Ids: Freudians at War
The article poses the important question who owns psychoanalysis? and, in this connection, goes on to relate the formation of The College in the UK and its opposition by BPAS. Indeed, in bringing the attention of American readers to what is going on in the UK, these are the only two British professional organisations referred to and named. Interesting and helpful contributions to the argument by College members Susie Orbach, Joseph Schwartz and James Barrett are referred to in the article. A significant statement is the suggestion by the writer of the article thatthe arguments and outcome of this "dispute" are likely to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic. The article ends with the sobering commentary that the arguments initiated by The College have a sense of urgency because, in the view of the writer, psychoanalysis in the UK is likely to be regulated within the next few years. The writer goes on to suggest that lists and standards will be drawn up in the UK and that battle lines are forming here about who will set those standards and who will keep those lists.
The article was also reproduced in the International Herald Tribune on 2nd. June 2004 under the heading:
A clash of egos among British analysts
In a world which is dominated by the USA in so many areas, it is gratifying that the centre of gravity for the world of psychoanalysis remains firmly rooted in Europe and in the UK in particular. The writer of the above article amusingly acknowledges that there may be a higher concentration of therapeutic couches per square mile in Northwest London than on the Upper West Side of Manhattan!
Although the formation of The College has started new and important ripples in our professional pond, it is interesting that the first public recognition of those ripples has come from the other side of the Atlantic, where there seems to be an open acknowledgment of the profound effect the debate commenced in the UK will have in the USA. This is surely a recognition of just how powerful those ripples are. Let us hope that this will now lead to open and public debate in the UK and particularly in the discussions which are now being invited on this website in the Professional Forum. Here, there is a valuable facility for practitioners of all persuasions within the psychoanalytic spectrum to have their say. This is what The College is all about. Our primary purpose is not involvement in professional politics but rather the advancement, through open and public discussion, of the discipline of psychoanalysis: in an atmosphere of mutual respect, open to all bona fide contributors and not just those who belong to some cosy club.
DEVELOPMENTS IN EUROPE WITH PROFOUND SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE UK
Although the developments referred to above are of great interest, far more serious developments are taking place across the English Channel in France and, as a result, possibly in Brussels. These developments are likely to have a profound effect on the UK and the ability of psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and counsellors of all types to practise their profession. Look out for an important letter from Haya Oakley to be published in the next issue of the British Journal of Psychotherapy which deals with this. An article by Haya Oakley dealing with the issue in question, but in greater depth, will also be published shortly in Professional Forum on this website.
CORRESPONDENCE IN THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
Two letters to the Editor were recently published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy. One was from the President of The College, drawing readers' attention to the aims and objectives of The College. The other was from Carola Thorpe, a practitioner who is opposed to The College and who, in her letter, attacked the basis on which it has been formed. Both letters were introduced by the Editor who invited practitioners to air the discussion about The College in a way that allows individual practitioners "to come to a considered, well-informed view about whether The College is divisive, or is making a sincere attempt to achieve pluralism in a divided profession" BJP 20:3, pp 409-416
SOME COMMENTS BY LEADING MEMBERS OF THE PROFESSION FOLLOWING THE FOUNDATION OF THE COLLEGE
The founding of The College drew criticism from certain organisations and support from others. The following are examples of comments in support of The College made, in their personal capacity, by practitioners from different areas of the profession:
From a UKCP registrant and member of the UKCP Governing Board:
"The College is a profoudly useful and facilitative entity in the field"
From a prominent UKCP/BCP registrant: a psychoanlyst and senior member of BPAS:
"Congratulations on your initiative, you have certainly set off a storm, letters flying in all directions"
From a senior UKCP registrant:
"I wish you well in what seems to me to be an attempt to overcome the rifts developing between existing groups of professional organisations"
From a BCP registrant: a professor of psychoanalysis who is also a senior training analyst and member of BPAS:
"This seems a very brave enterprise, but anything to get factions who don't communicate with each other to be more tolerant, seems a good idea"
These comments reflect what The College aspires to facilitate and promote.