Many of you, who receive our NL, might know me already from your different conference experiences.
I am working as a Psychoanalyst in Berlin, where I have chaired the Berlin Psychoanalytical Institute - Karl Abraham Institute, for the last four years, and been a board member of the German Psychoanalytic Association. My way into Psychoanalysis goes back to my schooldays, but my first studies were in Protestant Theology. It seemed to me the more political, society oriented studies and practices than psychology, at the time.
As a theologian, I was lucky to find good teachers, being deeply moved in their life and work by the responsibility of theology and the Christian churches for the Holocaust. In my thesis, I discussed the question of Otherness and Strangeness, the relation between one and the other(s), especially the (failed) relationship between Christians and Jews, building on the thinking of Emmanuel Lévinas and Karl Barth.
My way into the "Nazareth Conference" series started in 2004, with my participation in the first Cyprus conference. I experienced it as a kind of eye-opener, one could say "revelation". I felt well prepared for the issues of the conferences, namely the enmity between one and the other, one group and the other, working in the presence of the other – and I found myself well prepared for the methodology of this work, Group Relations. More and more, I came to be interested theoretically in this approach and had the chance to learn from and about it, in many conferences of PCCA and others.
When I was asked to stand for the role of the chair of PCCA, following Veronika, I accepted this task with a lot of respect towards the work and – anxiety. I am very much aware that PCCA works and lives in times of great instability and changes, and we see the changes also in the organization: We will have to face understanding the impact of our past and our different experiences and versions of it for the present in order to open up for a more hopeful future. How can we do this and stay connected with the societal changes we are going through?
Moreover, PCCA sees the departure of some of the founding members, who have brought huge experience and dedication to the work of PCCA, in so many ways. We are missing Karin Lueders and Hermann Beland, their thinking and cooperation in finding our way in difficult times. We are more than happy that they have left only their specific roles as active members, thus making space for new members to be elected, but that they will stay connected to our work and support us. Veronika will stay a member of PCCA, and I am grateful for the work she has done in the past to help PCCA develop the way it did.
Nevertheless, generational transition will be an interesting and fascinating process: how will we manage to bring PCCA into the future as a relevant factor in the lives of our societies?
I do hope that we will find a way characterized - as it has been in the past - by mutual support for our tasks and roles and that we will be able to continuously work on the burning issues of our world today.