Letter of Chairperson

by Veronika Grueneisen back to Newsletter 2-2015

Since our anniversary Newsletter published in January, 2015, PCCA has been actively seeking to promote working with our envisioned structure.

1. We decided to organise the next conference

A House divided against itself?

Identities and Cultures in Violent Conflict

Kliczków Castle, Poland

April 6th - 11th, 2016

as soon as possible, in response to the alarming rise in the intensity of hatred, fundamentalism and violence in our world today. We saw it in Europe, but then realized it was by no means confined to Europe. What we hear and see are on-going economic crises that threaten the entire world, rising tides of nationalism and fundamentalism, whether religious or cultural, waves of refugees fleeing from oppression and/or extreme poverty and economic hardship and risking their very lives by crossing the seas, while country after country seems determined to close their borders to them, suicide bombings, racially motivated killings, civil and other wars. These developments are deeply anxiety-provoking, and they affect us all.  They come to dominate in our societies as well as in our individual minds, often creating a kind of paralysis of thinking at the very moment that greater thoughtfulness would be an asset. The conference will be directed by Shmuel Erlich.

2. Our colleague from Poland, Iwona Soltysinska, put us in touch with the Hanna Segal Institute in Warsaw and is helping us to organize a pre-conference event in Krakow which will hopefully make our work better known in Poland and neighbour countries of Eastern Europe.

3. In our strive to continue our work with Israelis and Palestinians, I went to meet previous Palestinian members, in Jerusalem, generously hosted by Jona and Ruti Rosenfeld. We discussed their experiences and gratefully realized there emotional investment in our work and their hope for it to continue. I followed up personal and institutional contacts in order to find Palestinian organizational partners who might share our interest so that we can build the next step together so that it will take on board both Israeli and Palestinian interest and hopes for a better future which need reliable working relationships in order to make the next conference happen and carrying it through.

4. Those of us who attended the congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association in Boston / US, late in July this year, had agreed to apply for both an experiential workshop and a panel to make known our work in the international psychoanalytic community. To our delight, both events were accepted. The experiential event - which Fakhry Davids, Shmuel Erlich, Mira Erlich-Ginor, Dorothee von Tippelskirch-Eissing and I did together with our Advisory Board member Ed Shapiro from Boston - implied an opening plenary, a Small Group session, a Large Group session and a reflective event, all focussing on the theme "Between hope and hopelessness: Psychoanalysts in a World of Hatred, Fundamentalism and Violence". The experience showed that this is a format we can work with and use also in other settings. At the same time, we learnt that we need to be more focussed on the containing structure if it is done in the context of an otherwise non-experiential setting and, possibly, also on narrowing the theme, so that members will be able to take the most from the experience.

Moreover, through the international mix of members we have begun to think about acquiring members  from Latin America and Asia - even if this may still take some time to materialize.

5. Mira Erlich-Ginor has taken upon herself to initiate work on social media which will help us use their merits better, in the future, while taking care of the containment needed for personal communications.

6. Dorothee von Tippelskirch-Eissing and Louisa Brunner, Mira and I have built contact with Iwona Soltysinska from Krakow / Poland (re thinking about Eastern Europe) and Oren Kaplan from Jerusalem / Israel (re thinking about fundraising), Yael Sharon from Tel Aviv / Israel (social media and making known our work among the younger generation) and Susan Godsil  from Leeds / UK (thinking about transfer or our work into society) who are all willing to support our work and develop ways of doing this, with us.

7. Our Advisory Board has got a new member in Ross A. Lazar from Munich / Germany and been of great support to our thinking and developments.