PCCA’s one day event in Krakow

by Veronika Grueneisen

On Dec. 5th, 2015, we had a one day event in Krakow. It was designed to introduce the work of PCCA to a wider Polish audience, but also to introduce the way of thinking about groups and possibly destructively escalating group minds, on a more theoretic level, in order to make it a meaningful event people could profit from even if they did not participate in an experiential event like our ordinary conferences.

In all this we were grateful for Iwona Soltysinska’s consultation. She organised the even in cooperation with us, but having all the workload on her shoulders, and did it extremely efficiently and successfully.

While we expected 20 participants two weeks ago, 60 turned up so that the venue had to be changed, at very short notice, and brought us into the old part of the Jagiellonian University. Five or six participants were not Polish and some of those had been to conferences before. It appeared to be a good generational mix of young, middle-aged and elderly, some analysts, the majority of them psychoanalytic psychotherapists, the vast majority were women. Of the 60, 42 stayed for the group discussion.

Iwona had prepared us for a more theory-oriented state of mind. However, the current political development appears to have had an important impact on people. It became clear very quickly that they related Shmuel Erlich’s theoretically oriented paper to their current context, and the following questions confirmed this impression. Also Mira Erlich-Ginor’s paper, mainly presenting and reflecting experiences from the 3rd conference, in Bad Segeberg, was very well received and taken as an invitation to reflect on the potential and dangers of group work in the GR tradition.

After the lunch break, we met in 4 groups, two Polish speaking, two English speaking. The groups appear to have been personal enough, alive and concerned. From all we know – without having notes to draw on – people were very concerned about the political shift, about the lack of trust in society, the anxiety to speak up in public, the need to “do more” about societal development, from the psychoanalytic side. There appear to have been first signs of acknowledgement how difficult it is to want to know about the past and how fruitful it can be when it is possible.

We ended the closing plenary with a first attempt by members to conceptualise what and how they might work with the current societal situation. There is outspoken interest from the Hanna Segal Institute in future cooperation in 1 – 2 years time. We shall see what comes off it.

Our impression is that we came there at the right moment in time, with view to the situation in society – which nobody could have foreseen, of course.

Shmuel Erlich’s summary of the event was that “PCCA can be very satisfied with its investment in this event!”

Veronika Grueneisen
Nuernberg, December 2015

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