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Psychotherapy of unbearable experiences: Crises and new beginnings.

DR. Avi Berman

The term Unbearable suggests a subjective experience of excess, of “too-muchness,” an overwhelming accumulation of distress. This experience might bring the individual to their subjective limit, indicating the beginning of the transformation from over-adaption to distressful relations towards affecting it. In Ferenczi’s (1933) terms, it is the transition from adaptive autoplastic behavior (an inner change) to alloplastic behavior (changing the interpersonal reality). Indeed, one’s reaction to the unbearable experience may result in forming a new attitude in interpersonal relationships, such as the cessation of placating behaviors or an expectation of reciprocity, to the point of setting conditions for the continuation of the relationship. In these processes, new beginnings (Balint, 1968) may emerge.

However, in many instances, the unbearable experience is raw, regressive, and unformulated (Stern, 1997), triggering spontaneous, sometimes uncontrollable behavior. It may necessitate subsequent processing and verbalization. The role of psychotherapy in this context is crucial, as it provides an intersubjective connection with another who is willing to become an empathic witness both to the patient’s distress and to the raging emotional storm.

       As the experience of the unbearable can be turbulent and overwhelming, it may impose itself on the therapist and make him a participant in the patient's mental turmoil. In hers\his countertransference, they might fear the damage that may be caused to the patient under the auspices of the treatment that is supposed to help and take care of him. As a result, the therapist's fear may be perceived (consciously or not) by the patient as dissatisfaction with his interpersonal behavior. As a result, the patient might stop his movements and return to autoplastic over-adaptation.

In this presentation, I will discuss how psychoanalytic psychotherapy in unbearable situations can help transform this experience into discourse and process a signal in a way that turns the storm into an impact on interpersonal relationships.

Unbearable experience may characterize an intrapersonal, interpersonal, and even collective occurrence. It may also affect sociopolitical positions. Therefore, group therapy may be of special significance. In group therapy, such processing occurs between participants. The unbearable experience may be recreated in the "here and now" of the group meeting. Within the environment that includes identifications and reservations, the expression of the unbearable experience is contained on the part of some of the participants. It creates also a challenge of containment for others and might evoke expressions of counter unbearable experiences. The transformation of these experiences into mutual influence can begin in such moments.

The presentation will include clinical examples from the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and from the field of group analysis.

The world in crisis

Katarzyna Skrzypek

This paper is an attempt at describing the reality in which we live, the extreme dangers we are faced with, and their impact on our psyches. In order to understand how the external reality interacts with the internal one, the author refers to the notion of the Atmosphere, a concept of the Hungarian analtysts Tihamer Bako and Katalin Zana, who, drawing on Field Theory, depict a space of interaction between the personal and the social. Fear of war and the impending loss of Nature as an eternal indestructible background as elements inflicting on the Atmosphere which surrounds us now are reflected upon, as well as a general tendency to apathy towards the environmental crisis. Winnicott’s thinking on ruthlesness and development towards the capacity for concern is drawn upon in an attempt to understand our inability to make necessary changes. Man’s struggle with accepting mortality and the flight towards omnipotence resulting in denial of the catastrophic state of the environment is addressed.

 The question of if and how the contemporary fears from the social realm penetrate our psychoanalytic hours with patients is reflected upon, with an emphasis on their impact on the mind of the psychoanalytic therapist. A short vignette is presented.

Adolescent Psychoanalysis in a Changing World. Thoughts on an adolescents lockdown state of mind.

Catalina Bronstein

Child and adolescent mental health is in crisis. Beyond the familiar internal and external issues affecting children and adolescents which influence their mental health, we have to take into account some societal changes that impact them. In the last few years, we have had to contend with several aspects of reality that happened unexpectedly: a sudden and devastating epidemic, the awareness of the -too long denied-  potential lethal consequences of climate change and an ever-increasing immigration and displacement of people who lost everything. In parallel to some of these dramatic changes, the development of the World Wide Web and social media has been a prominent background in our daily movements. I will be exploring some of the issues about the impact they had and still have on adolescents, in particular as they emerge from some semi-cushioned latency life- to be faced by the internal upheaval of pubertal changes set in the midst of a world in turmoil.  All these changes must be considered in conjunction with considerations about the unconscious internal world of impulses, phantasies and anxieties. I will give some vignettes to illustrate how objective reality and subjective experience come alive within the transferential process of the analytic relationship. I will specifically address the impact of the lockdown and an ‘internal lockdown state of mind’ in the adolescent’s conflict between wanting to ‘know’ and retreating into a state of dissociation and avoidance of reality.

The change of psychoanalysis in the face of the new forms of the Oedipus complex.

Anna Nicolo

In post-modern society, we have witnessed many cultural and social transformations. In post-modernity, the new technological resources at our disposal have connected us with different levels of reality and multiplied how we desire.

We are confronting a new world where the individual relates differently concerning the continuous flow of information, the significant rise in social interactions driven by the Internet, and the relationships that nevertheless exclude the richness and warmth of physical presence.

The numerous realities in which we live contribute to the creation of multiple meanings of identity. 

We should not think of identity as a structure or an enclosed organization that is fixed once and for all; it changes throughout a person's life, depending on the context surrounding the individual. During its development, identity can pursue a range of possibilities, varying in feasibility, that shift according to perspective.

The body has thus become the rock to cling to. Perhaps this is the reason for many body-related pathologies, such as anorexia, self-cutting, multiple cosmetic surgeries, and gender variations, that are ultimately psychosocial pathologies, all brought together by an attack on the body.

These issues are also based on a sense of omnipotence, the belief that everything is possible, and the idealization of a body that exists only in fantasy.

The emergence of these psycho-social pathologies reinstates into serious discussion also psychoanalysis as well as sociology and politics. Some of the fundamental principles on which psychoanalysis, at least the most classical one, was based are being challenged: the Oedipus, the castration complex, the difference between genders and between the sexes which, according to psychoanalysis, gives access to the symbolic universe.

Indeed, we are confronted with many Oedipal configurations. Faced with them, as the boundaries blur and with the increased sense of uncertainty in the performance of parental functions, we need to refound the theories with which we understand reality. 

Oedipus can rather be conceived as a relational constellation, which comprises the confrontation with the existence of the position of the third, separate from the relationship, useful in establishing the limits to omnipotence and addressing the confusion between generations. Castration anxiety has been redefined by many authors in terms of the anxiety of the loss of the phallus and thus of male power in a patriarchal society. 

SP1The journey from Despair to Hope

Suzi Shoshani

Title: Sharing the Despair and Holding the Hope

In working with families of murdered and kidnapped in time of war and crisis we investigate the mechanism, the processes that lead from despair to hope, from powerlessness to activation - the power of finding meaning in suffering.
Understanding the psychological aftermath of such experiences in time of crises is crucial for developing effective interventions that not only reduce despair but also grow roots for hope We tried to arrive to resilience from the trauma and find hope simultaneous with our patients. Is it possible?

Pnina Rappoport

Title: The group and the Therapist. The fluctuation between Hope and despair in War time
In my presentation I shall describe Group processes during October war in Israel, with 2 groups:
1.    Short term Volunteer work with officer's wives.
2.    A long term analytic group where we shared similar experiences, survival anxieties, which were both collective and personal with fear of annihilation.
We shall discuss the roll of the Group conductor in war time, confronting mutual dangers, and emotion as well as personal experiences, from despair to hope.

Ivan Urlic


    The desire for a more decent and empathic life ambience and non-threatening relationships looks nowadays as a distant, unattainable hope. Not only in Europe and Near East, but globally, aggression and destructive forces are endangering the bare human existence. Will the hope for a different world survive in these stormy times? Would it  be possible to create conditions for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation in order to create a more friendly world of human understanding and respect? My contribution will elaborate on  some personal psychotherapeutic experiences from  time of war  and its aftermath.

SP2Time in psychoanalytic psychotherapies and group analysis – different world equals rebranding relatedness?

Isaura Manso Neto, Portugal


How important is time in psychoanalytic psychotherapies?

Key words

time; long and short psychotherapies; countertransference; effectiveness and goals; research

Regarding the training of analytical psychotherapists (individual and/or group), the extension of analysis time (duration and frequency) has a preventive and formative intention, as the authors discuss in the book The Portuguese School of Group Analysis (2021). But, does this intention translate into this practice? In other words, is time such a determining variable in the success of the objectives of individual or group psychotherapy or group analysis? Which variables can intervene when we talk about the long or short duration of analytical psychotherapeutic processes? Can we continue to make the demand for results dependent on time? What support may we find in neurosciences? How do we comply before the external pressure? And with our own perception of time when in face of a particular individual? Some clinical vignettes will be presented, trying to reflect on the results of our psychotherapeutic interventions (individual or group, with varying frequency) and to understand in which situations, from a subjective point of view, we felt that a therapeutic relationship lasted too long or was excessively short, despite considered effective.

Margarida  França, Portugal


How do we feel about time? – Reflections on a survey

Key words:

time; long and short psychotherapies; countertransference; effectiveness and goals; research

Research on results is another topic that, in our opinion, is controversial, and maybe one of the reasons for the lack of interest in the theoretical-technical conceptualization of psychoanalytic therapies. Effectiveness of analytical psychotherapies is the subject of historical debate, opinions dividing between those who want empirical, almost naturalistic studies, with (omnipotent) control of variables and those who think of psychoanalysis and analytical therapies as a hermeneutics. Chris Evans and Jo-anne Carlyle, in their book “Outcome Measures and Evaluation in Counselling and Psychotherapy” (2021) give a pragmatic vision of the need for studies in psychotherapy, but also of the difficulties that the design of these studies can bring to the researcher/clinician.
The questions raised by the previous presentation, especially psychoanalytic psychotherapies´ duration and frequency in relation to its goals, led us to conduct a survey amongst SPGPAG (Portuguese Society of Group Analysis and Group Psychotherapy) members, addressing the issue of time in relation with the clinicians’ subjective evaluation of the effectiveness of psychotherapies. Andrzej Werbart and Sven Lagerlöf´s study “How much time does psychoanalysis take? The duration of psychoanalytic treatments from Freud’s cases to the Swedish clinical practice of today” (2022) was a departure for the questionnaire. The results will be presented, wishing to engage in an exploratory discussion that will encourage other colleagues to question the validity of the assumptions they make in their clinical practice regarding the time variable.

SP3We are all one living organism: Psychotherapist in shared reality of collective trauma.

Marlen Maor, Israel

Title: Therapists working in a shared reality of collective trauma – counter transference aspects

In this lecture, I will discuss the common countertransference reactions of therapists

in a shared reality of collective trauma, following the October 7th attack on Israel. These insights have been gathered from therapist supervision sessions at survivors’ evacuation sites, professional teams working with Nova festival survivors, and private practice psychotherapy supervision.

I will explore the countertransference reactions of therapists while treating trauma survivors in a shared reality from various angles. One aspect will examine the difficulty in distinguishing between countertransference reactions to the shared traumatic events themselves and those related to the specific patient. Other aspects will address the multiple challenges therapists face in these situations, such as maintaining a transitional space that fosters thought and emotional connections. These challenges include the ability to move beyond split mental positions, to embrace multiple roles, to manage a broad spectrum of emotions, and to remain cognizant of the arousal of past and present personal traumas. These challenges intensify as therapists strive for self-preservation and grapple with the fear of secondary traumatization.

The discussion will integrate clinical examples with theoretical perspectives to provide a holistic understanding of the subject

Ofira Honig, Israel

Title: Act & Action – The mental health therapists' community as a source of resilience during events of extreme trauma.

In situations of mass trauma, national or natural disasters or wars that occur outside of the usual battlefield and on the home front, with injury to civilians, the rupture and the anxiety are immense, the trauma transverses all sectors, and everything familiar and safe disappears “at the flash of a sword”. The fear of what is happening, the anxiety facing an unknown, strip us of our mental resources and strengths and we have to create a familiar and safe “home” for ourselves.
We found that in these situations, community intervention is a significant source for contending with the trauma, for resilience and mental growth and that in such times of distress the community of mental health therapists helps, despite being caught up in the same traumatic event.
The understanding that social and human connections reinforce the physical immune system as well as mental resilience, which are fortified through our ability to sense being a part of something, and to know that we have in ourselves the strength to assist others. To understand and observe the difficulty and not to run away from or deny it, but to indeed understand how not to be scared of it. Therefore, as a parallel process to the community interventions, we wanted to establish the strength and resilience of the therapeutic community and create a source of support and fortification for the therapists themselves that would enable them to enlist to assist.
The lecture will focus on establishing a model of support, training and assistance for therapists who worked during shared traumatic events at a time of shared reality.

 WS1Integrating arts in group analysis: Exploring a new matrix-language at conflictual times.

Marcia Honig, Israel



Integrating Arts in Group Analysis :   Exploring a new Matrix-Language at conflictual times

Key words:


We are living in turbulent and violent times; the consequences are seen on the therapeutic framework, as we observe the erosion of interpersonal relationships.
Changes in the psychoanalytic technique can be also a reflection of difficult and conflictual times, and must of all, a real NEED. Arts- paintings, poetry, narratives -can be a tool of giving a meaning, a new language for connecting, at those changing times - as this workshop will try to demonstrate :
  The encounter of persons in the Group Matrix is a meeting between different ideas, feelings and fantasies, with potential for growth and regeneration; but there are also destructive and traumatic forces in it.
   In order to connect in a positive way, we need to enlarge\improve the ways of communication in the Matrix.
Art is inculcated into cultures, it's an Universal Language, speaking directly to senses and thus to all humans.
During the workshop, we will explore the interplay between Poetry and spontaneous-Drawing into Group analytic processes. As Plutarch said, Painting is silent Poetry, and Poetry is Painting that speaks.
Participants will explore it inside the Group experience and discover new paths of constructive communication,  even in very conflictual situations.

WS2Through the lens of Roy Andersson's short film 'world of glory': Exploring condition of humanity in the modern world.

Rafał Pniewski, Poland


Title: Through the lens of Roy Andersson’s short film “World of Glory”: exploring condition of humanity in the modern world.

“World of Glory” is a 1991 Swedish short film written and directed by Roy Anderson. This film, even though it was released more than thirty years ago, tackles themes that are still relevant today (which sounds rather pessimistic, but prompts even deeper reflection, in my opinion): What is the state of the modern man and humanity? What makes us so often subject to inertia as passive bystanders of events that are destructive attack on life? Why do we settle for mere stagnation instead of development?  Do we live in a 'World of Glory' or in a world of perversion, where a 'blind eye' protects us from feelings of depression, humiliation and shame while preventing us from making any changes? In our work, do we pay attention to what attitude our patients have to the modern world around us? And do they have any at all? Should we deal with this in our psychotherapeutic work, or should we limit ourselves in our offices to exploring the psychodynamics of the inner worlds only?

Course of the workshop:

  • Introduction: information about the film and a short commentary on the themes.
  • Watching the film, 14 min.
  • Elaboration on the questions proposed during the introduction, a moderated discussion.
 WS3The troubled family in schizophrenia: Challenges for multi-professional treatment-planning and intervention.

Michael Stach, Germany


Title: The troubled family in schizophrenia. Challenges for multi-professional treatment-planning and intervention

Key words:structural family assessment, family-OPD, multi-professional treatment-planning

Families with a psychotic member often suffer from a variety of psychosocial problems that regularly become virulent in very different help contexts (adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry or psychotherapy, family help, counseling center, school, etc.). Joint, interprofessional treatment planning poses a particular challenge, as different therapeutic approaches (social work, pharmacological, behavioral therapy, psychodynamic, family therapy, etc.) often make a common language impossible.
Using a case example of a so-called multi-problem family, structural diagnostics with Operationalized Psychodynamic Diagnostics for Relationship Systems (Family-OPD) is presented, which can be used to provide an objectifying, cross-theoretical case description on a psychodynamic basis.

 WS4My beautiful scars.

Anna Dyduch-Maroszek, Poland



My beautiful scars

Key words:


I'd like to present an art installation  "My beautiful scars" of Agnieszka Wołodźko, Polish visual artist. She made the artistic transformation of the mourning. The exhibition presented in 2023 in Gdańsk, was based on building a social support network for the artist. Her friends were asked to provide her with  white fabrics needed to create the artwork. These pieces of fabric became  hand-sewn shirts. The shirts were dyed in decoctions of plants growing nearby. Friends also brought various dyeing plants, fruits, etc. The shirts were hand-sewn by the author with fiber obtained from nettles. Then-during the performance,  the author was wearing the shirts one after another. The performance was being photographed. The photographs are part of the exhibition. The author's idea is the experience of loss, contained by friendly people and regaining hope in the belief that death is a transition from the state of human life to other forms of life  e.g. plants. The shirts symbolize the unity of life transition. Visualizing and transforming loss into hope and a sense of community and connection of people and nature, turns out to be a way out of darkness when reality becomes hopeless. The impermanence of colors and  forms presented by the artist remind us of the transience and disappearance of those values ​​that are hard to say goodbye to. Through relatedness in a community experiencing dying and losing, we gain hope, love and the taste of the earth- herd.
If Novotel allows we could exhibit described installation.

 PP1Healing trauma and collective grief

Sanem Tayman, Turkey

Paper presentation

Title:The seismic event of February 2023 in Turkey: Figures and limits of symbolization in the work of mourning

Key words:trauma, earthquake, symbolization, mourning, collective grief, natural disasters, psychoanalytical psychotherapy
On February 6, 2023, two earthquakes measuring 7.4 and 7 on the Richter scale struck the south-eastern region of Turkey and Syria. In Turkey, according to official figures, over 50,000 people died, over 100,000 were injured and millions were affected by the quake. Since this traumatic event, a mourning process is still ongoing for millions of people, whether it’s the mourning of family members, friends, their homes or even of a city filled with memories and stories. A work of mourning was also necessary for the whole population who had to witness the suffering of others.
The aim of our presentation, starting from the example of the earthquake, is to address the symbolization work that needs to take place at both individual and collective levels in the case of disastrous events from a psychoanalytical point of view. How can psychoanalytical psychotherapy accompany the subject in metabolizing the traumatic elements and how can collective mourning processes come to the rescue at the point where the former finds itself in a psychic impasse? This subject will also be explored in the light of previous clinical research on previous catastrophes like the 2010 earthquake of Haiti.

Zoran Mladenovic, Serbia

Paper presentation

Title:"Conception trauma" and Healing Potentials of a Small Group-analytic Group with Overlap of Social and Personal Trauma - School Shooting Case
Key words:mass murder ; conception trauma ; psychic retreat ; group and social psychic retreat ; counter-transference

In Serbia, in the middle of 2023, two mass murders took place in two days, in which seventeen people, mostly children, died. Those events happened just a few days before the very beginning of my small group-analytical group. This happened to be a sort of a ’’conception trauma’’ (Mojović, Despotović, Satarić, 2014) of the group. At the epicenter of the traumatic temblor was a group member, who was directly affected by the traumatic event and who experienced a loss of his child in those events. Other members of the group could also be considered traumatized in a variety of distance from that epicenter. In the presentation I will share the impact of the complex overlap of the social, personal and group trauma. Particularly, I will describe the influence of trauma onto the cohesiveness of the group, as well as the projective, introjective and dissociative mechanisms that occurred. In the group dynamics important were manifestations of psychic retreats (Steiner, 1993) of some group members and aspects of the group and social psychic retreat (Mojović, 2011,2023). In the further course of the group work, the role of a group guided by group-analytical principles in solving many of destructive elements was emphasized. The space offered by the group, in which members could express their wounds, sadness, anger and sense of injustice were thereby appearing as the basis for the healing process. The group initiates the grieving process and provides an opportunity to grieve in a context of support and trust. Finally, there is a review of the role of the therapist and the counter-transference that occurs in such a group.

 PP2Creating reflective spaces

Giovanni Starace, Italy

Paper presentation


Narratives of changing times

Key words:

Narratives, post-modern culture, communitas

Since the Seventies, sociologists, anthropologists and even psychoanalysts have being producing narratives to describe changing times. This literature defines the changing reality a «post-modern culture». Many researches and clinical reports have also analyzed the psychological consequences of these
changes, but making an erroneous generalization. Generalist theories describe superficial aspects of society and they do not capture the psychological differences in the people. The widely followed theory of «metasocial guarantors», with a universalistic character, does not go deep in the subjectivities and gives the general psychological interpretation of extremely different people who live in our complex society. Considered that society is very fragmented, in our clinical work we meet people with extremely different psychological characteristics. For this reason, rather than trying to identify the new patients of psychoanalysis and looking for unique features, it is important to understand how differences arise in a common cultural and social environment. The real crisis occurred in the «communitas». The communitas is the fundamental reality that links the individual to society; It is an extended group, a prototype of society, and it has the characteristic of a
transitional space. The disappearance of the communitas is the most direct and immediate responsible factor for the great changes of recent decades.
Clinical examples of these changes will be provided, starting from the individual clinical evidence which is the most appropriate ground for understanding even the broader social reality.

Maja Lyon, Serbia

Paper presentation


Inequality - Group relations in times of uncertainty

Key words

Inequality, Group relations, Power relations, Ideologies, discourse, Uncertainty

This paper discusses group relations which, acting jointly with power and political relations, are creating major structural social change in the form of exponential growth of inequality.  
This increasing ratio of inequality has been generating an increasing and overwhelming feeling of uncertainty throughout the world for the last few decades.  No matter what economic and technological indicators might show in regard to measures of the market, profits, competitiveness, the workforce, etc, as elements responsible for this redistribution of resources and wealth, they fail to adequately fully explain the enormous disparity and its underlying ideological and political discourses. Societal choices are influenced by specific ideological and political groups who hold power over such discourses.
Group relations cannot be taken separately from power and political relations as Norbert Elias pointed out. To understand today’s inequality is to understand the power relations and dynamics within different social groups, and how ideologies are instrumentalized by that power, which influences societal choices that are material but also intellectual and ideological. The implication is that those who hold influence in shaping ideas and ideologies play a significant role in determining societal structures. Farhad Dalal says that If we accept that there are inevitable power differentials between groups, then we may move on to examining the structures and mechanisms that are used to maintain the advantage of the power differential

Agnieszka Chrzczonowicz-Stępień, Poland

Paper presentations

Title: Psychoanalysis on a Turbulent Sea - Modifying techniques towards creating reflective space in the therapy room

Key words:psychoanalytic technique, Polish experiences, modifications of technique, therapeutic abstinence, relational therapy, reflective space

The presentation will commence with an exploration of the personal experiences of psychoanalytic therapists practicing in Poland. It will focus on the question: which external events and crises have most frequently permeated the therapy room and how they influenced therapeutic work in recent years. Additionally, insights will be shared on how analysts have navigated these challenges. In the second part, attention will be drawn to the notion that in today's stormy times, a focus solely on the patient's internal world, abstracting from the socio-cultural context, and excessively adapting the neutral and withdrawn stance (derived from the Freudian concept of abstinence) may prove inadequate. This scenario is akin to an analyst accompanying their patient in a stormy sea, while pretending to still provide a stable point of reference. To address this problem, several modifications to analytic technique will be proposed, including a broader consideration of the socio-cultural context, increased utilization of relational and mentalization-based techniques (including self-disclosure), normalization of emotions as appropriate responses to external storms, and the bolstering of negative capability. Through these proposed modifications, the presentation aims to enhance analytic effectiveness in creating reflective space and helping the patient navigate the complexities of the contemporary world.

PP3What does Bion have to say about war and trauma.

Jörg Melzer, Germany

Paper presentation


Linking experience from migration and warefare to group process

Key words:

migration, warefare, group process, trauma, Bion

Our reality is tough: Climate change, pandemic, war and migration. All this is indeed awful, but tragic as it is - it is not new. Generations of psychoanalysts before us were confronted with the same. How did they handle it?
To answer this question the biographic writings of W.R. Bion serve as an important source for: 1. getting to know his traumatic life events, and 2. to link them with his contributions to psychoanalytic theory. Seen from this perspective his publications e.g. on ‘negative capability’, ‘attacks on linking’, and ‘group-dynamics’ are rather theory, based on personal experiences or to put it in his phrasing: alpha-elements transformed from beta-elements.
Raised in the colonial setting of the British Empire in India, he was taught to fulfill functions. That included to be sent to the UK for schooling at the age of eight (educational migrant), where he experienced the loss of group-cohesion.
Ten years later he is confronted with the inferno of the Western front (WWI) including deterioration of thinking, projective identification, guilt, depersonalization and the influenza-pandemic.
Although his traumatization receives some smoothing in a psychotherapy, new group experiences seem crucial:
Firstly, mastering WWII at the home front together with other military psychiatrists (J. Rickman, D. Sutherland), who respect him.
Secondly, belonging to a group of analysands of M. Klein, which shared being migrants (H. Segal, H. Rosenfeld) and worked as peers co-operatively on the paranoid-schizoid position and psychotic thinking.
Thirdly, his own late family, which accompanied his retreat towards a kind of Liberation.

Daniela Zampa, Italy

Paper presentation


Truth and hope in analytical setting

Kew words:Psychotic  thought, despair, social difficulties

In the thought of Bion truth and faith are closely related. If the truth "0" is unreachable, is the movement towards his research supported by the analyst's faith to bring out in the field the hope. Is described the importance of the repeated passage from despair to hope as an important evolving element both in the construction of an experential group with young people from a suburban neighborood of Rome and in the work with a severely depressed patient.

 PP4Psychotherapy with body issues.

Mónica Silva, Portugal

Paper presentation

Title:Brief Group Analytic Intervention in Infertility: Psychological Distress, Self-Efficacy, Stigma, Marital Relationship, Childhood Memories and Reproductive Status

Key words:Infertility, psychotherapy, group, group analysis, reproduction.

Introduction: Incidence of infertility increased in recent decades, becoming a public health problem inducing psychological distress in those affected by this condition.
Methodology: The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of brief group analytic psychotherapy for women undergoing medically assisted procreation at Maternidade Dr. Alfredo da Costa, central Lisbon maternity (N = 67), using as indicators: a) psychological distress (depression, anxiety, stress); b) perception of marital relationship; c) perception of childhood and adolescent relationships with parental figures; d) perception of self-efficacy regarding medical procedures in infertility; e) perception of social stigma; f) reproductive status. Three groups performing brief group analytic psychotherapy were conducted, having 16 sessions each with weekly frequency. Psychological dimensions were evaluated at five moments: before starting psychotherapy, midway through the psychotherapy process, at the end of psychotherapy, six months, and one year after the end of psychotherapy. Reproductive status was evaluated one year, two years and three years after the end of psychotherapy.
Results: Significant improvements were observed in participants undergoing brief group analytic psychotherapy in: depression, negative emotional states, satisfaction with family functions in marital relationship, dyadic adjustment cohesion, dyadic adjustment consensus, global dyadic adjustment, marital empathy, and maternity rate.
Discussion: This study aims to contribute to clinical psychological knowledge in the field of infertility providing a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of brief group analytic psychotherapeutic intervention with patients of fertility support services.
Conclusions: Results of this study support the integration of brief group analytic psychotherapy as a complement to infertility treatment.

Ana Bivar, Portugal

Paper presentation

Title: An Affective Deafness

Key words:Keywords: attachment; importance of the therapeutic action; construction of a dialogue

Moving from concepts such as attachment, the importance of psychotherapeutic action and building dialogue, Maria´s clinical situation will be dwelt. There are two distinctive moments: a first one from 2009 and a second one in 2023. In the first moment wasn´t possible to establish a therapeutic alliance: there was not enough space for a dialogue, only a monologue. Fourteen years pass and Maria comes back searching for help. The previous symptoms that led to her claim were similar to those she presented the second time: depressive symptomatology, anger and imminent family rupture.
The first time, psychotherapy was held in the context of a very conflictual divorce; the second time, the final rupture has not happened, but there is a desire to follow that path. In the aftermath of a familial argument, Mary falls ill with a flu which evolves to pneumonia and culminates with having her acoustic duct blocked. There is no plausible medical reason besides a psychological-organic vulnerability. In symbolic terms, one could say that Mary doesn´t feel heard and cannot as well listen, closing the cycle of an affective deafness.
With this presentation the author wishes to stress the importance of the construction of a solid therapeutic alliance and its inherent boundaries. The psychotherapeutic relation appears as a safe space where the psychotherapist´s attentive regard promotes the development of the self, by validating thoughts and feelings. This space is the counterweight of our vertiginous and conflicting world.

 PP5Psychotherapy in pandemic time.

José de Abreu Afonso, Portugal

Paper presentation

Title:  Body, space, time and psychotherapy.

Key words:Body; Presence, Space; Remote psychotherapy; In-person psychotherapy

The social transformations that we have been facing fed a new psychic economy in which the search for pleasure is more direct. In the post-modern consumerism machine, the body became a construction that can be transformed in the search for perfection or expression of individuality. By alienating itself from the erotic body that is built by the articulation between the language and the symbolic, the subjects seem to engineer “display-bodies” in which the bodily erotism is presented as a call for its own recognition.
The speed at which changes occur, the scientific and technological advancements, led to the emergence of a lot of topics related to the body as well as the raising of questions unimaginable decades ago.
The paper reflects on the place of the body in the contemporary psychoanalytic clinic and on current psychotherapeutic practices where, due to distance communication technologies, the body seems to be relegated to the background.

Anna Kyprianou, France

Paper presentation

Title: “We're in a war against an invisible, elusive enemy ! ”, the covid-19 experience in elderly hospitalised post-stroke patients.

Key words:stroke, covid-19, elderly, uncanny

Those were the words the French president repeated during his speech on public television on March 16th, 2020, when he announced that the whole country was going under a lockdown to face the covid-19 pandemic.
Working as a clinical psychologist in a geriatric hospital in Lyon, France, and more specifically in the Neuro-Vascular Unit, where patients over 60 years old who had a stroke are submitted, this announcement and the whole situation of the pandemic was not without consequences. The troubled times of covid-19, in and out the hospital framework lead us to multiple experiences out of any context we knew until then. The whole world was threatened by the same virus, both patients and caregivers, doctors, psychologists were exposed to this “enemy”. It had raised awareness about human vulnerability and unmasked the unconscious defences of omnipotence when we’re on the “other side”.
The clinical framework of our psychotherapies changed and led to extraordinary experiences. We, both the psychologist and the patient, had to wear a chirurgical mask, not having access to the whole image of the face of the Other and their expressions. Tears were dried by the mask, hand-shaking should be avoided, a “security distance” had to be held. How does the psychotherapeutic alliance got impacted by these measurements ? How has the hospitalisation experience been influenced by the restriction of visits from their beloved ones ?
Most patients after a stroke feel vulnerable, talk about an almost death experience, and face both psychologically and physically the interruption of the continuity of existence (Winnicott). The body image, the Real of the body, disability and acceptance of ageing are in the centre of the psychological challenges during this post-stroke period.
How did covid-19 and the pandemic influenced the psychic reality of the patients that were hospitalised at that moment ? How did this collective unheimliche “uncanny” (Freud) was experienced by the patients, the caregivers, and their families ? How did the care (Winnicott) managed to survive ?
These are some of the questions i will try to answer throughout my paper.

 PP6First steps of helping during turbulent time.

Ortal Shimon Raz, Israel

Paper presentation

Title:A Model for On-Site Psychological First Aid at Political Rallies During Times of Turmoil

Key words:Psychological Firs Aid; Trauma, Psychotherapy, Emotional Support, Political Rallies, Hope

Israel is facing turbulent times. A threat of an extreme judicial reform sparked massive protests. This was followed by a catastrophic terrorist-attack that led to a major hostage situation, prompting another protest amid the Gaza conflict. The breach of both, physical and ideological boundaries, resulted in trauma as personal security was violated, leading to loss of trust and feelings of depression and anxiety.
A group of mental-health professionals took to the streets during these rallies to offer primary psychological support. We established "secure islands", where individuals were invited to share their thoughts, feelings, and personal narratives in a one-on-one session with a therapist. The stormy winds of protest allowed us to challenge therapeutic conventions and take therapy into the public domain, thus enabling subjective mental presence within the collective public action.
This is the first time professionals have offered immediate, on-site psychological first-aid at a political rally. With a year's in-the-field experience, we can attest to the impact and depth of this unconventional method.
We learned that our presence inspires hope and helps restore the basic trust that has been broken. The one-on-one encounter echoes the internalized mother-infant dyad that is embedded within humans. The synchronized interaction of joint gaze and attention potentially enables an emotional-interpersonal 'immune system' and transforms turmoil grounds into a holding environment.
We present a unique "Primary Emotional Support" model and discuss how this unique setting shapes the interpersonal encounter, the therapist's stance, and themes arising from the interaction between external turmoil and the internal experience.

Simone Hees, Germany

Paper presentation


Uncertainty and hope as companions between homesickness and departure. Insights into a group-analytical process with Ukrainian children and adolescents.

Key words:

Uncertainty; hope; not-knowing; group analysis; psychoanalysis

Uncertainty is something that very clearly reflects what many people sense and feel as a result of events in our world. War, pandemic, climate change – there is great uncertainty. Therefore, withstanding this uncertainty, is an essential part of psychotherapeutic processes in psychoanalytical treatment. However, this uncertainty also stands for or implies the possibility of hope. “Not-knowing” can become an important element of the psychotherapist’s professional attitude. The presentation of a group-analytical process with Ukrainian children and adolescents, who had fled from war, illustrates how, within the unconscious dynamics in the group, hope became tangible, and uncertainty became (more) bearable – for the patients and the psychotherapist. The presentation may encourage further discussions and exchange regarding the aspects uncertainty and hope in psychoanalytic child and adolescent psychotherapy during challenging times.

PP7Virtual therapy: Theoretical and clinical implications.

Clelia de Vita, Italy

Paper presentations


Virtual therapy:  mental structure migrate, theoretical and clinical implications.

Key words:

mental structure migrate-destructuring of boundaries-method extension-blurred identity -negative capacity-internal setting

There are similarities between the analytical method, which invites us to leave linear time to access a "non-time" for self-discovery, and virtual therapy. Sessions give us access to a virtual room in which it is not clear whether the analyst receives the patient or vice versa. The patient's environment is seen and heard by the analyst, who normally imagines the patient's elsewhere.
Immediate access to the person's intimate space can encourage regression to infantile curiosity which requires concretely exploring the inside of the other, taking possession of it.
The analyst meets the patient in another world; derealization, amplified by the medium, involves a destructuring of boundaries, the necessity to tolerate the threat to one's identity.
It seemed useful to me to refer to the clinical experience with migrants, which confronts the analyst with the strangeness of others but also with his own. As in the encounter with the migrant, the analyst is asked to allow himself to be inhabited by that unusual contact with an outside that reveals the "foreigner within us".
Without a doubt the negative capacity, and a solid connection to the internal setting, can help to research the value of this particular form of “method extension”, capturing the unconscious fantasies linked to the spatial and temporal dimension promoted by it. Some clinical examples will allow us to evaluate the implications for the differentiation processes of a treatment that facilitates contact with the impersonal, with the blurred identity of the analyst.

Norbert Kacprzak, Poland

Paper presentations

Title: A distant or remote patient? An analysis of virtual therapy with the expat patient.

Key words: expat, loneliness, relatedness, online, hope The article is an analysis of "online" therapeutic work with a patient who is an expat in an Asian country. The patient's presence is realized in the psychoanalytic therapist's office in a dichotomy between Aristotelian socialization and Hobbesian egoism. The patient experiences other people in the likeness of his own thoughts: their onslaught causes an escape from them, similar to breaking out of a crowd of pushing and rubbing people. By getting rid of other people's company, patient wants to feel light as a fast weight-loser; however, losing weight too quickly leads to weakness and muscle atrophy, just as losing relationships leads the patient to outbursts of anger and depression. The primary objects were created in the patient's mind as a result of faulty connections full of demands,

SP4From cohesion to coherence and "We-ness”: Advancements in group analytic therapy.

Sigmund Karterud, Norway

Title: “I need “a we” but don’t know how to cooperate”

The group self is not a given. It starts in the mind of the analyst and gets transformed to tangible phenomena during the developmental processes of the group. Not all analytic groups reach an analytic discourse level. The decisive factors are the competence of the group analyst and the average level of personality functioning among the group members. The lower the level, the larger problems with cooperating with strangers and slowly making them friends. The developmental process from an isolated “I” to a cooperating “we” is what group analysis is all about. The presentation will focus upon theoretical and technical challenges of this process. For instance how much leadership does the group need? How pedagogic should the group analyst be? How much should he/she engage in working with self-object failures/therapeutic ruptures in the here and now?  

Anna Zajenkowska, Poland

Title: Different Facets of Dimensionality in Group Analytic Psychotherapy

The presentation explores dimensionality in personality diagnosis and its parallel manifestation in group analytic processes and treatment. It draws a comparison between individual and group development, exploring the journey from infancy to maturity. Dialectical thinking, mentalizing, and negative capability are accentuated in shaping the paths of both individual and group development towards maturity and coherence. This progression aligns with the development of group analysts' interventions, evolving from supportive to expressive approaches. I address the transition between stages and the cultivation of plasticity in both patients' and analysts' minds, including a discussion on handling regression in the early stages of therapy.
Highlighting the connection between current diagnostic systems (ICD-11 and DSM-5) and psychodynamic theories influenced by figures like Melanie Klein, Heinz Kohut, and Otto Kernberg, I suggest that hostile attributions and paranoia can be indicators of paranoid-schizoid position, linked to issues with mentalizing. For clinicians, these ideas offer insights into addressing hostile attributions in transferential relationships (e.g., negative transference). Therefore, psychoeducation and enhancing the mentalizing stance, especially in the initial stages of group therapy, often in the paranoid-schizoid phase, can potentially help reduce dropouts and contribute to the establishment of reflective functioning.

Hanne Sofie Dahl, Norway

Title: Short-term Group analytic psychotherapy for young adults with ADHD

Fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for ADHD will for most people include a feeling of being a singleton in many social situations. Many will carry scars from societal wounds and present a variety of psychiatric symptoms. A short-term group analytic model has been developed to increase self-compassion which is found to be especially low in this population. The treatment model consists of 18 sessions and is tried out in ten different groups. Few dropped out from the groups, and completion was high. Qualitative interviews were conducted post-treatment, and quantitative data were gathered from six out of the ten groups. The presentation will cover the key aspects of the treatment model, along with some of the obtained results. Groups where people are having the same diagnosis will from start exert a stronger pull towards cohesion. The treatment model suggests ways of helping the group into more coherent ways of working, giving the patients a room to explore the “we-ness” while also exploring the “I” in a safe enough context. This seems to have increased their self-compassion, given an experience of clearer identity and an extended inner space for reflection related to who and what they are as young adults, that also have ADHD.

SP5Emotional, linguistic, and body movement synchrony as the foundation for the holding environment within the psychotherapeutic relationship in the stormy times.

Rafał Styła, Poland

Title: Subjective assessment of synchrony and the experience of containment

This first presentation of the sub-plenary will include a more detailed presentation of the idea of synchrony and its understanding in the context of psychotherapeutic relationship. Specifically, supported by Bion's theory of containment and alpha function, we will argue that synchrony is probably a necessary (but not sufficient) condition of the process of containment of the patients' beta elements. In order to confirm this hypothesis, we will present arguments from the psychoanalytical and academic psychology literature. Finally, we will present preliminary results from our research project in which we proposed and psychometrically tested a new tool - Synchrony in Conversation Questionnaire (SCQ). Moreover, we will present whether subjective synchrony (measured with the mentioned SCQ) is related to subjective sense of containing (on the part of the helper) and being contained (on the part of the person being listened to). The results will be discussed in light of the observation that nowadays, patients experience heightened psychological pressure due to global challenges.

Magdalena Linke-Jankowska, Poland

Title: Facial expression synchrony in psychotherapeutic dyads in light of Winnicott's theory of the mirroring function

Winnicott's theory of the mirroring function of the mother emphasizes the crucial role of early maternal care in developing the child's sense of self. It emphasizes the significance of nonverbal communication, particularly facial expressions, in the mirroring process. This concept resonates with the idea of synchrony between therapist and client, as therapists may utilize facial expressions and nonverbal communication to attune to the client's emotional state, foster connection, and promote therapeutic progress. In those challenging times when individuals may have faced increased isolation, uncertainty, and disruption to their lives, the therapist's role becomes akin to that of the mirroring mother. But this, which seems to be naturally done well by mothers caring for their babies and analysts during therapy for their clients in both cases, shall not be taken for granted. For this reason, the presentation will include a brief overview of existing empirical evidence on the role of emotional synchrony in psychotherapeutic dyads and the preliminary results of our team's recent study, which included an objective assessment of facial expression synchrony between interaction partners. This aspect was assessed using the iMOTIONS software and compared to the subjective evaluation of facial emotion synchrony.

Szymon Szumiał, Poland

Title: Body movement synchrony in patient-therapist dyads
In psychotherapy, body movement synchrony in patient-therapist dyads can be assessed with motion energy analysis (MEA). This type of analysis is based on videotaped sessions and quantifies synchrony, evaluating changes in pixels in the image of the patient-therapist dyad over time. The software for translating changes in images into appropriate indicators of nonverbal synchrony was presented by Ramseyer in 2020. During the presentation, the advantages and limitations of the method will be discussed with practical examples. Also, preliminary research results regarding synchrony in patient-therapist dyads conducted in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw will be presented. In the end, we will discuss how these results can be translated into the practice of psychoanalytically oriented therapy.

WS5Evil, understanding and reconciliation in individual life, psychotherapy and social conflict.

Sisko Miettinen, Finland


Title: Evil, understanding and reconciliation in individual life, psychotherapy and social conflict

Key words:

Evil, individual and group, reconciliation, projection, rituals

How do deal with the evil, and from whom or where does it come from? How can you deal with evil without being subjucated, abused, killed- or hurting youself or others? The humankind has always  attempted to solve this problem in various ways, both in individual and group settings. According to Caroline Garland, not only the forces of hate but the forces of love can do evil when large crowds are involved. By believing in the leader he worships, a member can give up thinking for himself. The chaos and bloodshed caused by a ruthless leader is repeated when the masses begin to act in his service.

In this workshop each of us can try and model the concept of evil on the basis of  one's individual experience and understanding. We can use both words and art materials to figure it out. In addition, we can get to know what the stone maze was built for during the Bronze Age, and how our ancestors built it in order to sort out the problem of evil.

WS6Empowering resilience and working through of secondary trauma through group psychotherapeutic playback theater.

Ronen Kowalsky, Israel



Key words:

Secondary trauma, Psychotherapeutic playback theater, Group therapy, Resilience, Drama therapy, Group analysis

Secondary trauma is the emergence of PTSD symptoms among people who are exposed to traumatized survivors. Healthcare professionals, repeatedly encountering trauma survivors, are very prone to developing secondary trauma symptoms, affecting their personal lives and professional functioning (Cieslak et al., 2014). Various group interventions were found useful in empowering resilience and working through secondary trauma situations, thus lowering the potential emergence of PTSD symptoms and burnout among healthcare professionals (Bercier et al., 2015).
Psychotherapeutic Playback Theatre is an evolving form of drama therapy based on group analytic principles. During sessions of Psychotherapeutic Playback Theater group members switch between "playing the other", observing the situation from his/her perspective, and "allowing the other to play me", looking at multiple self-states using the perspective of the other. A group language of theatrical images is being created through this process. This provides the group with continuous practice in empathy, strengthens cohesion, and confronts processes of alienation, and exclusion (Kowalsky, Raz & Keisari, 2022).
The present workshop will examine how the continuous experience of switching between "playing the other" and "letting the other play me" in Psychotherapeutic Playback Theater can be used as a vehicle to empower resilience and work through secondary traumatic experiences.

WS7Development of trauma at child survivors of the holocaust.

Silvia  Nürnberger, Germany


Title: Stranger among us

Key words: culture, stranger, coping strategies, re-framing, cultural obeisance, foreign language, mother tongue, language of the heart, mutual linking, antisemitism, unconscious conviction of the couple, stereotypic preconception

This presentation is about psychoanalytic couple therapy with different cultural and national backgrounds. Defines basic concepts connected with otherness in the intercultural space and quotes international researches dealing with intercultural couples and coping strategies of the differences. Later targets the common language, which presents the instrument of linking and disaffection in the dynamic of the couple. The importancy puts in specific skills of the therapist who works with intercultural couples. The work is demonstrated in a case study of a intercultural couple (differencies in nationality and religion). The end of the paper offers a refflection of psychoanalytic insight to the couple - dynamic with respect to the main topic.

 WS8Family-interventions in times of crisis: A multi-national perspective on family-therapy during the pandemia.

Michael Stach, Germany


Title:Family-interventions in times of crisis. A multi-national perspective on family-therapy during the pandemia

Key words: family-therapy, corona-crisis

During the corona-pandemia, familes were facing multiple burdens and challenges in their daily lives. Some of the various psychosocial aftermaths continue until today. How did family-therapists in different european countries react to this crisis? What were the challenges for the therapeutic work and what can we learn from it for the future?
Members of the EFPP-PCFP-Section will present their approaches to the corona-crisis and will discuss their clinical implications.

PP8How to work with dreams in times of collective trauma.

Marit Joffe Milstein, Gila Ofer, Israel

Paper presentation

Title: Dreams in times of war as relational transformative psychic retreat

Key words: Dreams, Collective Trauma, Social dreamimg matrices

This presentation will introduce our work as facilitators of social dreaming matrices in times of war and collective trauma. Our experience shows that the use of the group container for digesting difficult dreams through the associations and connections to the dreams of other participants in the group allows for a unique trauma processing space.

Shulamit Geller, Robi Friedman, Israel

Paper presentation

Title:The rough road: A single case study of Dreamtelling in a group during the COVID-19 pandemic and military conflict

key words:dreaming; COVID-19; lockdown; group work; dreamtelling

Objective and Design: The global outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly heightened psychological distress on an individual and community level, across national and international spectrums. Dreaming may serve as a coping mechanism for negative emotions and stress during prolonged crises. Additionally, the practice of sharing dreams, driven by motives like emotional processing, relief, and request for containment, is widespread. We employed an exploratory qualitative research method, utilizing a single case study design, to examine the experiences of a group of Israeli students amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a concurrent local military conflict. This involved analyzing the content of dreams shared on social network sites (SNS) during the pandemic's first lockdown.

Data Analysis and Results: Using qualitative content analysis (Schwandt, 1997), we identified three significant themes within the meeting transcript: (1) Being blocked and helpless in front of a barrier, (2) Intrusion, defense, and psychological coping, and (3) Belonging to the group as a mean of coping with an individual-collective threat. The resulting group process facilitated psychological coping among participants by highlighting the interpersonal, transpersonal, and social dimensions of the contents that emerged during the process of dreamtelling.

Discussion: Our findings provide deeper insights into the prevalent experiences of individuals during collective stressful events. The study also illustrates how leveraging dreamtelling, especially from dreams shared on SNS, fosters emotional sharing among participants and enhances therapists' sensitivity and responsiveness to the nuanced content of these dreams. This approach positively impacts participants’ coping mechanisms, offering valuable implications for therapeutic practices during crises.

PP9Perspectives on virtual psychoanalytic psychotherapy.


Paper presentation


Key words: psychoanalytic psychotherapy, online sessions, personality type, presence of the bodies, holding environment, non-verbal communication

Working virtually:  in therapy and in life. Does it affect and/or change relatedness?

In regard of the psychoanalytic psychotherapy settings the below questions are planned to be discussed in consideration of the chosen topic. As an example, a part of the same case vignette in its virtual setting and in its presence will be shared.  

Is it the question of getting closer or far from each other in relatedness? Do we gain from time and make far distances get closer or do we stay far away in different settings? What is the psychoanalytic definition of a screen? Can a screen create the holding environment of a therapy room? Can a screen be counted as another element in a meeting room or in a therapy session with its mirroring, existence? What about the presence of the body virtually in comparison to its presence in reality? How do we communicate non verbally versus verbally in virtual settings and in presence? Do rituals make a difference within or without virtual settings? How can we reach out to senses, affects, emotions, thing and object representations in connection with the reflective thinking in both settings? Under what kind of circumstances virtuality takes the presence? Do every personality type and age can be helped out in psychoanalytic psychotherapy virtually? How can we define personal space and safeteness virtually and in presence? What could be said about the variety of the defenses virtually and in presence? What could be the differences of working virtually for the patients and the therapists?

Elena Vinogradova, Russia

Paper presentatation


Hope in the dark – how to keep hope alive when the reality appears hopeless

Key words:

psychic retreats, alive, online, in a room, claustro-agoraphobic dilemma

Revising my experience of private psychoanalytic practice of working with patients in the setting online and face-to-face, I´d like to present this paper, because during the years of my private practice, I, like my colleagues, firstly faced forced changes: the situation of darkness due to lockdown in the period of the covid. There was a dilemma: what to do? Taking in mind the fragility of the psychic structures of patients and the difficulty of tolerability of frustrations of loss, burdened by the uncertainty of the term of lockdown, after 1.5 months I suggested to my patients to become online for some months. This experience of changing settings online and face-to-face, further I could develop in my practice with adult patients when again I confronted with my own frustration with unbearable reality and darkness. In February 2022 I got a ticket for the last flight from SVO. And the sky became mourning and dark.
A few weeks later (in 3 weeks), as soon as I felt some repair, I suggested to my patients to continue online as we agreed before. And from this period, I work in a combined setting online and in a room due to my many trips. We do not lose sessions, that helps in avoiding psychic losses and keeping an establishment – that’s the main advantage of combined setting.
And I would like to bring to today´s discussion by seeing three cases of my private practice during this period.

Catherine Dupuis, France

Paper presentations


Challenges of remote analytical psychotherapies with children and adolescents: stop or still ?

Key words:

Analytical psychotherapy, distancing, setting, transformation, children, adolescents, public service.

From the landmark case of "Little Hans" (Freud 1909) then the famous "controversies" (1940-1945), to the difficulty of gaining recognition for "full-fledged child psychoanalysis" (Edy, 2011) in psychoanalytic and healthcare institutions, the status of the child in psychoanalysis and of child psychotherapy has continued to evolve. Today, in line with the contributions of W.R. Bion and the post-Bionians, we can conceive of child and adolescent psychotherapy as "the development of instruments that serve to think or to contain emotions and thoughts" (Ferro, 2011, p. 127).

But in the spring of 2020, the reality of confinement in Europe may have sounded like a distant echo of the stormy atmosphere of the debates between the Kleinian and Anna Freudian groups within the British psychoanalytic movement between 1940 and 1945 (King and Steiner, 1998). Against the backdrop of the pandemic, psychotherapists and analysts were forced to offer distance sessions by telephone or video, which also raised a number of questions. Today, in an afterthought, the possible lessons of these experiences question the notion of the analytic field by integrating elements of framework and technique.

In this talk, we'll discuss some elements of analytic practice, based on telephone sessions conducted during eight weeks of confinement, from mid-March to mid-May 2020, with children and adolescents, aged 8 to 17. We will question the therapeutic alliance and commitment, in terms of the cooperation of the youngsters and their parents, but also the experience of intimacy within the framework of these remote sessions essentially articulated to auditory sensoriality.

 PP10Movies and myths dealing with catastrophes.

Øystein Førre, Norway

Paper presentation

Title: Horror movies and the social unconscious

Key words: Horror movies, the social unconscious, national trauma and dream interpretation

Horror movies can be interpreted as depictions of our collective struggle to integrate and inevitably repress national trauma. In most psychotherapeutic traditions dreams are regarded as valuable communications from the unconscious and vital for psychological maturation. Among dreams, nightmares often point to indigestible experiences on an individual level. Similarly I will argue that horror movies grapple with our collective traumas and can be interpreted just like dreams. They are our collective nightmares. The logic of this approach is based on psychodynamic and analytic theory and the shared characteristics (isomorphism) of watching a movie and having a dream. Relevant psychodynamic theory and movie analysis will be used to further this point.

Tomas Vilius Kajokas, Lithuania

Paper presentation

Title: On the psychoanalytic attempt to elude the catastrophy

Key words: War; bystander; autistic-contigous; blindness

The topic of war and peace in individual psychoanalysis could be seen as a transference phenomenon, where individuals project their internal conflicts onto external events. Rebelling against tyrannical forces can be interpreted as both a defiance against authority figures and a projection of the rebel's own destructive tendencies.
Through the lens of Winnicottian psychoanalysis, war can be seen as an assault on the 'environmental mother' – the nurturing and dependable aspects of the community that provide essential services like public transportation, utilities, education, and childcare. These form the bedrock of a society's functioning, as described by Thomas Ogden's concept of the autistic-contiguous mode. Individuals and nations, as mere bystanders to the unfolding catastrophe, desperately attempt to preserve this essential infrastructure.
Psychoanalysis, while offering space for reflection, can also become a nurturing refuge where the catastrophes of the external world are solely interpreted as reflections of internal events, potentially hindering engagement with the real world.
The psychoanalyst, like the mythical figure Teiresias, who was blind yet could foresee the future but not change it, becomes a bystander. However, the possibility of a peaceful resolution akin to Oedipus reconciling with his father, Laius, remains a highly contentious issue. In other words, is a non-lethal encounter between them possible?
Teiresias' blindness, just like Oedipus', also offers a secondary benefit: it exempts them from the responsibility to act and shields them from the weight of guilt.

PP11Do we have to change methods of intervention?

Emilia Kruk-Woźniaczak, Poland

Paper presentation

Title: Phantasy-now and then.  Hope in the dark – how to keep hope alive when the reality appears


Key  words: children, phantasy, universality, individualism, war, COVID pandemic

In his 1916 article “The paths to the formation of symptom” Zygmunt Freud delved into the intricate realm of phantasies and their contents. Freud posited the existence of certain primeval phantasies within the psyche, suggesting their universal and enduring nature, which he termed prefantasies.

Freud’s assertion regarding the universality and persistence of primeval phantasies resonated with me, shaping my clinical perspective at the beginning of my clinical practice, with coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

I found myself exploring the notion of prefantasies while working with preschool- aged children. It struck me that disparate patients articulated strikingly similar phantasy, albeit rooted in their unique life circumstances. The observation that, despite the fear of war and death, I could refer to something constant in the psyche in my clinical work gave me courage during these stormy time. During this period, invaluable support also came from Melanie’s Klein article containing the case of Richard’s psychoanalytic treatment, which took place during the conditions of World War II. However, navigating the pursuit of commonality and continuity without succumbing to oversimplification presents a formidable challenge, demanding unwavering diligence.

My discourse is grounded in clinical data derived from psychoanalytic therapy

sessions and publications documenting psychoanalytic processes conducted by

practitioners over the last century. My deductions stem from identifying similarities and discerning certain interconnections.

I conceptualize the term phantasy in line with Susan Isaac’s elucidation in her work “Nature and Function of Phantasy”(1948).

Gianluca Biggio, Italy

Paper presentation

Title: Psychotherapist and patient: new forms of relationality

Key words: Psychoanalytic Psichoterapy, Rapid social change, new people relationality, psychotherapy setting

The contribution illustrates the appearance of new relational modalities acquired through the digital communication and the intense socio-economic change of the recent decades. Rapid social change is argued to reduce space for collective mental processing.
Interactivity, real time, hypertextuality have provided new models for our perceptions and experiences. It is necessary to reflect on the consequences of these perceptive models on new forms of subjectivity, both in social relationships in general and in therapeutics.
What comes from the web is offered mainly through perceptive, but not symbolic, channels. These are perceptive channels that build a sum of images, a deposit of potential pre-packaged identities. Identification with images precedes concepts rather than the relationship with the concepts themselves.
The attenuation of "metasocial guarantors", according to Kaes (2015), modifies the traditional drive structures of recent generations. The attenuation of guarantors can lead to greater freedom, or on the contrary it can cause greater confusion, both in interpersonal relationships and in relationships between patient and psychotherapist. The modern psychotherapist finds himself faced with different patients, not only due to the change in prevalent pathologies, but also due to the relational methods that they activate both through online therapy and also the direct contact with the analyst.
 Litowitz in Psychoanalytic Inquiry (2012, 506-12), argues that technology has changed many aspects of psychoanalytic practice. Bauman's thesis (2006) on new forms of subjectivity also has implications for psychotherapeutic practice. The paper aims to illustrate some by proposing new technical flexibilities within the traditional psychotherapeutic setting.

 PP12Times of conflict in the therapeutic group.

Maria Puschbeck-Raetzell, Germany

Paper presentation


Expats struggling with their new home: Dealing with attacks against the therapeutic frame and the group analyst

Key words

Expat group, Identity, Belonging, Integration, Uncertainty, German matrix

Berlin has a lively international community, and many young people ‘seek refuge’ in Germany’s capital for different reasons such as love, career opportunities, or freedom to explore parts of their evolving identity. Leaving the country one is born in is an adventure, sometimes an escape and a search for a new home, a place to belong and possibly settle. International students or young professionals don’t call themselves refugees or immigrants but ‘expats’ because they have (white) privilege that comes with having a choice to travel and move freely. As juxtaposition to their privilege, expats feel lots of uncertainty and doubts regarding their integration into the local society, their future and sustainable interconnectedness. Themes as struggling to learn German or dealing with bureaucracy feature a lot in the group that I would like to present.

Expats are often coming to Berlin with high expectations, and they look for freedom and security at the same time. That in itself is an ambivalent demand and is the central theme in my English speaking expat group. While trying to find their position in a multi-cultural community, individual group members and the group as a whole are more or less constantly challenging the therapeutic frame, the group rules, and me as the only German in the room representing the host country. In my presentation, I will reflect on dealing with these attacks and power dynamics, explore their meaning as well as explore my own motivation to provide a space for international clients with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Haim Weinberg, USA

Paper presentation

Title: The role of the group leader in times of conflict

Key words:

group therapy, conflict, relational approaches

What is the task of the group therapist when a conflict erupts in the group? Many therapists have difficulty dealing with conflicts among members, especially when openly expressed through anger and hostility. Approaching the group from an intersubjective /relational point of view puts enactment in the center of attention, and focuses on the subjectivities of all the participants, including the group therapist. One of the valuable contributions of the intersubjective approaches to group work relates to times of conflict in the group when the task of the group leader is to enhance the mutual acknowledgement of the subjective experiences of those involved in the conflict. The therapist should help the participants move from submission to surrender. The delicate task is to help people who suffer to express their hurt, to listen to the suffering of the other, to see the subjective experience of the other, and to acknowledge and recognize the other's pain. When the group therapist himself is caught in the enactment, this task is almost impossible.

PP13Adjustment to turbulent times.

Katarzyna Lenda Woźniak, Katarzyna Synówka, Poland

paper presentation


When thinking is the enemy and thoughtlessness is the ally - how to bear unbearable reality

Key words:

Normopathy, illusion, fantasising, psychic retreat

Christopher Bollas draws our attention to the fact that changing culture, civilisation, and the global situation on our planet affect the human self at the individual and entire social group levels. He describes normopathy as a state in which a person protects himself from psychological life by immersing himself in material comfort and turning to "recreational existence." In this state of mind, the reality of interpersonal relationships is deprived of meaning and representation. Like clinging to concrete material goods in the outside world - fantasising and staying in the realm of sensory impressions provides comfort in the face of the inevitable burdens of reality. However, when these strategies are excessive, they can confuse, threatening mental breakdown. In our paper, we want to describe how patients protected themselves from the awareness of the changing world associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the war in Ukraine. Katarzyna Lenda Woźniak will focus on the patients with a dominant psychotic part, and Katarzyna Synówka will portray narcissistic patients who build the illusion that nothing will or can change in their situation ("it doesn't affect me"). The above states can be understood based on John Steiner's concept of psychic retreat. We want to show that an analyst could also be affected by the illusion when the idea of what happens in the inner world is overestimated. The outer world is rejected because it is too disappointing and threatening. There is also a risk that insight, the main tool of analytical work, becomes an end in itself to the exclusion of the patient's abilities.

Aurelie Maurin Souvignet, France

Paper presentation

Title: Between defiance, resistance and creativity: how to understand the crisis of representations in the light of the clinical relationship.

Key words: Crisis, representation, subjectivation, defiance, resistance, creativity

My interest in, and questions about, what I deliberately equivocate and call the 'crisis of representations' stemmed from a number of clinical and therapeutic encounters, first with psychotic adults, then in the context of psychotherapy with children and adolescents, and again in the course of institutional work, particularly with educational teams.
Before giving some examples drawn from these encounters, and in particular from a recent research project on the reception of migrants children and adolescents in France and Germany, I will provide some clarification of what I mean by crisis, representation and crisis of representations. However, the aim of this clarification is not to remove the equivocation,  but rather to do it justice by bringing the notion of uncertainty to bear on the clinical relationship and its links with the social meta-framework.

PP14Working with couples – couple therapy.

Elle Side, UK

Paper presentations

Title:Love and Work: Couples in Treatment

Key words:Couple relationship, family, life cycle, work, unconscious phantasy

Working with couples, many therapists will be familiar with the sense of crisis that can accompany an intimate adult relationship with the arrival of baby, the transition of children into adolescence, and the experience of the empty nest as (grown-up) children move out. If this is the life cycle of many a couple relationship, there is also, for the vast majority of couples who come into treatment, the more linear notion of progression in the world of work. How do we understand the experience of work in the shared unconscious of a couple relationship? What is the meaning of work to each partner? How does work figure in the life cycle of a couple relationship? What kind of psychic space does it take up? These are questions that, while far from new, have emerged anew with the normalisation of ‘WFH’ (working from home), in the treatment of couples since the pandemic. This paper seeks to explore these questions with reference to clinical illustrations of couples in treatment from the perspective of psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy as theorised and practised at Tavistock Relationships.

Rosapia Lauro Grotto, Italy

Paper presentation

Title:Cease-fire: a time to negotiate for the present in a couple consultation.

Key words: Link psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy, prolonged consultation, setting, treatability, fear of collapse.

When approaching so-called "difficult cases" the therapist has to face unpleasant emotions, tolerate uncertainty for long periods of time, and navigate controversial and unsettling pas-sages (Saraò, 2018). This paper presents the encounter with a married couple in their fifties, parents of three children facing adolescence, whose marital bond is in crisis as an infidelity episode has occurred.
The mutual sense of reliability and consistency that characterized their bond, along with the usual playful and often joyful family atmosphere, has collapsed. They have decided not to separate immediately for the sake of their children and have turned to a professional for help. From the beginning, they make it clear that they do not know what kind of help they need or what for. They speak hesitantly and with difficulty, fearing that even the truce they have been precariously maintaining for months through silence, distance, and avoidance, will collapse.
After the first four observation sessions, the therapist, in order to address an invasive anxie-ty of contact with the breakdowns that have occurred and especially with those that may still occur, proposes a second cycle of four consultation sessions.
The therapist's decision is therefore to negotiate with respect to time and to present time, embodied by the uncertain prospect of building the setting, in the face of the feared irrup-tion of anxiety and collapse. The case is presented with the intention of showing how the perspective of Link Psychoanalysis allows for the initiation of a difficult collaborative work on "treatability," which becomes the first ground of encounter-clash in the clinical practice of difficult situations.

 PP15Fathers, sons, and the breakdown of social constructs.

Marta Bodecka-Zych, Poland

Paper presentations


Generational Echoes: identification and transgenerational transmission of hostile attributions in Father-Son Relationships

Key words:

Hostile attributions, intentionality, blame, identification, perceived personality resemblance, father-son relationship

During stormy times, children seek strong pillars of support—caregivers who offer security while encouraging exploration despite adversity. Fathers play a pivotal role in introducing children to the social world and facilitating separation from the mother. Especially for boys, identifying with their fathers can enhance personal and social adjustment. A key indicator of this identification is the perceived similarity between father and son. This study explores the relationship between fathers' and sons' perceived personality resemblance and tendency to make hostile attributions.
In the first study involving 70 father-son pairs, perceived personality resemblance, as observed by the father, predicted the intentionality ascribed by the son. However, the relationship between father and son's intentionality attributions was moderated by the son's perception of personality similarity. The more the son perceived himself to be similar to his father, the more the father and son's hostile intentionality ascriptions patterns were alike.
The second study, comprising 85 son-father pairs, investigated the impact of an induced sense of father-son resemblance. Results revealed that, under specific conditions, inducing a sense of resemblance to the father could increase intentionality imputed by sons.
Drawing on John Bowlby's attachment theory, Margaret Mahler’s separation-individualization theory, and other frameworks, we interpret the findings as providing valuable insights into hostile attributions within father-son relationships. Fathers serve as essential guides for children navigating challenging times, shaping their perceptions and interactions with the world. Understanding the dynamics of father-son relationships sheds light on how children develop attributions and responses to adversity.

Amit Saad, Israel

Paper presentation

Title: Property-Relation and the Breakdown of Social Constructs

Key words: unconscious, object, love, property, borderline-personality, setting

Following Freud's assertion that the unconscious transcends time (Freud, 1915), recent research suggests that unconscious thought is primarily concerned with properties, while conscious thought extends to objects with specific spatiotemporal attributes (Saad, 2022).

In this presentation I will suggest that this distinction is related to two different relations we form with others. The first relation is based on the inert properties of the other person and it is formed both unconsciously and consciously. The second relation is based on the shared history we have with the significant other. This relationship is formed only consciously.

I will further suggest that individuals with borderline organization primarily relate to others based on their inherent properties and fail to form stable relations that are based on shared history. This observation elucidates the clinical presentation of borderline patients, manifesting in unstable relationships, detachment, and anxieties stemming from a lack of secure boundaries. Thus, a key therapeutic objective becomes fostering patients to connect with therapists based on shared therapeutic history rather than solely desirable traits. This approach draws on Winnicott's theoretical framework (Winnicott, 1971, Chapter 6).

Additionally, it will be suggested that in times of crisis when social structures collapse, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic or in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas following October 7, neurotic individuals lose the objects towards which they form stabilizing relations based on shared history. Thus, they would exhibit borderline-like anxieties and defense mechanisms, as their object-relation will only be based on inert properties.

SP6Group psychotherapy amidst a universal turbulence: Containing and holding countertransference

NikosTakis, Greece


Working Through Grief and Loss: Reenacting Relations on the Stage of Psychoanalytic Psychodrama

Key words:

psychodrama, grief, loss

In recent years, a series of tragic phenomena have seriously wounded the social and cultural body of Greece: the railway accident that killed 57 young individuals, the wildfires that take a high toll on lives every summer, and the shipwreck of refugees in South Peloponnese. Along with the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, a canvas of violence, fear, and helplessness is created, leaving no space for thinking or sensemaking. We experience consecutive losses without having the time and place needed to process them. How does this failure to grief affect the modern Greek psyche? This question was the milestone in a group that was carried out in the context of the psychoanalytic psychodrama workshop, organized by the Hellenic Society of Group Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and led by the author. Sparked by pictures of the society’s founders hanging on the wall, the group members delved into intimate associations on their personal losses. The common ground was the difficulty to adjust after the loss of a significant other, along with the feelings of loneliness, and helplessness. The experiences shared created an emotionally heavy climate in the group. Following the psychodramatist’s suggestion it was decided to bring on stage a scene from a funeral of an imaginary old lady. Through assuming different roles related to this person, the group members dealt symbolically, and often in a humorous way with the challenge of accepting death and continuing life. The entire process will be discussed supported by literature on the reparation through psychodrama.

Antonios Katsamagkos, Greece


Conceptualizing people “between borders”. Thoughts from a housing organization for unaccompanied minors.


group supervision, refugee, Holding, transitional space, countertranference

The present paper is based on material from the year-long group supervision of the staff of a structure that houses unaccompanied refugee minors. These sessions were done as part of the program “Mental Health Hub”, which materialized from SOS Children Villages in cooperation with the Unaccompanied Minors Protection Secretariat and the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum. The minor refugees were hosted by the reception structure whilst they were in Greece, finding themselves in a peculiar entrapment situation, since they could not stay or leave the country legally. Simultaneously, the whereabouts of the minors’ families were unknown or kept hidden from the staff.
The aim of this paper was to explore the consequences of this very particular instant in the psychic life of the structure, and the capacity of the group to hold and contain the traumatic material brought by the minor refugees. The concept of the Greek word “miasma (contamination)” will be used to describe a situation of psychic contamination and wearing out of the capacity of the organization to act as the “intermediate- transitional space”, a concept introduced by Winnicott.

Lila – Aglaïa Mitsopoulou-Sonta, Greece


Working with supervision groups and institutions in stormy times

Key words

caring staff groups, institutions, supervision

Supervising  caring staff groups today is becoming a new challenge. The transformations of the last years have had an impact on the institutional landscape in the fields of medico-social care, on the organisation of teams and on the life of groups. We are observing a paradigm shift, and there is a need to think about developments of settings such as the supervised practice with teams in terms of the changing institutional and societal context.
Working with groups of professionnals gives us the opportunity to observe teams within institutions suffering from the societal changes of recent years which impact the care system and the relationship with patients. Based on clinical work with teams in a large hospital, we observe the difficulties teams have in dealing with archaic anxieties arising from the task of their practice. We believe that working in groups and proposing a space of elaboration by the group, restores the subject's internal groupality and restores intersubjective links. The work with groups of professionnals supports the re-establishment of an intermediary capacity between the subject and the institution enabling the subject to find his position within the latter and to deal with the instituted links.

SP7Uncertainty as the precondition of the continuity of existence in the tripartite matrix: Group analysis, culture and belonging

Dimitris Karamanavis, Greece

Title: Uncertainty through continuity

The "continuity of being" (Winnicott, 1975) is the basis for the development of certainty and security. Certainty in the continuity of identity, society and the world, despite constant change, is integral to a secure sense of self. Within this sense of certainty the individual is possible to modify the new experience and give meaning to it, and develop further as member of its groups. Uncertainty arises both from the inability to place ourselves satisfactorily in our matrices and the inability to recognize (Honeth, 1996) ourselves as part of the whole of the Foundation Matrix. In order to be able to define what we are, we need to define what we are not. The existence of individuals as nodal points in the tripartite matrices (Hopper, Weinberg, 2017) does not presuppose their uninterrupted course and their stable and solid positioning. The presentation will focus in uncertainty as an ability to withstand the pressures to be a person, existing in the group and using the language of the group. Group analysis through the various voices points the ability of the Matrix to contain the differentiations within itself but also to allow for diffusions, not as attempts to segment or dissolve but as attempts to formulate identity, allowing diversity and continuity of being.
Keywords: continuity of being, recognition, tripartite matrices, language of the group

Aggeliki  Arvanitopoulou, Greece

Title: Bearing the Unbearable Uncertainty During Changing and Turbulent Times

Changing times draw with them heavy chains of challenges for the people that need to survive and thrive within the framework of instability and uncertainty. Being stimulated by a barrage of information, demands, and having to adjust to hard or even harmful societal environments make it all the more difficult for people of our era to withstand uncertainty. At the same time, since societal stormy times have an analogous impact on families, more and more people nowadays are brought up with dysfunctional parenting. In the present paper we suggest that, nowdays, apart from the extra challenges imposed by the societal environment, bearing of uncertainty and ambiguity becomes even harder due to deficiencies in the internalized parental objects. Through examples from case presentations, we discuss how Group Analytic Therapy through monologue, dialogue and discourse provides a secure, holding environment for building mature defense mechanisms that can help its members to bear the discomfort of ambiguity and uncertainty and metabolize the internalized dysfunctional maternal objects.

 WS9Individuals and groups at war.

Yael Doron, Isreal


Title: Individuals and groups at war

Key words: Group Analysis. Matrix. Social Unconsious. War

Individuals who live at wartime are extremely vulnerable to feelings of lonliness, guilt, shame and dispair. My experience with several groups during the war in Israel taught me that sitting together, sharing memories, associations and thoughts enables feelings of inclusion and belonging. In the workshop I will briefly share my own experience and invite the participants to share and feel the group matrix in vivo.

 WS10Dynamics of psychotherapeutic psychoanalytic Settings

Anna Dyduch-Maroszek, Poland

Gustaw Sikora, Poland/UK

 Nikos Stathopoulos, Greece

Anna Zajenkowska,Poland

 Cezary Zechowski, Poland



Dynamics of Psychotherapeutic Psychoanalytic Settings

Key words:

setting; therapeutic abstinence; therapist's detachment; therapist's attunement; external vs internal storm

 In this workshop, we aim to analyse changes in psychoanalytic setting, including the concept of "Freudian abstinence" a pivotal element in psychoanalytic practice, during turbulent times. That will encompass personal case study presentations and discussions, delving into psychotherapeutic settings with a specific focus on the experiences of psychoanalytic therapists across various domains, including: individual therapy, group analysis, family and couple therapy, and adolescent therapy.
During the workshop, four psychoanalytic therapists will share their personal experiences related to the setting and possible changes in it which they have applied in their practices with patients. The discussion will be moderated by a group analyst.
We will particularly focus on following questions:
•        What personal and cultural factors shape your setting?
•        How has it evolved, and how has it changed throughout the years of your work?
•        What do you believe: have “stormy times”, whether they are understood as external factors (e.g., war, financial crises, climate change) or more personal/internal ones (e.g., pregnancy, death, family conflict), transformed your setting?
Sigmund Freud advocated for the therapist's neutral and reserved stance, practicing abstinence from personal involvement or emotional expression. This deliberate restraint is believed to empower the patient to navigate their unconscious mind more freely, fostering the crucial process of transference. However, it is acknowledged that transference is a reciprocal relationship. This prompts an inquiry into what extent practicing abstinence, particularly in the face of significant events (both external and internal as mentioned above), may imply some kind of emotional detachment. Consequently, maintaining abstinence may potentially trigger intense regressive states (both in patients but possibly also in the therapist).
That confronts us with further questions:
•    What setting modifications are required or not during stormy times to be able to contain or prevent the abstinence?
•    How the disruption of the constancy of setting may bring out the ‘true process of transference’ while trying not to disturb the setting hides much ‘truth’ beneath the surface of correct constancy?

WS11"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away “: Transgenerational and cross-cultural dynamics in the long-term-treatment of a latency boy - Clinical perspectives from individual and family therapy.

Gabriela Küll, Germany



„A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away“. Transgenerational and cross-cultural dynamics in the long-term-treatment of a latency boy. Clinical perspectives from individual- and family-therapy


long-term-treatment, transgenerational and cross-cultural family-dynamics

Trans-European mobility changes the cultural and ethnic arrangement of our societies. When we fall in love with someone from another country/another culture, our inner heritage of understanding and constructing our relational world shapes the way we interact with each other. Becoming a family of a cross-cultural background is a substantial develomental challenge, which often becomes a source of distress, suffering, the formation of symptoms or further exacerbation of existing psychological problems either on the relational or the individual level. The psychoanalytic treatment of children from these families frequently raises questions on the transgenerational heritage the child carries in itself. How can we understand the individual, the couple, the couples cultural identities and the family-dynamics laying behind? We want to discuss these questions in a multi-perspective, lively exchange between colleagues from child & adolescent, couple & family and adult psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

WS12Fill in the gap.

Gabriele Grimm, Germany


Title: Fill in the gap

Key words:

social division, regressive defense strategies in groups, restore safety and flexibility in contact with others

Regressive mass phenomena Freud described already 1914 and 1923 following the pioneer Le Bon (1895). A lack of empathy for the other and a yearning for strong leaders are still dominating the social division nowadays. Somehow it seems that nothing has changed during the past 100 years despite developments to promote diversity.
Working with traumatized soldiers after WW II. Bion (1961)  postulated his three group principles of dependence, pairing and basic survival strategies. His imagination about the glue forming a group under emotional pressure shows a lot of similarities to mass phenomena today.
Traumatic stress, not just individually experienced but socially conveyed including trans-generational traces, prevents mature mentalization from working and promotes regressive defense strategies. In this workshop we want to explore other possibilities to connect with oneself and others while coping with stress. The practice is based on psycho-dynamic understanding of the subconscious also as a part of our autonomous nervous system, tuning into bodily responses and providing cues of safety.

 WS13Therapists' "Immunity" in the Contagious, Symbiotic World

Simona Popa, Romania



Therapists' "Immunity" in the Contagious, Symbiotic World

Key words:

ego (des)integration, symbiotic transference and countertransference, discrimination between subject, object, relation, identity.

No matter the external wars and storms, individuals, couples, families, groups that come to us bring their inner wars, their radioactivity, their, contagious issues that dares therapists’ immunity. Couples and families assault our space, showing us their mined battlefields, and, whether we like it or not, we find ourselves in the middle of the storm which often takes the form of a tsunami or hurricane. The patients’ carapaces have become either heavy bunkers to daily wear or zoomy hologram-like shields and therapists need to keep themselves visible, vivid, true selves on.
How do we manage to go through the inferno of the symbiotic, totalitarian world of couples and families without fighting back, without drawing back, unarmed, holding the war itself? These are some of the questions I invite you to explore together.

 PP16Psychotherapy in migration and war times.

Lida Anagnostaki, Alexandra Zaharia, Greece

Paper presentation

Title: “Everything was normal, normal”: Exploring the defense mechanisms of former unaccompanied refugee children.

Key words: unaccompanied children, refugee minors, narratives, interpretative phenomenological analysis, psychoanalytic research, defense mechanisms

The study presented here sought to gain rich understanding of the defense mechanisms employed by former unaccompanied refugee children. Unaccompanied refugee minors have sadly been (and still are) a part of the movements observed worldwide of hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing persecution, violence and war. However, there is limited research on their experiences. For instance, during the Greek civil war (1944– 1949) thousands of children between the ages of 3 to 14 were taken from their villages in Greece and settled as unaccompanied refugees in institutions in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Nevertheless, very little is known about their psychological functioning and adaptation. Nine older adults (8 men and 1 woman), who were separated from their families when they were younger than 10 years of age and moved to former communist countries, were interviewed. Their narratives were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, a qualitative research method that can offer material suitable for psychodynamic understanding. Separation from their parents and their birthplace were not described as traumatic losses. The narratives’ analysis explores the defense mechanisms employed (denial, dissociation, idealization, devaluation, isolation of affect, rationalization, intellectualization), which seem to have been mobilized in order to protect the unaccompanied children from nostalgia and the painful realizations of uprooting, detachment and the experience of unbearable feelings.

Liliane Younes, Lebanon

Paper presentation

Title: Thinking therapy in time of war: Narratives of mental health professionals during the 2023/2024 war in Gaza

Key words: War - Gaza- Mental health - Trauma - Survival

In the tumultuous context of the ongoing war in Gaza, mental health professionals found themselves navigating the external storms and the intricate landscapes of their psyches and the lives of their families. This presentation delves into a profound analysis of 25 stories written by mental health professionals during the challenging period October 2023 to January 2024. These stories are part of a larger series published on a blog by the international NGO United Palestinian Appeal
Dr.Dinah Ayna, a Palestinian- American Clinical psychologist, living in Lebanon, initiated the project entitled ‘Life in the Heart of Death: Experiences of Mental Health Professionals under attack’. The project pivots around narratives of mental health professionals in Gaza, written in Arabic and translated to English by Dr.Aynah to document the stories of their days under attack, and to share those verge-to-death experiences as widely as possible.
This presentation aims, through a psychological lens, to illuminate the main areas of suffering experienced by the professionals, their families, and those in their circles, as well as explore coping strategies employed and uncover the adaptation processes devised to endure unfathomable circumstances.
This presentation thus aims to unveil some of the intricacies of human resilience and psychological survival in times of crisis.
By closely examining the narratives, light will be shed on the unique challenges faced by mental health professionals, who struggle with their profound emotional turmoil in wartime uncertainty. It will explore the various ways in which they created, discovered, or innovatively adapted the common coping mechanisms to transit the death-mined space of war.
Digging beyond the surface of the stories, and delving into the depths of the human psyche, where the complexities of trauma and resilience intertwine, the presentation strives to help in understanding these narratives, fostering a deeper comprehension of the human experience and paving the way for more nuanced therapeutic approaches that are contextually more relevant.

 PP17Defenses, emotional reactions, and fear of breakdown in time of war.

Yonit Shulman, Israel

Paper presentation

Title: 'It's a shame I was born in these times'- Fear of breakdown as the ground collapses

Key words: Psychoanalytic-psychotherapy children Winnicott Fear-of-breakdown Hope-against-hope War

'It's a shame I was born in these times', said my 11 years old patient, shortly before things escalated out of control. For some children, a background of multiple trauma, innate vulnerability, growing up in the shadow of world epidemic, culminating in the horrific events of October 7th in Israel, proves simply too much. As fear of breakdown (Winnicott, 1974) is being realized by an actual collapse, as trauma is re-experienced both inside and out, by the child herself as well as by the people around her and society as a whole, the fragile equilibrium, maintained by constant effort, breaks down and is lost. Escalation of symptoms and suffering may be dramatic and overwhelming. In the following paper therapeutic work in the shadow of these events is described. An active invitation of reality into therapeutic space is needed, as well as giving words to the unspeakable, creatively extending therapeutic holding network, acknowledging the breakdown of basic trust while standing firm on the ground still there. Holding on, survival and faith, as well as hope-against-hope (Sell, 2022), that is the resistance to despair in situations of hopelessness, are needed in order for these patients, lacking a stable psychic floor (Tustin, 1990), to regain solid ground and re-find their selves and their way. In the following paper these issues are discussed along with clinical vignettes.

Veronika Lukyanova, Germany

Paper presentations


Beyond Splitting and Depressive position: surviving in Times of War

Key words:

War-induced Splitting, Depressive position, War in Ukraine, Neutrality, Settings,

For the past two years, Ukrainians have been balancing between paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. The War took over our unconscious and consciousness, instilling a deep-seated fear and hatred towards anything associated with Russia, pushing us into a world of paranoia. Even years of analysis and professional experience do not help with it, which puts a new theoretical and practical challenge ahead of us. Maybe a War-induced split is just a normality? Perhaps it is time to reevaluate and normalize the phenomenon of the war-induced splitting towards the aggressor. Split primarily affects War-related reality, while a functioning depressive level is maintained in other parts of the everyday life of Ukrainians. There is nothing schizoid in taking the side of the victim and acknowledging the aggression and suffering, in contrast to the desire to hide under the neutrality umbrella while not acknowledging one's despair. One should not mistake a fight between internal objects in one's mind with the War just outside the window. In the latest, the strong Ethical background of Psychoanalysis could not allow us to ignore the act of unjustified violence. It became more pronounced in the past years while working with Ukrainians, whose feelings of safety and essential trust rely on the open position of the therapists whose side they are in. Nowadays, it is a defined part of psychoanalytic settings in Ukraine.

 PP18Being a stranger in one's family.

Paticia Poppe, Portugal

Paper presentation

Title: Group Analysis applied to Parents

Key words: Groups of parents, support for parenting, internal resources, emotional development, group analysis

The short-term group analytic intervention with groups of parents that has been developed and implemented by the author since 2014 will be presented. This approach is based on the concepts of Group Analysis, multifamily approaches and short-term analytic group psychotherapy.
The last years have been troubled times for families due to economic and health crisis. Besides the external aspects, in every family there are at some time internal difficulties. Most parents have trouble asking for help. The difficulties of parenting are often linked to their own past experiences and relationships, which are not conscious.
The group analytic setting is a privileged approach suited for understanding the origin of these difficulties that interfere with parenting as well as for supporting parents' personal and relational development.
In the safe space of the group, characterized by an atmosphere of confidentiality and acceptance and by the empathic and supportive role of the psychotherapist, each mother and father can express thoughts and feelings. Sharing and listening reduces shame and guilt. By feeling understood in their difficulties parents increase the ability to understand their children's needs.
Through the group experience, the internal resources that all parents have are mobilized. Parents discover for themselves how to resolve and prevent certain difficulties. After taking part in the group, they feel more peaceful and confident, the relationship with their children improves.
The group analytic principles and technique applied to this specific context will be analyzed and empirical results will be discussed.

Agnieszka Humięcka,  Poland

Paper presentation

Title: A family of strangers - transforming otherness into familiarity

Key words:family, stranger, space – sharing, internal racism

In my presentation I address the topic of building a new home and integrating a stranger into the family. The starting point for my considerations is the psychotherapeutic work with a family that, in addition to raising their biological children, has become a home for adopted children, as well as a foster family and a caretaker for wounded children who had to be abruptly taken away from their families. Having lost their homes due to neglect, conflicts - often full of violence and cruelty, these children enter a new family like refugees from conflict zones, saved from war, with psychological and often also physical wounds, with relational traumas, but also with the trauma of displacement, the loss of their home. The process of welcoming them into the family involves many challenges posed by contact with the other, a stranger. It activates one's dormant traumas and defences.
Accompanying the struggles of this complex family structure over many years, forms the backdrop of my reflections on welcoming the 'other' into one's home. I consider what conditions need to be in place for a painful tangle of fates to be transformed into a network of bonds on which one can rely and develop, to become a family, to share a common physical and mental space.
In my thinking about this family, I draw, among other things, on Bion's concepts, on described by Britton narcissistic problems in sharing space and on M. Fakhry Davids' concept of internal racism.

PP19Psychoanalytic work under fire.

Ruslana Rudenko, Ukraine

Paper presentations


In turbulent times: work, live, believe

Key words

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, children, adolescents, military, setting, Ukraine, war

When Russia's long-running war against Ukraine escalated into large-scale aggression across the country overnight, the lives of all Ukrainians were thrown into turmoil. But preserving the psychotherapeutic space proved to be a great challenge for psychoanalytic psychotherapists. How did we perceive this challenge and how did we change ourselves and change the psychoanalytic setting in order to keep safety space and trust, to remain a reliable objects of attachment for our patients. About all that and about dynamic  in short report.

Shulamit Geller, Eran Shadach, Einav Karniel, Israel

Paper presentation

Title: We entered under the stretcher* - group-analytic thoughts for a time of war.

Key words: Group analysis, collective trauma, glory, soldiers matrix, incohesion, setting.

3 speakers

Background: "The October 7th massacre profoundly changed Israel, introducing a level of pain reminiscent of historical atrocities as described by elders, involving invaders committing arson and murder, and soldiers executing civilians. This national trauma, deeply etched in collective memory, has been the subject of books and songs, commemorated and studied, yet its recurrence was unimaginable" (Itskovich, Haaretz 12.1.24).

Following these national tragedies, mental health professionals nationwide united to support impacted communities and peers, grappling with conveying the depth of such catastrophic experiences through words that often feel insufficient against the backdrop of profound grief and trauma.

Aim: Inspired by Freud's notion that writing is both a medium for expressing thoughts and a tool for stimulating thinking, this presentation seeks to explore the distinct role of group analysis. This approach suggests psychological difficulties stem from group contexts rather than just individual experiences, offering a means to deepen understanding and thought processes.

Method & Findings: By sharing personal vignettes from the initial two months following the massacre, we intend to illustrate the impact on therapists working in wartime contexts. We will explore how group-analytic principles—focusing on varied matrices, trauma, the concept of a soldiers' matrix—can enhance therapists' capacity to reflect on their work in practice (both individually and in groups), and their understanding of societal dynamics.

Discussion:  We'll show how these principles facilitated a shift from isolation to collective engagement, providing therapeutic benefits for both therapists and communities. This highlights group analysis's effectiveness in processing and containing collective trauma.

* A piece of IDF (army) jargon that encourages group effort in a collective endeavor.

 PP20In the name of the father: A Psychoanalytic and socio-cultural exploration of fathers' role.

Nicholas Jones, UK

Paper presentations

Title:Fathers, Daughters, Groups and Power: Gender and Authority in Turbulent Times

Key words:Groups; Authority; Gender; Sexuality; Transference/ Countertransference;

In recent years, crises of authority have materialised globally. This has been accompanied by fragmentations in established socio-poitical orders, which in Britain include Brexit; a subsequent plethora of failed governments; ongoing financial turmoil; sustained strike action across several sectors, which made the nation seem deadlocked; and in between, the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing social and communal life to a half across the globe.

In the midst of this, in April 2020 I began working as a group therapist within a London university, not long after Britain entered its first lockdown. All of these themes were alive in the group while the members, all university undergraduates, sought to navigate their own ordinary developmental processes as they entered their adult lives.

For a time one of these groups was nearly all female, and each brought with them complex experiences with their fathers. With myself as a male therapist, material around gender, authority, autonomy and sexuality became the predominant themes. This paper examines how such themes were navigated in the group, with a focus on transference and countertransference dynamics as they emerged and evolved.

I will be ending my work within the university this summer, and so as well as considering the group’s processes, this paper serves to pay homage to the group and its members, and as an act of gratitude for an experience which felt generative, creative and deeply human, over a period when such spaces seemed scarce.

Maciej Chodorek, Poland

Paper presentation


Becoming of Polish fathers

Key words:

father in Poland, fatherhood, family changes, psychotherapy for fathers, secure attachment, fathers in counselling centres

During my presentation, I will talk about the socio-cultural changes that have taken place in Poland over the past decades, resulting in the emotional involvement of many fathers in the care of their children. I will present how the relationship with and concern for the child has influenced fathers to reach out for psychotherapeutic help and under what circumstances they have appeared in some Warsaw family counselling centres.  I will talk about the first meetings for fathers: lectures, workshops, groups as a community, and the male experience. I will describe how group and individual psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic thinking can support fathers in building secure attachment. I will describe a mentalization-based program for working with parents called Lighthouse. I will conclude my lecture by citing research on the importance of the father's role.

 PP21Changes in identity during times of war.

Izabela Sawicka, Poland

Paper presentation


The large group as a herd and an object. Notes on "little differences" and defenses against fears in times of confusion and fear

Key words:

minor differences", schizo-paranoid position, identity, totalitarian state of mind, fragmentation of ego,  retreating to dual relations,asylum, unconscious heritage

I’d like to share some thoughts about the relationships and connections in the functioning of an individual and a group in the current world.
I take the social nature of the psyche as my starting point.
 Initially, I write about the internal processes that respond to the frustrations resulting from the contact of the Self with the Other ( from a person and a group perspective).
I refer to theories and ideas regarding an individual's early development that analyzes these processes. Starting from Z. Freud's theory of "minor differences", M. Klein's idea of the schizo-paranoid position and D. Winniccott's relational theories, I draw attention to the need to maintain a relationship in which the Self is distinguished from the Other in the process of building one's own identity. In this way of thinking, the existence of an "enemy" seems necessary to define and maintain one's identity.
Then I point out how certain processes between individuals find their expression in intergroup and social relations in the form of totalitarian states and ways of functioning.
Reflecting on the specificity of our times, I direct attention to the mechanisms and ways of coping with the overwhelming fear by an individual, as well as to the mechanisms used to maintain group identity.
I draw attention, among other things, to the mechanism of ego fragmentation, retreating to dual relations with an object, and the search for a safe asylum. And in the group plan, among others, totalitarian states of mind, biological concepts of sub-Darwinian authors (Trotter), and unconscious cultural heritage (Hooper). I give examples to illustrate some of these phenomena.

Luigia  Cresti, Isabella Lapi, Cristina Pratesi, Italy

Paper presentation

Title:Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy between Identity and Change

key words:Changes, new pathologies, non-interpretive therapeutic factors

What does it mean to be a psychoanalytic psychotherapist today? What kinds of problems and demands are we called upon to respond to? How are the psychoanalytic theoretical assumptions underlying our training translated into our clinical practice and what are the technical tools we can use at pre-sent moment?
Recent years have seen a succession of catastrophic events : the Covid 19 pandemic, with its unimaginable burden of suffering and death, the outbreak of the devastating wars that have erupted between nations close to us with their accompanying scenarios of destruction, the numerous natural disasters (earthquakes and floods), and the continuing maritime tragedies related to the phenomenon of migration. These events have fueled widespread feelings of fear, persecution and death anxieties, activating primary and undifferentiated states of the self. Moreover, this traumatic scenario has been embedded in a global context characterized by social, cultural, and economic major changes; under the pressure of environmental and social modifications, psychic distress has also taken on different contours and characteristics. In this age that Bollas (2018) has rightly called "the age of bewilderment," because of the strong and disorienting changes that have added up, the depth of the inner world and the sense of being a subject, the ability to tolerate psychic pain and process it, expelling it rather in a blind act, seem to be lost . All this leads to new psychic functioning and new pathologies, such as deficiencies in the construction and functioning of identity and symbolic capacities.
Thus, psychodynamic psychotherapy must deal with new pathologies in which psyche-soma are con-fused, thought does not organize but dissolves in the act, and removal gives way to dissociation. Deal-ing with these pathologies implies major modifications in theory and technique: for much of the symptomatology presented by present-day patients, it is not enough simply to interpret the unconscious re-pressed contents, according to a "classical" psychoanalytic model, but new readings of clinical phenomena and recourse to therapeutic functions other than the classical interpretative tools are required. In our opinion, those functions pertaining to non-interpretive therapeutic factors must be valued to the greatest extent: the relationship, made up of a participatory gaze and empathic listening to offer visual and sound containment; greater attention to the body, both of the patient and the therapist, as a vehicle of important meanings and messages; those micro-actions of the therapist, now recognized in their communicative value, sometimes alternative and more effective than verbal communication. Within this framework has emerged the new possibility of Distance Psychotherapy, using online communication, at first rarely used, then imposed by limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now recognized in its many opportunities.
The figure of the psychotherapist that emerges today, is that of an authentic psychotherapist, capable of always being in contact with the patient, "malleable" and at the same time rigorous in continually reflecting on technique and the clinic; the image of psychotherapy is that of a very open process that is adapted to the uniqueness and authenticity of the relationship that develops between the therapist and the patient.
Our message is a call for pliability and openness to change, and continuous research in European ex-change.

PP22Issues of refugees.

Niccolò Gozzi, Italy

Paper presentation


New settings to welcome migrant families fleeing from war

Key words

Families - War - Group - Thinking - Transgeneretional - Trauma

This paper will present a therapeutic group device that accommodated a three-generation family fleeing the Syrian war. The therapeutic work enabled the taking in and transformation of the symptoms that the various family members presented.
Through therapeutic and transformative thinking that embraced transgenerational aspects, the family ghosts that blocked the growth and vitality of the various members were processed.
The therapeutic setting provided for a multidisciplinary dimension with the presence of different professionals. Great attention was given to the possibility for the family to express themselves in their mother tongue.
 Child psychoanalysts, group psychoanalysts, anthropologists and mediators provided a group container capable of accommodating every family aspect, even the most traumatic, giving voice to the various ghosts present in the room.
The therapists' focus on counter-transference created a new narrative that facilitated the psychic emergence of internal aspects hitherto blocked by the trauma of war and exile.

Beata Maciejewska-Sobczak, Poland

Paper presentation:

Title:To Ithaca!  Psychoanalytic therapy of adolescent refugee/war migrant patients.

Key words:war, refuges, adolescents, illusion, losses, development

In my presentation I want to present clinical work with two adolescents who, as a result of the war, had to leave their homeland Ukraine and find themselves in a new place. This new place meant not only a geographical space, new cities in which to survive, but also a psychological space in which one has to face not only the trauma of war, loss, anger and helplessness, but also to find a place to live (Winnicott). Because my patients are adolescents, their developmental process has been overlaid by the experience of violent, painful separation from their homeland, colleagues and even their own family. I want to show how war has entered the patients' minds, linking to the adolescent developmental process and archaic parts of the psyche. I will consider whether and how the deep loss experienced by my patients can be elaborated. I will use the notion of the Winnicottian illusion to explore attempts to reclaim personal affect and seek a holding environment. For one of my patients, the new environment is an opportunity, a new beginning; for the other, it is a state of limbo in which a state of depression and a sense of powerlessness increasingly develops. Both experience a longing for Ithaca - the place they left, condemned to wander. Ithaca is not only a homeland, but also an inner state in which they felt embedded, and from which the war had violently torn them. But is it possible to return to Ithaca?

 POP1Autism, Symbiosis and transitional space, representation in "autistic-contiguous position".

Olha Mostova, Ukraine

Poster presentation


Autism, Symbiosis and transitional space, representation in "autistic-contiguous position".

Key words:

Autism , symbiosis

The report is devoted to clinical studies that allow us to understand the processes that take place in the construction of the human personality structure and the possibilities of personality transformation in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

M. Mahler, in particular in the work "The psychological birth of the human infant: symbiosis and individuation" (1975), initiated consideration of the personality structure from the formation of the Symbiosis-Autism phase in infants from birth. This became a prototype of the interaction of intrapsychic sensations (core self) with external, social representation (Ego).

These studies played a fundamental role in subsequent studies on the structure of personality, in particular P. Kernberg (1989).

Studies of symbiotic conditions (without emphasis on this) began to occupy more space compared to studies of autistic, both normal and pathological.

F. Tustin (books: 1972-1990) made a great contribution to the study and clinical application of autistic conditions.

These two key sources are combined by the research of T. Ogden, who in the work "The primitive edge of experience" (1989) described the "autistic-contiguous position", which occurs before schizoid-paranoid and depressive (M. Klein).

This position looks like a continuous process of searching for contact of the autistic "self" with the external "pro-maternal" matrix.

The action of "objects" is considered, as formations that allow materializing the hallucinatory nature of the imagination about the goal of the search. In this process, it is important to distinguish transitional, autistic, symbiotic objects.

Anaclitic depression at different ages is considered as the most serious failure in the process of interaction between the personal "self" and the social "Ego".

This knowledge allows for a more accurate understanding of the mechanisms of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

 POP2Assessment of the risk level of suicidal behavior among adolescents

Dawid Sołomianko, Poland

Poster presentation


Assessment of the risk level of suicidal behavior among adolescents

Key words

adolescent, suicidal, risk factors, group of risk, screening test

Parallel to the growing number of suicides among youth, is a need for screening test, that may be crucial in suicide prevention. Number of suicides is observed, where in 2021 more1496 suicidal attempts was made by people under 18 years, in 127 cases it ended by death (which is 77 % higher then year before). Problem is significant in small communities like schools, where suicidal thoughts may affect wider groups.
The aim of this research is to determine the level of risk of suicidal behaviour (thoughts, plans, attempted suicide) in adolescents in applicable use, specially designed for schools. The study group consisted 113 students (from Wołomin) in 16-19 and 90 with their parents.  The on-line method was used, based on the questionnaire, which consists of two parts, one of them was filled by parents (17 questions) and the second was written by students (24 questions). Questionnaire contained questions about suicidal thoughts, social isolation, the level of relationship with family and the effects of psychoactive drugs on the adolescents functioning. The research was extended to include some professional consultations in order to confirm the relevance of the activities carried out and teen outreach in the group of risk.
The research results indicate the presence of risk factors a little over 5% of the study population. It was demonstrated that awareness of risk among parents and teachers was hardly 1%. No significant correlation was found between taking psychotrop medicines by youth and suicidal thought. It is important to emphasize very low social awareness of described phenomenon same as growing number of cases.

POP3Embodied dynamics in short-term group interventions for adolescents: A psychoanalytic perspective.

Małgorzata Pięta-Lendzion, Poland

Poster presentation

Title:Embodied Dynamics in Short-Term Group Interventions for Adolescents: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Key words:Children and adolescents, embodied coordination, group psychotherapy, Wilfred Bion

Wilfred Bion's (1961) psychoanalytic intuitions, particularly his insights into group dynamics and the fundamental role of emotional experience in thought processes, offer a profound theoretical foundation for understanding the embodied coordination observed in group psychotherapy. Inspired by his intuitions, this research seeks to unravel the significance of embodied coordination in therapeutic settings.  Although our bodies are physically separate from others, our mental capacities enable social connections that are as crucial as the internal coordination within our own bodies (Marsh, Richardson, & Schmidt, 2008). Recent research indicates that physical connection between individuals plays a fundamental role in establishing social and emotional bonds.  (Richardson et al., 2007; Marsh, Richardson, & Schmidt, 2008). The movement coordination can be studied is psychotherapy, especially in its group form. In its individual form, interpersonal coordination of body movements, speech, physiology, and general nonverbal processes are linked to therapeutic alliance measures (Wiltshire et al., 2020).
This study aims to examine the importance of movement coordination patterns in group psychotherapy. Especially, we seek whether higher levels of movement coordination with psychotherapists correlate with greater involvement with group psychotherapy and increased trust in adults and peers. Additionally, it explores whether higher movement coordination correlates with feelings of being understood and supported by the psychotherapist. Preliminary analysis using Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) indicates that the group becomes more coordinated in movement over time. RQA determinism measures suggest that recurrent movement patterns become more systematic each day of therapy. Further analysis will investigate specific session dynamics and their relation to coordination metrics.
Bion's concepts of basic assumptions provide a lens to interpret the dynamic, often unconscious, interactions within therapeutic settings (Bion, 1961). This study's preliminary findings of increasing movement coordination over time align with Bion's idea that deeper emotional and cognitive connections are fostered through such interactions (Bion, 1962). Further research is needed to explore specific patterns of coordination and their clinical implications, building on Bion's framework to enhance therapeutic practices and outcomes (Bion, 1967).

SP8Psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Poland in the face of war and trauma.

Izabela Trybus, Poland


Challenges facing Polish psychoanalytic psychotherapists in the face of wars and war trauma

Key words:

trauma, war trauma, transgenerational trauma, humanitarian setting, decolonisation

Over the past three years in Poland, we have been very intensively engaging with the meaning of war, humanitarian crisis, and border crises. As therapists, we face overwhelming trauma from refugees as well as the aroused and unprocessed transgenerational trauma. Responses to such massive experiences vary. Some individuals decide to engage in humanitarian aid as well as conducting psychotherapy or therapeutic interventions in a humanitarian setting. This brings about new challenges for psychoanalytic psychotherapists in Poland who have been previously accustomed to working in a consulting room, dealing with patients' past traumas, and focusing on patients' inner worlds. Some therapists remain frozen, in denial, which is a known reaction to the horror of experiencing complex trauma. In my speech, I would like to look at the observed phenomena of therapeutic attitudes in Poland as well as refer to the challenges that psychoanalytic psychotherapists face in the face of a changing world. I am looking for an answer why we live in a world that resembles a psychological asylum in which we protect ourselves from the external reality, part of which includes ongoing wars, as if we had been free from contact with war trauma for the last 80 years.The presentation also relates to the increasingly discussed and undertaken concept of decolonizing psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. The impact of colonization on psychoanalytic thinking is an integral part that requires intense discussion.

Sabina Grzymowicz, Poland


On Borders and Boundaries: An attempt to find meaning in our social reality and the psychic reality of couples.

Key words:

borders, couple, narcissism, foreignness, refugee crisis;

The essay attempts to present the work of a couples psychotherapist and social issues regarding relations with immigrants and refugees.
I review the issues that bring couples into treatment. I make a distinction between "arguing couples" and "couples with emptiness". I show short vignettes of such relationships and discuss them referring to Ronald Britton's concept of narcissistic use of space. In his article, Britton wrote about the space of the analyst’s office shared by the patient/therapist couple. Following Mary Morgan, I apply this idea to the couple's relationship.
I think that the issue of attitude towards people representing different cultures, someone whom our "immune" system treats as an alien, is becoming a crucial topic in the context of climate change, wars and refugee crises caused by them. Foreignness has not only a geographical dimension, it is also a matter of readiness to meet on the borders. These issues seem important both in romantic couples and in multicultural societies.
I perceive quarrels, fights, struggles for values or emptiness, silence, and distance as couples' ways of regulating closeness, a litmus test showing how they deal with their shared space and the room they provide for their relationship. Similarly, societies facing an influx of outsiders may narcissistically remain in conflict with them, keep them isolated, or seek more mature ways of sharing the space.

SP9cross-talks between trauma and resilience in the post-covid era: Character pathology as a failed attempt for resilience.

IliasVlachos, Greece

Neurobiology of Early Life Trauma (ELT) and Emerging Character Pathology as a Wayward Attempt of Resilience or “Pseudoresilience”

Early Life Trauma (ELT) in the form of neglect, physical and sexual abuse has been associated with emerging psychopathology. Martin Teicher, Professor of Developmental Biopsychiatry postulated back in 2000 that ELTs shape the limbic system of the infantile brain in an attempt to adapt to a malevolent environment. Aggression and impulsivity may thus be viewed as early coping mechanisms of adaptation that go astray and become inflexible aspects of personality disorders when reaching adulthood. These neurobiological findings sound impressively akin to Klein’s object-relations theory: the schizoid-paranoid position signifies the annihilation anxiety of the infant as result of real or imaginary abandonment, eventually leading to retaliation towards the “bad breast”. Kernberg (1975) further suggested that “good” representations are threatened by failures in good caretaking leading to strong negative feelings of rage and hostility and the development of borderline psychopathology. Patients acquire an unstable sense of self and activate primitive defense mechanisms in an attempt to protect the split representations of self and others. Temporary problems in reality testing become apparent in the difficulty of determining what is real and what is imagined. Self-psychology, represented by Heinz Kohut (1971), gives emphasis on the caretaker’s attunement to the needs of the child and the role of empathic mirroring in emotional self-regulation. Trauma, a frequent occurrence of our post-Covid era both on individual and social/international level, disrupts and reverses the definition of a nurturing, empathic environment leaving people alone in coping with improvised means of adaptation and eventually ending up to pseudoresilience and the emergence of character pathology.

Key words: trauma, resilience,  neurobiology ,psychoanalysis, failed adaptation attempt, pseudoresilience, character pathology

Georgia Georgopoulou, Greece

Cross-talks between Trauma and Resilience in Psychoanalytic Literature
The deeper psychoanalytic approach of the psychological concept of resilience brings us face to face with the broad semantic range of the Freudian ideas on the “archaic”, regarding the quality of the subject - primary object relationship at the beginning of the psyche, which constitutes the crucial pathogenic agent. According to Green, the domineering presence of the primary object is consistent with attributing to it a fundamental power, that is omnipotence, dynamically involved in the trauma process. Bion perceives trauma as the abrupt discontinuation of mother-infant communication, that is between container - contained, through the collapse of the function-a of the mother. Early Life Trauma in the form of emotional neglect, physical or sexual abuse, bullying and mental illness of a family member have been associated to reduced adult resilience.   However, the successful mourning through a good-enough mother’s containing function according to Winnicott, and through the success of the process of the “depressive position” according to Klein, is prone to life and creativity. Ferenczi first, in 1930, drew interest in the so-called “resistant child” and the appearance of new abilities emerging from trauma. Therefore, the concept of resilience seems to be a process beyond the simple adjustment, which relates to the ability to survive. Freud, in his work: “Inhibitions, Symptom and Anxiety” in 1926 distinguishes the inherent trauma from the external traumatic conditions (e.g. war, pandemics, climate change etc). The different forms in which resilience emerges after a trauma, inherent or external, remain to be further investigated in this literature review.

WS14Autistic self as a basic part of personality. The self as a form of representation. Autistic, transitional and symbiotic objects as tools for interaction.

Olha Mostova, Ukraine


Title:Autistic self as a basic part of personality. The self as a form of representation. Autistic, transitional and symbiotic objects as tools for interaction.

Key words:Self, Autistic objects , transitional objects ,symbiotic objects

The main theses of the report:

Autistic self is a source of survival and sensory perception of inner reality, which is in interaction with a symbiotic object.This object by the feeding and meeting the child's needs,  forms its external representation the self.
In the metabolism between self and I, independent and dependent interests and fragments of self and object are involved, which are autistic, transitional, and symbiotic.
This process continues throughout a person's life. Psychopathology is associated with a violation of the transition of autistic objects into transitional and symbiotic ones. A special place in the severity of psychopathology is created by anaclitic depression, which, starting in the early period of life, remains the basis of a hopeless and joyless affect throughout life
A psychoanalytic psychotherapist performs the functions of a transitional object, which allows activating the process of transition of autistic objects or their fragments into transitional and symbiotic ones, which is the basis of treatment.

My proposal for the Workshop  :

One of the participants (N 1) asks the others what psychological qualities each of them wants to present. And everyone presents their quality.

N1 then distributes these participants to the following sections:

- the autistic core of selfies

- the surface of the Self, with the help of which he can experience symbiotic episodes in relationships with others.

- autistic objects

- transitional objects

- symbiotic objects.

 WS15Looking into the mirror is hard so let’s challenge internalized misogyny together! Women only group workshop.

Maria Puschbeck-Raetzell, Germany



Looking into the mirror is hard so let’s challenge internalized misogyny together! – A women only group workshop

Key words:

internalized misogyny, patriarchy, group analysis, cultural diversity

Critical thinking about sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny is not new but Sue Einhorn’s Foulkes Lecture in 2021 made it clear that group analysts and therapists need to reflect upon social structures and pressures undermining women’s ability to thrive and their sense of selves. ‘We are all co-participants in patriarchy and misogyny. It is the air we breathe’, stated Ronnie Levine in her response to the lecture. In this workshop, we would like to openly invite women from different cultural backgrounds to think further, in order

•    to explore everyday experiences of internalized misogyny
•    to get in touch with the hindering conscious and unconscious processes undermining non-stereotypical thinking,
•    to understand how internalized misogyny effects relationships between women,
•    to explore and better understand the cultural dimensions of patriarchy, of motherhood, of sisterhood, of how society relates to women’s bodies.

A GASi Special Interest Group (SIG) on “Challenging internalized misogyny” was initiated and started in April 2022. Currently, the group is in its second cycle of monthly online meetings. It important to continue this line of thinking and feeling since internalized misogyny is a topic that is often neglected and easily avoided. It is hard work to look into the mirror, but it gets easier when it is done together, come join the group!

Proposed format: Short opening of the presenter (max. 10 min) with the invitation to share and discuss day-to-day-phenomena as well as personal and professional experiences where internalized misogyny might play a role.

WS16Infant observation workshop: Infant observation in today's stormy times.

Monika Jakubowicz, Poland

Effie Lignos Greece

Simona Nissim, Greece

Piret Visnapuu, Estonia


Title:Infant Observation Workshop - "Infant Observation in Todays Stormy Times"

Key words:Infant Observation, training of child psychotherapists, primitive states of mind

Psychoanalytic infant observation is a vital component in the training of child psychotherapists and in some countries it is also included in the trainings of adult psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and clinicians of allied professions. Its usefulness to clinical work is well established worldwide, as it enables clinicians to conceptualise the nonverbal and implicit interactive processes, enhancing their capacity for perceptual and emotional receptivity. Following the infant’s emotional development within his/her family, the observers can develop 'empathic receptivity', as they unconsciously engage with primitive states of mind.
Since 2004 there is a special interest group within the EFPP. The infant obs. working party has been organising Infant Observation Workshops, while retaining a constant presence in nearly all EFPP Conferences, with the aim to promote space for reflection on the method of Infant Observation and its relevance to our clinical practice, to keep in touch with the different training applications and the new developments particularly in todays stormy times. Another task of the working party is to help countries or sections that do not yet include infant observation in their trainings to facilitate its implimentation.
The ongoing EFPP Infant Observation workshop is going to be in two parts: the first part will present the model of a seminar. A group of students, who are not previously acquainted with the material, will discuss an authentic observation together with an infant observation seminar leader. The group members come from different countries and will meet only for this special occasion. In the second part there is going to be discussion on the following themes:

The parallel processes between baby – parent – family dynamics and observer – seminar group members –seminar leader – group discussant.
The phantasies about nourishment and containment in the mother-baby relationship and the teacher-student context.
Containing infantile anxiety and unconscious phantasies in the group.
The need and the fear of being observed (baby-observer-members of the seminar group -seminar leader-group discussant.
Awareness of seminar group dynamics and their role in facilitating the learning process.

 WS17Stranger among us.

Silvia  Nürnberger, Germany


Title: Development of Trauma at Child Survivors of the Holocaust

Key words: Trauma, Child survivor, Holocaust, Separation, Development of Trauma, Psychosomatic consequences, processing, Relationship, Transgenerational transmission of Trauma

A view of psychoanalytical psychotherapist on development of people who were children during the period of World War II. So far almost no attention has been paid to the development of traumatized child survivors in Central Europe. The author initiated a research in this area on the basis of a questionnaire focused on the trauma itself but also on later development of personality, relationships and psychosomatic problems. This small research could be continued. Currently presenting results of observations and conclusions according the previous research. Also quotations from interviews represent a part of the presentation depicting experiences of child survivors from the point of view of the now already adult people in a lively way. The acknowledgment of the connection between the development of children´s traumatic experiences during after the WWII and the victims of the current war and violence conflicts shall be considered and applied in form of a digestive group discussion following the presentation

 PP23Working in turbulent times.

Basmat Klein, Israel

Paper presentation


"House in tornado" – The experience of home after the October 7th massacre

Key words:

Psychoanalytic theory, Domestic space, Place and Identity, Architecture

In this paper I will focus on representations of home, as they appear in the clinical setting, following the October 7th massacre in Israel. My aim of writing is to explore the way we think about our houses and experience them, both metaphorically and concretely, during this turbulent period.
The sights of the invasion into houses of citizens during the massacre to which many in Israel were exposed, either in person or by the media, created in many cases a traumatic reaction. This can be thought of as a stark representation of Freud's concept of the 'uncanny', where the safety of one's house suddenly turned into a site of nightmare and terror. The question how to restore an inner sense of safety is dominant in many therapeutic sessions at the present time.
Relying on psychoanalytic and architectural theories, along with clinical examples, I will suggest that attention to home images as they appear during a session, can be used as means of restoring an inner space of thinking and dreaming. In addition, I will refer to the house not only as a symbol, but also to the actual physical houses where we live and to the routine domestic actions performed in them, as important contributors in restoring a sense of holding and security.

Olena Sytnyk, Olena Kovtun, Ukraine

paper presentation

Title: Is there life after the end? Endless stories..

key words: playing/thinking under fire, war trauma, aliveness and  deadness, collapse between inner world and outside reality, migration and  separation, analytical frame as a container

The paper focuses on the survival of children's psychotherapies during the war time as well as the influence of war in Ukraine on the developing psyche of children.
The paper combines clinical cases with theoretical comprehension how children
and adolescents try to survive emotionally the traumatic life they have been going through.

The authors relate especially to the patients who have been severely traumatized and have got into the denial or paranoid/schizoid position which causes complex difficulties ( complications) in the therapy. Moreover, the authors contemplate the complex mental states of the patients who have lost all their hope and ability to tolerate their own vitality due to extreme traumas. Accordingly, the encounter between them and a therapist becomes the meaningful occurrence which helps retain their abilities to assimilate and integrate such a traumatizing experience.

PP24Banality of evil and support during traumatic situations.

Olena Sedelnikova, Ukraine

paper presentation

Title: “to remember the taste of war. Some thoughts about transgenerational   trauma. Clinical case”

key words: transgenerational trauma, unprocessed trauma, internal and external reality, war trauma, ancestors, figure from inner world, countertransference.

The paper uses a clinical example to show how old family traumas and war stories of ancestors have come into life in the current traumatic situation associated with the war in Ukraine.
The paper describes how a real traumatic situation of the war resonates with the patient's   internal world and object relationships. It examines how forgotten figures/objects of the inner world appear and how this manifests itself in transference/countertransference.The importance of working through and sorting out the internal world and external reality is emphasized.

Snezana Kecojevic Miljevic, Serbia

Paper presentation

Title: Psychodinamics in the act of mass "sibling" homicide - theory of the banality of the evil, mechanism of "doubling"and the sibling matrixng matrix

Key words: mass homicide, banallity of the evil, sibling matrix

In this paper ,we will try to shed light on the dynamics  of the tragic event that took place on May 3 last year in elite Belgrade elementary school,  when 13-year - old school student killed 11 people and wounded 6 of them : schoolmates, almost all of them were  girls,  the teacher and school guard. For reconstruction of the hypothetical dynamik sketch of the tragic event , we find relevant next teoretical support : Hannah Arendt"s theory of the banality of evil, the  R J Lifton"s "doubling mechanism", and Val Parker"s idea of the sibling matrix  We will also present some preliminary conclusions that we have reached by enganging psychosocial support for traumatized students, parents and teachers.

PP25Psychoanalysis, fairy tales, and artistic expressions.

Ravit Raufman, Israel

Paper presentation

Title: Psychoanalysis after October 7th: A Look Through the tale about the Wolf and the Kids

Key words: primary levels of mental organization, fairy tales, October 7th, folklore, fantasy and reality

This presentation merges two disciplines: psychoanalysis and folklore studies. It explores the affinity between the horrific events of October 7th in Israel and the folktale of the Wolf and the Seven Kids.
This discussion draws on previous studies, aimed at creating a clear, distinct picture of the way in which the mental entity is constituted in early childhood, by analyzing the archaic and universal tale about the wolf and kids, which appears in many cultural regions. Relying on this cross-cultural form, we demonstrated the way in which the mind learns to differentiate between right and wrong (useful and harmful), to protect itself, and to cope when its own primary defense fails.  
The events of October 7th provide this idea with additional meaning, as the fundamental boundaries between fantasy and reality were shattered and violated. A Clinical vignette serves to exemplify this idea.
This discussion serves as another example of the enduring relevance of fairy tales in both practical and mental life. Fairy tales echo the meeting point between fantasy and reality. The tale of the Wolf and the Kids sheds light on how the October 7th events reawakened our most primal anxieties – those related to the fundamental violation of law, order, home, and humanity.

Cristina Canzio, Italy

Paper presentation

Title:Psychotherapy and Artistic Expression
Key words:artistic expression-bridge function- emotional contents

The theme I present concerns the relationship between Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and artistic expression. What are the common particularities they share and how do they creatively manifest in the space-time that patient and therapist traverse together.
While art may not have a therapeutic purpose, it offers the possibility of making us observe and reflect on certain emotional contents and psychic mechanisms that inhabit us unknowingly, bringing to light a scenario where one's own experience between a "self" and the "external world" is represented, creating an area we could call an "intermediate" space.
The clinical case illustrates the "bridge function" performed by the introduction of a blank sheet of paper upon which colors are applied during therapy, functioning as a silent support through which various mental contents, generally unconscious, can be represented. In this way, they can acquire meaning and significance through the experience of their representation, hoping that silence takes shape and form until words can articulate their own.
I would also like to present a collective, social, and political artistic practice born in Argentina at the end of the dictatorship in 1983, known as the Silhouette, a human figure drawn on large posters raised during protests to demand  to the government uncover the fate and advocate for the appearance of the "disappeared" during the military dictatorship. This event was inspired by the work of the Polish artist Jarzy Skaspki in memory of the Nazi genocide in Auschwitz.

PP26On belonging, social trauma, and the tripartite matrix.

Marina Mojovic, Serbia

Paper presentation

Title:Transforming the Darkness of „Ganging“ Phenomena in  Group-analytic and Reflective Citizens Groups

Key words:ganging phenomena, transforming darkness, reflective citizens

Sequels of social trauma in our „stormy“ times are flooding  our lives in families, workplaces, neighborhoods, social media and in our therapy groups. Among others, “ganging” phenomena  are flourishing in various psycho-social areas. Since Kleinian psychoanalyst Herbert Rosenfeld (1971) described the internal mafia as aspects of the destructive narcissism, finding it very helpful in my psychoanalytic and group analytic work with difficult patients, I kept exploring these areas and presenting (Mojović, 2007, 2017). Learning to recognize forms of “ganging”, more or less visible, and endeavoring to transform into less destructive and stuck areas within the dynamics of psychotherapy groups, as well as in median and large analytic groups became significant experience. These new skills helped also in the Reflective Citizens Groups (Mojović, 2018,. The presentation will describe them, and offer vignettes.

Athena Marouda- Chatjoulis, Greece

Paper presentation

Title:Belonging through the lenses of Social Unconscious and Tripartite Matrix.

Key words:Belonging, symbolization, pathological potential space, social unconcius, ripartite foundation matrix, conflict generation

This paper addresses the way belonging can be discussed through the lenses of Social Unconscious and Tripartite matrix. We pose several questions that are related to the way social traumata and traumatogenic environments create a "pathological potential space", (Winnicott, 1971), where the process of symbolization of the individual’s inner world is attacked, distracting on one hand the individual’s narratives and on the other the individual’s ability to develop bonding and belongingness. Eroded by collective and social trauma, potential space loses flexibility and, instead of functioning as a space for creative problem solving, serves for splitting and projection (Applegate, 2013). Supported by the constructed narrative, a “we-they” splitting occurs and negative or unwanted attributes and blame is projected on to the “Other”. Ruth cannot be demonstrated for the “Other”, and thus, belonging is attacked leading to dehumanization and possible aggressive or violent behavior.

We propose that a culturally constructed symbolization of social traumata, when becomes central and dominant for the life of the group obstructs alternative symbolizations, influences the individual transpersonal processes formulating his social unconscious and his foundation matrices. ((Hopper, Weinberg, 2017, Hopper, 2023.) Even more, it is suggested that, by attacking linking processes and symbolization, a traumatogenic environment of a society which is in war, may create insoluble conflicts. Trangenerational stories, secrets, behavior and interpersonal pathologies are repeated unconsciously, driving people to live and imagine themselves either in war or as victims. Examples from people’s narratives being at war, as well as from people’s narratives from their parent’s experiences of Greek civil war and from today’s dialogues on ethnicity in the Greek cultural setting are given.

 PP27How do we work with refugees?

Dawid Sołominako, Poland

Paper presentation


Utilization of psychotherapeutic elements in helping with traumatic experience of war refugees. The material concerns the acceptance of the unacceptable, which ultimately leads to rejection and normalization.

Key words:

group, trauma, war, refugees, integration, hepl from specialists

 The presentation will describe my experiences as a member of a group of psychotherapists who aimed to organize assistance for refugees. These actions included setting up an individual consultation point for over 400 participants, process creating a group for specialists and institution staff. The presented description will be expanded to include what proved helpful and what was merely an attempt to stick to the familiar and safe. I will present the dynamics of emerging groups embedded in the realities of the struggle for survival, concerns, but also the effort to maintain our own capacity to accommodate. Social reactions from both groups welcoming refugees into their homes and cooperation with institutional structures will also be discussed.

When taken up on idea of helping refugees from Ukraine, in the first weeks after the outbreak of war in 2022, I was guided by the desire to help and offer our experience working in psychotherapeutic offices and counseling centers. With intention to create, with the help of familiar tools, something that would organize the chaos of unfamiliar people, and experiences their brought with. Ultimately, I also experienced helplessness, misunderstanding, often rejection, but it turned out to be the beginning of building a local community. The experiences presented describe the surprising process of encountering primal fear within myself. Remarkable strength created by opennes to incomprehensible newcomers from “another world”, allowing for the formulation of new, more adequate methods of collaboration with the unknown.

Katia Dudziak, Poland

Paper Presentation


Serving Through Trauma: Psychoanalytic Insights from Migration Assistance Work

Key words:

war, migration, groups, trauma, destabilization

The presented paper provides a description of selected experiences from my collaboration with organizations in Poland that offer assistance to individuals undergoing forced or voluntary migration, working as a psychologist, psychotherapist, and supervisor to a team of psychologists and counselors. I present the psychological challenges faced by both the recipients of assistance and the specialists, and analyze how these challenges affect the quality of services provided. The goal of the article is to explore the multi-level impact of trauma associated with migration on individuals, specialists, and the functioning of organizations as a whole. I draw on both professional and personal experiences as a migrant. I argue that while working with individuals affected by war and persecution (predominantly Ukrainians, Chechens, Belarusians among the aid recipients), I have observed the destabilizing effects of traumatic experiences on assistance organizations as a collective entity. As an illustration, I provide description of team collaboration, which, in my estimation, did not yield success. Drawing on my own professional experience and engaging in psychoanalytic reflection, I sought to demonstrate how the capacity for thought, emotional containment, and processing is compromised under the sway of traumatic events, affecting both aid recipients and providers, and to discuss the possible consequences of these mechanisms.

PP28Contemporary society and social withdrawal from clinical perspective.

Jacek Mądry, Poland

Paper presentation

Title: Perils of Contemporary Society in Clinical Perspective

Key words: Modern technology, Climate Crisis, Clinical aspects of technology, The dead mother complex, paternal function

Through a clinical lens, this paper explores how today's world impacts our mindset while working clinically with patients. It draws on a clinical vignette while making connections to how contemporary revolution in technology has become an heir to  André Green's concept of the dead mother. Exploring how the paternal function in the above mentioned complex becomes hindered this paper also draws on inspiration from Byung-Chul Han and his understanding of modern society and culture and sheds light on how the very core concept of psychoanalysis, the unconscious, becomes a concept that is too narcissistically familiar and in author's opinion blurs the essential otherness of it.

Yoshiya Ishikawa, Japan

Paper presentation

Title: Difficulty in Becoming an Adult: A case of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a Hikikomori Youth

Key words: hikikomori, social withdrawal, adolescence, psychic retreat,  containment, psychoanalytic psychotherapy

Many lives today are filled with virtual communication via the Internet and digital media that stimulates indulgence in fantasy worlds, giving rise to a tendency to avoid intimate relationships with others and thus withdraw into a narcissistic world.
    This contemporary social environment makes it difficult for young people to become adults with sense of their own identity. One example of such difficulties of young people is the hikikomori (social withdrawal) phenomenon. A hikikomori is a person who retreats into his/her own place for an extended period of time while not showing evident signs of overt mental disorder. This phenomenon was first described in Japan, but in recent years it has been observed not only in other East Asian countries, but also in European countries, such as France and Italy. Hikikomori, previously considered a “culture-bound syndrome”, is nowadays seen as a “modern society-bound syndrome” (Kato et al. 2019) or “a 21st century phenomenon” (Ranieri, 2018).
    This presentation will explore the challenges and therapeutic possibilities of working with hikikomori youth. The presenter introduces 14 years of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a hikikomori male patient who had experienced extreme tensions from going out at the beginning to finally attaining full-time employment. The patient often used somatization instead of experiencing emotions, and showed characteristics of psychic retreat (Steiner, 1993). Through containment and experience of the thirdness in the therapeutic situation, he was gradually able to experience his own emotions, renunciate omnipotence and take a step toward becoming an adult.

PP29Different models of therapeutic interventions.

Lida Anagnostaki, Theofania Antypa , Greece

Paper presentation

Title: A reflective narrative regarding the functioning of a ‘peer work discussion group’ in preschool education

Key words: work discussion groups, psychoanalytic peer groups, reflective narrative, changes as a reflection of financial limitations, early education

Following the tradition of Anna Freud, child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapists have closely collaborated with nurseries and preschools, often facilitating ‘work discussion works’, which offer a safe environment in which teachers can freely interact and explore conscious and unconscious emotions regarding the dynamics and relationships in the school. Although the effectiveness of ‘work discussion groups’ in preschools has been positively evaluated (regarding the psycho-emotional development of children, the prevention of difficulties, and the professional and personal development of the teachers), their widespread application is considered financially unaffordable. The present paper aims to present the function of a ‘work discussion group’ in preschool education as a ‘peer group’, that is with a preschool teacher as facilitator. To do so the facilator’s point of view will be presented in the form of a reflective narrative. A group consisting of six kindergarten teachers was formed which met for seven sessions. The group facilitator had received a short training in the theory of work discussion groups, had previously participated as a member in a similar group, was supervised and was undergoing personal analysis during the whole project. After each group meeting, she kept a reflective diary. The topics of the meetings’, the facilitator’s struggling to be seen as a peer, group dynamics, group development and the importance of supervision will be discussed as part of the thinking regarding the potential of establishing ‘peer work discussion groups’ in preschool education, expanding the application of psychoanalytic thinking in this age group and the educational milieu.

Paolo Cruciani, Italy

Paper presentation

Title: Common theoretical foundations for different models of therapeutic intervention and settings.

Key words:teoria - setting - storia della psicoanalisi

In recent times, given the development within the psychoanalytic scientific community of new lines of research and numerous new clinical practices, the question of a more accurate definition of the identity of psychoanalysis, as a clinical activity and as a theoretical discipline, has arisen with particular urgency.
The establishment of an “umbrella” like the FEPP has now made it possible to tackle the problem from a different point of view: finding a common theoretical and clinical basis to be able to legitimately conceive a solid element of identity on which to base the albeit different settings and areas of application envisaged by the component associations.
This task involves carrying forward a complex reflection on the psychoanalytic foundations of the different clinical practices in which psychoanalytic psychotherapy is articulated today. The work presented aims to be a contribution that makes use of the results of empirical, conceptual and historical research.
It is necessary to consider the different factors that have determined the formation of new ways of conceiving the clinic and, at the same time, have led to an expanded formulation of the same basic theory.
The diversification of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in various forms with various settings was produced by the stresses coming from the needs of new forms of psychic suffering taken into consideration - children, psychotics, groups etc. - and by the possibility of psychoanalysis to develop its potentiality as a general theory of psychic processes, development and therapeutic relationships. The history of psychoanalysis provides us with many examples of processes of this kind some of which will be examined.
The study of the process that produced the affirmation of different modes of therapeutic intervention can help to more clearly define the identity of psychoanalysis at a theoretical level and to facilitate the possibility of reaching a vision that integrates the various models in a unitary conception of psychotherapy.

PP30Working with groups in turbulent times.

Ewa Bąk, Poland

paper presentation


Group in the world – the world in the group

Key words:

group dynamic, individual and social processes, group processing of fear

I would like to share my observations and reflections from the analytical group I lead. Our work began at the end of COVID-19 lock down and is still ongoing to this day. Over the last years the dynamics and intensity of global socio-political events has forced the patients in the group to face challenges which impacted them significantly and were impossible to overlook and keep quiet about.
Despite the patients’ desire to remain isolated and sheltered from the global unrest, the current world events were present at nearly every session, which indicated it was crucial to recognize the group’s position in that world.
Basing, among others, on the analytical concepts of the group matrix, the relation between the individual and the social and the experiences from the time spent in the group, as well as Bion’s concept of basic assumptions, relation of contained – containing and learning from experience, I will attempt to retrace the analytical group’s process of development and the evolving ability to recognize, accommodate and dissect fear as one of the main aspects of experiencing the modern world.

Michal Porat, Israel

Paper presentations

Title: Between a Small Group, a Large Group, and Performance: Therapeutic Intervention in the Kidnapped Square of October 7th

Key words:grout analysis theory, small group, large group, performance, rituals, ceremonies, October 7the

After the massacre of October 7th in Israel, the families of the kidnapped began to gather regularly in a square in Tel Aviv that became known as the Kidnapped Square. The square embodies the families' struggle to have their loved ones returned.

The activity described here is the facilitation of group processes within the framework of the Primary Emotional Support Association (PES). I identify the theoretic and clinical principles of this activity, which includes aspects of small group, large group, and performance.

The unique nature of the activity, which stems from the unique nature of the situation, seemingly breaks the familiar setting of group therapy in its formal sense. It is in constant mutual interaction with the large group that exists and operates outside the work group, which is composed of the public that occupies the square. For example, the eventuation takes place outdoors, with constant interplay between participants and observers, between a small group and a large group.

Through three case studies, I will discuss the specific relationships that occur between the small group and the large group, as well as the performative qualities and their contribution to the therapeutic process. The occurrence in the square is based on rituals and ceremonies, and the blurring of the boundaries between stage and audience.

The concept of performance serves me to discuss the contribution of the aesthetic aspect to the therapeutic process.