Ripples Across the Pond – U.S. Interest in the College

On 29th. May 2004 an article by D.D. Guttenplan was published in The New York Times under the heading:

Calling All Ids: Freudians at War

The article poses the important question who owns psychoanalysis? and, in this connection, goes on to relate the formation of The College in the UK and its opposition by BPAS. Indeed, in bringing the attention of American readers to what is going on in the UK, these are the only two British professional organisations referred to and named. Interesting and helpful contributions to the argument by College members Susie Orbach, Joseph Schwartz and James Barrett are referred to in the article. A significant statement is the suggestion by the writer of the article thatthe arguments and outcome of this “dispute” are likely to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic. The article ends with the sobering commentary that the arguments initiated by The College have a sense of urgency because, in the view of the writer, psychoanalysis in the UK is likely to be regulated within the next few years. The writer goes on to suggest that lists and standards will be drawn up in the UK and that battle lines are forming here about who will set those standards and who will keep those lists.

The article was also reproduced in the International Herald Tribune on 2nd. June 2004 under the heading:

A clash of egos among British analysts

In a world which is dominated by the USA in so many areas, it is gratifying that the centre of gravity for the world of psychoanalysis remains firmly rooted in Europe and in the UK in particular. The writer of the above article amusingly acknowledges that there may be a higher concentration of therapeutic couches per square mile in Northwest London than on the Upper West Side of Manhattan!

Although the formation of The College has started new and important ripples in our professional pond, it is interesting that the first public recognition of those ripples has come from the other side of the Atlantic, where there seems to be an open acknowledgment of the profound effect the debate commenced in the UK will have in the USA. This is surely a recognition of just how powerful those ripples are. Let us hope that this will now lead to open and public debate in the UK and particularly in the discussions which are now being invited on this website in the Professional Forum. Here, there is a valuable facility for practitioners of all persuasions within the psychoanalytic spectrum to have their say. This is what The College is all about. Our primary purpose is not involvement in professional politics but rather the advancement, through open and public discussion, of the discipline of psychoanalysis: in an atmosphere of mutual respect, open to all bona fide contributors and not just those who belong to some cosy club.