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(2018). Summary of Couple and Family Presentations: International Psychoanalytical Association 50th Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina 25-29 July 2017. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 8(1):91-94.

(2018). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 8(1):91-94


Summary of Couple and Family Presentations: International Psychoanalytical Association 50th Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina 25-29 July 2017

Reported by:
Shelley Nathans, Ph.D.

The International Psychoanalytical Association's (IPA) 50th Congress, held in July, 2017, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, offered an exciting array of presentations on psychotherapy with couples and families. The people of Buenos Aires have a long and rich appreciation for psychoanalysis. Some say that there are more people in analysis, per capita, in Argentina than anywhere else in the world. This popular familiarity can be felt in a variety of settings: cabdrivers who ask if you are a Kleinian or Lacanian analyst; bookstores on the streets that display psychoanalytic titles; and everyday people who proudly claim the number of years they have spent on the couch. As in many South American countries, family life and relationships hold a special importance in the culture, and these values have been incorporated into a great deal of Argentine psychoanalytic theory. As distinct from the American and British psychoanalytic traditions, the analysis of couples and families has long been integrated into Latin American psychoanalytic theory and training. More recently, link theory, a psychoanalytic theory developed in Latin America, has gained international recognition. This theory emphasises the dialectic between internal representations and the external world, including its social and cultural aspects. Link theory highlights the importance of the other as a unique subject, rather than simply as an internal representation, and places the role of the links between others as central to psychic life, all of which highlights the value of understanding the dynamics of relationships, including couples and families. Given this rich cultural and theoretical context, it seemed particularly fitting to participate in the presentations at the congress that focused on couples and families. Below, I offer summaries of the exciting and varied presentations that were offered by clinicians from around the world, (including two to which I contributed) some from the Pre-Conference on Family and Couple Psychoanalysis, chaired by David Scharff, and some from the regular IPA programme.

The construction of intimacy: the primal triangle—mother, father, baby

Presenter: Diana Norsa, Discussants: Karen Proner and Bjorn Salmonsson

In this very interesting paper, Diana Norsa emphasised the ways in which unconscious difficulties in the couple may impact parenting.

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