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Jools, P. Freeman, B. (2019). The Congress and the Confluence: Thoughts on the AIPCF Congress, Lyon, France, 26-28 July, 2018. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 9(1):90-93.

(2019). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 9(1):90-93


The Congress and the Confluence: Thoughts on the AIPCF Congress, Lyon, France, 26-28 July, 2018

Penny Jools, Ph.D. and Brad Freeman

The International Association of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis (AIPCF) Eighth International Congress was held in 2018 in Lyon, France, in the Catholic University (a newly converted building from the old Saint-Paul prison), near the confluence of two great rivers, the Saône and the Rhône.

Three themes underpinned the “Argument” (“Couple and family history and stories in couple and family psychoanalysis”) for the Congress: the notion of technique in relation to the “here and now” vs “historical reconstruction”, the nature of trauma transmitted intergenerationally, and the importance of the couple and family sustaining a “negative capability” in order for the therapy to evolve creatively.

There were three strands to the congress programme: multilingual plenary sessions, bilingual round tables (in ten parallel sessions each day) and ten discussion groups held on the first and second days. The speakers for the plenary sessions and the respondents were mostly members of the scientific or administration committees of the AIPCF. Papers for the “round tables” were solicited to fit into one of the themes of the congress. Over the three days there were nineteen plenary sessions, ninety papers presented in a round table format, and ten discussion groups. The congress was well attended with over 300 participants, from many countries, although clinicians under the age of forty years seemed scarce.

As participants, its stated themes were less apparent to us than four theoretical tributaries: a slow steady undercurrent of object relations theory, a cross current of notions of attachment-informed observation, the choppy gaze of Lacanian meta-frameworks, and a powerfully emerging stream, that seemed to pour over all, stemming from Pichon-Rivière's link theory.

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