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Strotzka, H. (1982). Helsinki Congress—A Letter to the President of the IPA. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:392-392.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:392-392

Helsinki Congress—A Letter to the President of the IPA

H. Strotzka, M.D.

Dear Mr President,

On reading the issue of the Journal 63/1 which printed the proceeding of the International Congress in Helsinki 1981 I was surprised to see that my contribution at the evaluation meeting was omitted.

To refresh your memory, I commented at the beginning of the meeting, in German, that I did not share in the general euphoria over the scientific quality of the discussion. It seemed to me that what we heard was the same discussion we have been hearing for these past 20 years between Kleinians and non-Kleinians. The only progress apparent to me was that communication between these two groups has improved. One of the main speakers shared my view.

I then went on to say that what I found missing at this meeting was a thorough discussion of the survival of the IPA. Psychoanalysis is currently threatened by the Scylla of many competing 'therapies' on one hand, and the Charybdis of dwindling private clientele on the other. I also drew attention to the ethical lag in psychoanalysis today. Psychoanalysis remains a primarily theoretical and technical therapeutic endeavour, and not a patient-centred treatment. Much too little attention has been paid to changing goals and values in our society, which necessitate a changing ethic.

Dr Edward Joseph, the immediate Past President, side-stepped these apparently awkward issues by saying they belonged in the context of the business meeting. I cannot agree. These are theoretical and political questions, which must be dealt with if psychoanalysis is to survive in our changing world. The Programme Committee for the next meeting should see to it that these vital issues are adequately discussed.

I would rather refrain from theorizing about the possible reasons behind the omission of my comments, but would appreciate publication of this letter in the International Journal.

Yours

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