What is the British Psychoanalytical Society?


The British Psychoanalytical Society was founded by the British neurologist Ernest Jones as the London Psychoanalytical Society on 30 October 1913.

It is one of two organisations in Britain training psychoanalysts, the other being the British Psychoanalytic Association.

The society has been home to a number of important Psychoanalysts, including Wilfred Bion, Donald Winnicott, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein. Today it has over 400 members and is a member organisation of the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Establishment and Name

Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud, and much of the early work on Psychoanalysis was carried out in Freud’s home city of Vienna and in central Europe. However, in the early 1900’s Freud began to spread his theories throughout the English speaking world. Around this time he established a relationship with Ernest Jones, a British neurosurgeon who had read his work in German and met Freud at the inaugural Psychoanalytical Congress in Salzburg. Jones went on to take up a teaching post at the University of Toronto, in which capacity he established the American Psychoanalytic Association.

When Jones returned to London, he established the society in 1913, as the London Psychoanalytical Society. The society had 9 founding members including William Mackenzie, Maurice Nicoll and David Eder. Almost immediately, the society was caught up in the international controversy between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Many of the society’s membership were followers of Jung’s theories, although Jones himself enjoyed a close relationship with Freud and wished for the society to be unambiguously Freudian. Jones had joined Freud’s Inner circle in 1912, and helped to oust Jung from the International Psychoanalytical Association.

However, the outbreak of World War One in 1914 meant that the nascent society, which depended heavily on correspondence with psychoanalysts in Vienna, then part of Austria-Hungary, had to be suspended. There were a few informal meetings during the war, but these became less and less frequent as the war went on.

In 1919, Ernest Jones re-founded the society as the British Psychoanalytical Society, and served as its President. He took the opportunity to define the society as Freudian in nature, and removed most of the Jungian members. With the help of John Rickman, the society established a clinic and a training arm, known as the Institute of Psychoanalysis.

Interwar Years

In the 1920s, Ernest Jones and the society grew increasingly under the influence of Melanie Klein. Jones was inspired by her writings to develop several of his own psychoanalytical concepts. In 1925, Klein delivered a series of talks at the society on her theories. Klein’s work was well received in London, but it attracted increasing controversy on the continent, where the majority of psychoanalysts were still based. Realising that her ideas were not warmly received at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute, where Klein was based, Jones invited her to move to London, which she did later in 1925.

The rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and later in Austria, led to increasing numbers of German and Austrian Psychoanalysts fleeing to London, where they joined the burgeoning society. By 1937, 13 out of 71 members were refugees from Europe. Ernest Jones personally intervened to bring Sigmund Freud and his daughter, Anna Freud, to London. In 1938, Sigmund Freud wrote to Jones:

“The events of recent years have made London the principal site and center of the psychoanalytical movement. May the society carry out the functions thus falling to it in the most brilliant manner.”

By the start of the second world war, 34 out of 90 members were emigres from the continent.

However, the assimilation of so many prominent Psychoanalysts from continental Europe created tensions. The huge difference in the approaches of Anna Freud and Melanie Klein led to the development of several factions. Increasingly, presentations of papers at the society became thinly veiled attacks on opposing factions theories. For example, in March 1937 Melitta Schmideberg (Klein’s daughter) presented her paper: “After the Analysis – Some Phantasies of Patients”, which viciously attacked almost all of Klein’s ideas, though it did not mention her by name.

The views of the different Psychoanalysts: Kleinian, Freudian, and those who were not affiliated with either, led to increasing dysfunction, and things became so bad that a specific committee had to be established to deal with the problem.

The ‘Controversial Discussions’

By 1942, relations between the factions within the society had become so heated that a committee had to be convened to facilitate monthly discussions on the scientific nature of the society. The committee was chaired by three members of the society, each representing one of the major factions:

  • James Strachey: A member of the British Independent Group.
  • Marjorie Brierley: An ally of Melanie Klein.
  • Edward Glover: Who identified as ‘pure Freudian’, in opposition to Melanie Klein. Glover resigned from the society in 1944, along with several other Freudian psychoanalysts.

After heated debate, the committee resolved to a “gentleman’s agreement” – which ensured that each faction would have equal representation within all committees within the society. It was also agreed that training of future psychoanalysts at the institute would be organised into two pathways: one Kleinian, and one Freudian.

After World War Two

With the resolution of the controversial discussions, the society became dominated by independent psychoanalysts such as Donald Winnicott, Michael Balint or Wilfred Bion.

The Society Today

Through its related bodies, the Institute of Psychoanalysis and the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis, it is involved in the teaching, development, and practice of psychoanalysis at its headquarters at Byron House, west London. It is a constituent organisation of the International Psychoanalytical Association and a member institution of the British Psychoanalytic Council.

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What is the International Psychoanalytical Association?


The International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) is an association including 12,000 psychoanalysts as members and works with 70 constituent organisations.

It was founded in 1910 by Sigmund Freud, from an idea proposed by Sándor Ferenczi.

Brief History

In 1902, Sigmund Freud started to meet every week with colleagues to discuss his work, thus establishing the Psychological Wednesday Society. By 1908 there were 14 regular members and some guests including Max Eitingon, Carl Jung, Karl Abraham, and Ernest Jones, all future Presidents of the IPA. The Society became the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society.

In 1907 Jones suggested to Jung that an international meeting should be arranged. Freud welcomed the proposal. The meeting took place in Salzburg on April 27, 1908. Jung named it the “First Congress for Freudian Psychology”. It is later reckoned to be the first International Psychoanalytical Congress. Even so, the IPA had not yet been founded.

The IPA was established at the next Congress held at Nuremberg in March 1910. Its first President was Carl Jung, and its first Secretary was Otto Rank. Sigmund Freud considered an international organisation to be essential to advance his ideas. In 1914 Freud published a paper entitled The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement.

The IPA is the international accrediting and regulatory body for member organisations. The IPA’s aims include creating new psychoanalytic groups, conducting research, developing training policies and establishing links with other bodies. It organises a biennial Congress.

Regional Organisations

There is a Regional Organisation for each of the IPA’s 3 regions:

  • Europe:
    • European Psychoanalytical Federation (or EPF), which also includes Australia, India, Israel, Lebanon, South Africa and Turkey.
    • The IPA is incorporated in England, where it is a company limited by guarantee and also a registered charity.
    • Its administrative offices are at The Lexicon in Central London.
  • Latin America:
    • Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies of Latin America (or FEPAL).
  • North America:
    • North American Psychoanalytic Confederation (or NAPSAC), which also includes Japan and Korea.

Each of these three bodies consists of Constituent Organisations and Study Groups that are part of that IPA region. The IPA has a close working relationship with each of these independent organisations, but they are not officially or legally part of the IPA.

Constituent Organisations

The IPA’s members qualify for membership by being a member of a “constituent organisation” (or the sole regional association).

  • Argentine Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Argentine Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Australian Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Belgian Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Brasília Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of São Paulo.
  • Brazilian Psychoanalytical Society of Porto Alegre.
  • Brazilian Psychoanalytical Society of Ribeirão Preto.
  • British Psychoanalytic Association.
  • British Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Buenos Aires Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Canadian Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Caracas Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Chilean Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Colombian Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Colombian Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Contemporary Freudian Society.
  • Cordoba Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Croatian Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Czech Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Danish Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Dutch Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Dutch Psychoanalytical Group.
  • Dutch Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Finnish Psychoanalytical Society.
  • French Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Freudian Psychoanalytical Society of Colombia.
  • German Psychoanalytical Association.
  • German Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Hellenic Psycho-Analytical Society.
  • Hungarian Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Indian Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.
  • Israel Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Italian Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Italian Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Japan Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies.
  • Madrid Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Mato Grosso do Sul Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Mendoza Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Mexican Assn for Psychoanalytic Practice, Training & Research.
  • Mexican Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Monterrey Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Norwegian Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Paris Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Pelotas Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Peru Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Polish Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Porto Alegre Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Portuguese Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Psychoanalytic Centre of California.
  • Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California.
  • Psychoanalytic Society of Mexico.
  • Psychoanalytical Association of The State of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Recife Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Rio de Janeiro Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Romanian Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Rosario Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Spanish Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Swedish Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Swiss Psychoanalytical Society.
  • Uruguayan Psychoanalytical Association.
  • Venezuelan Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

Provisional Societies

  • Guadalajara Psychoanalytic Association (Provisional Society).
  • Moscow Psychoanalytic Society (Provisional Society).
  • Psychoanalytic Society for Research and Training (Provisional Society).
  • Vienna Psychoanalytic Association.

Regional Associations

  • American Psychoanalytic Association (“APsaA”):
    • This is a body which has in membership societies which cover around 75% of psychoanalysts in the United States of America.
    • The remainder are members of “independent” societies which are in direct relationship with the IPA.

IPA Study Groups

“Study Groups” are bodies of analysts which have not yet developed sufficiently to be a freestanding society, but that is their aim.

  • Campinas Psychoanalytical Study Group.
  • Centre for Psychoanalytic Education and Research.
  • Croatian Psychoanalytic Study Group.
  • Fortaleza Psychoanalytic Group.
  • Goiania Psychoanalytic Nucleus.
  • Korean Psychoanalytic Study Group.
  • Latvia and Estonia Psychoanalytic Study Group.
  • Lebanese Association for the Development of Psychoanalysis.
  • Minas Gerais Psychoanalytical Study Group.
  • Portuguese Nucleus of Psychoanalysis.
  • Psychoanalytical Association of Asuncion SG.
  • South African Psychoanalytic Association.
  • Study Group of Turkey: Psike Istanbul.
  • Turkish Psychoanalytical Group.
  • Vermont Psychoanalytic Study Group.
  • Vilnius Society of Psychoanalysts.

Allied Centres

“Allied Centres” are groups of people with an interest in psychoanalysis, in places where there are not already societies or study groups.

  • Korean Psychoanalytic Allied Centre.
  • Psychoanalysis Studying Centre in China.
  • Taiwan Centre for The Development of Psychoanalysis.
  • The Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies of Panama.

International Congresses

The first 23 Congresses of IPA did not have a specific theme.

  • 1965: Psychoanalytic Treatment of the Obsessional Neurosis.
  • 1967: On Acting Out and its Role in the Psychoanalytic Process.
  • 1969: New Developments in Psychoanalysis.
  • 1971: The Psychoanalytical Concept of Aggression.
  • 1973: Transference and Hysteria Today.
  • 1975: Changes in Psychoanalytic Practice and Experience.
  • 1977: Affects and the Psychoanalytic Situation.
  • 1979: Clinical Issues in Psychoanalysis.
  • 1981: Early Psychic Development as Reflected in the Psychoanalytic Process.
  • 1983: The Psychoanalyst at Work.
  • 1985: Identification and its Vicissitudes.
  • 1987: Analysis Terminable and Interminable – 50 Years Later.
  • 1989: Common Ground in Psychoanalysis.
  • 1991: Psychic Change.
  • 1993: The Psychoanalyst’s Mind – From Listening to Interpretation.
  • 1995: Psychic Reality – Its Impact on the Analyst and Patient Today.
  • 1997: Psychoanalysis and Sexuality.
  • 1999: Affect in Theory and Practice.
  • 2001: Psychoanalysis – Method and Application.
  • 2003: Working at the Frontiers.
  • 2005: Trauma: New Developments in Psychoanalysis.
  • 2007: Remembering, Repeating and Working Through in Psychoanalysis & Culture Today.
  • 2009: Psychoanalytic Practice – Convergences and Divergences.
  • 2011: Exploring Core Concepts: Sexuality, Dreams and the Unconscious.
  • 2013: Facing the Pain: Clinical Experience and the Development of Psychoanalytic Knowledge.
  • 2015: Changing World: the shape and use of psychoanalytic tools today.
  • 2017: Intimacy.
  • 2019: The Feminine.
  • 2021: The Infantile: Its Multiple Dimensions.


In 1975, Erich Fromm questioned this organization and found that the psychoanalytic association was “organized according to standards rather dictatorial”.

In 1999, Elisabeth Roudinesco noted that the IPA’s attempts to professionalize psychoanalysis had become “a machine to manufacture significance”. She also said that in France, “Lacanian colleagues looked upon the IPA as bureaucrats who had betrayed psychoanalysis in favour of an adaptive psychology in the service of triumphant capitalism”. She wrote of the “IPA[‘s] Legitimist Freudianism, as mistakenly called “orthodox” “. Among Roudinesco’s other criticisms, was her reference to “homophobia” in the IPA, considered a “disgrace of psychoanalysis.

On the other hand, most criticisms laid against the IPA tend to come from a 1950s Lacanian point of view, unaware of recent developments, and of the variety of schools and training models within the association in recent decades. One of the three training models in the IPA (the French Model), is mostly due to Lacan’s ideas and their perspectives regarding the training.