POSTCARD FROM BERLIN: CLEOPATRA VICTORIA, MFT
Remembering, Repeating and Working Through
International Psychoanalytical Association, 45th Congress, July 2007
In the 20s and 30s, Berlin was the hub of analysis, thanks to Karl Abraham's Berlin Psychoanalytical Association, but then came the Nazi takeover, the burning of Freud's writings, and the forced dispersion of Jewish analysts. This IPA meeting held in Berlin for the first time, is a historic occasion. And very intense! 2,800 attendees and 270 candidates from all over the world...Mexico, Lebanon, India, Holland, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Russia, Korea, Israel and more.
It's Hollywood on the Wall with all the major rock stars...Ferro, Butler, Solms, Green, Britton, Fonagy, Mitriani and La Planche, and a few of our local rock stars presenting, like Samuel Gerson who swept up the Hayman Award for best Holocaust paper, and Jean Wolff Bernstein. Lectures on everything from neuropsych to the repetition compulsion. Andre Green sniffs at neuropsych and the audience applauds. Smoke everywhere and you still can't get decaf in Europe. IPSO, the International Psychoanalytic Studies Organization, representing IPA institute candidates and its dinner dance party on the River Spree — sauerkraut anyone?
I attended a workshop based on work of The European Psychoanalytic Federation which has categorized six analytic interventions. When your patient says, 'I went to the carnival', and you echo back 'carnival', you are jiggling the unconscious, and it is a typically a French analyst's intervention. When you make a here-and-now transference intervention, you are behaving as a British analyst likely would.
There are two Berlin psychoanalytic societies and they embody the split between the East and the West. Berlin is full of trees and parks, but the Eastern European countenance is constrained...everyone is still remembering and hopefully, working through. The mood is dark. The shadow of the Wall still falls. John Steiner discussed a patient who worried that his analysis would cause an earthquake, and his hope that by the end of treatment, the earthquake might turn out to be a minor crack.
Cleopatra Victoria, MFT