IFPS History

The IFPS Ideology

The IFPS is committed to the concept of pluralism in psychoanalysis as well as to the interdisciplinary exchange in matters of micro- and macro-social interest. Complete organizational and scientific autonomy as well as equal standing of all Member Societies are essential preconditions to the federation.

Background History

The International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies (IFPS) was founded in Amsterdam on July 30, 1962.
The Founding Societies were:

·        Deutsche Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft (German Psychoanalytical Society)
·        Sociedad Psicoanalitica Mexicana A.C (Mexican Psychoanalytiocal Society)
·        Wiener Arbeitskreis für Tiefenpsychologie (Vienna Working Circle for Depth Psychology; now: Austrian Arbeitskreise for Psychoanalysis)
·        The William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society, New York

The promoter was Erich Fromm, the founder of the Mexican Psychoanalytic Society, who had strong connections to New York and to Germany. As a consequence of his many disappointments in regard to psychoanalytic organisations, in 1956 he began to reflect on an independent international non-bureaucratic psychoanalytic association. He found a sympathetic listener in Werner Schwidder from Göttingen, who wished to overcome the post-World War II isolation of the German Psychoanalytic Society (DPG).

After the war the DPG, which had been founded in 1910 and which later was involved into the political system of Nazi Germany, was reconstituted anew. In 1950, however, its application to rejoin the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) was rejected: The DPG was accused of having sold out Freudian ideas and ideals to the Nazi ideology.

When Schwidder became president of the DPG, he tried to establish new international contact. Fromm encouraged him to contact the William Alanson White Society in New York, and Schwidder, hoping for an alliance supportive of analytic “freedom of speech”, promoted a first open international psychoanalytic meeting. It took place in Amsterdam in the summer of 1960, and in 1962 the First International Forum of Psychoanalysis was held also in Amsterdam.

A number of prominent analysts had agreed to participate in the first Forum, among them Franz Alexander, Herbert Binswanger, Médard Boss, Igor Caruso, Fromm, Martin Grotjahn, René Laforgue, Jack Millet, Sándor Rádo, Raoul Schindler, Schwidder, René Spitz, Edith Weigert, and many others. On this occasion a new “Arbeitsgemeinschaft” for promoting a free discussion of psychoanalytic theory and practice, later named IFPS, was founded at a meeting between Igor Caruso from Austria, Erich Fromm, Werner Schwidder, and Gerard Chrzanowski from the U.S. – Sándor Rádo, representing the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and its exclusive medical psychoanalysts’ policy, withdrew from participation in the organization of the Federation.

According to the statutes the IFPS is committed to the concept of pluralism in psychoanalytic interdisciplinary exchange in matters of micro- and macro- social interest.

Since 1962, the Forum has been held every four years. In nearly four decades, the IFPS organized 18 international Fora and 8 Scientific Conferences. The number of member societies has risen to more than 20, all from Europe and America, representing amore than 2,500 psychoanalysts.

In 1992, the quaterly journal  International Forum of Psychoanalysis,  promoted and supported by the IFPS, began to be published, and in 1996 the  IFPS Archives  for the history of psychoanalysis were established.

In 2012 the Assembly of Delegates of the IFPS decided to open the Federation for psychoanalysts on the basis of an individual membership.