Letter from the IARPP President

By Chana Ullman (Israel)

Dear Members of the IARPP,

Here again is my letter to all of you, highlighting and informing you of recent events and developments in our IARPP community.

The 14th international IARPP conference, “From the Margins to the Centre: Contemporary Relational Perspectives,” recently took place in Sydney, Australia from May 25 to 28, 2017. We welcomed 412 participants from 22 countries to this conference. Traveling to Sydney was, for many of us, an exhausting journey across continents and time zones to gather in the hospitable city of Sydney, to be welcomed by the indigenous owners of the land, and to meet colleagues from different parts of the globe. It was also an exhilarating journey in which we discovered that, despite our differences, there is much that we have in common across these cultures and time zones, and much that we need to endure together as humans.

In the many excellent plenary presentations and parallel sessions we discussed what we mean by “margins” and what we mean by “center,” deconstructing our preconceptions about these terms. We listened to sometimes unsettling voices that pushed us to extend our limits and challenged us to stay connected even when we disagree. During the plenary presentations the grand room at the SMC conference center seemed to become our container—for pain, for human trauma and evil that are all too human, but also for recognition and hope.

It seemed that the intense focus on how our relational theory informs the social and political realms (and vice versa), and on how holding culture and the political in mind can inform our clinical work, rendered the presentations deeply relevant and empowering. I was particularly moved by the combination of personal, even intimate accounts, delivered from the podium with intellectual rigor, and by the many newcomers—younger voices—who spoke with wisdom and compassion. All of these presenters managed to provoke and yet touch the common and the universal among us.

Thanks to Cathy Hicks (Australia) and Sarah Calvert (New Zealand) the conference co-chairs, to the local committees, to all the participants, and to all involved in the planning and implementing of this program for yet another great IARPP conference.

We are now looking forward to our next conference in New York City. The conference theme, “Hope and Dread: Therapists and Patients in an Uncertain World” was generated by our distress about political events in the United States and their global impact, viewed from the perspective of the consulting room. It will include topics such as otherness, racism, immigration, and the place of truth in contemporary culture, in psychoanalysis, and in our clinical work. The co-chairs, Margaret Black Mitchell (USA) and Hazel Ipp (Canada), and their steering committee are already at work planning this relevant and timely special event which will take place at the Roosevelt Hotel from June 14 to 17, 2018. The call for papers is out and the deadline for submissions is September 25th. We are inviting your contributions and participation with great anticipation.

I am pleased to inform you that for this New York conference and onward the board has increased the amount of travel stipends with the aim of increasing diversity and representation of underrepresented groups in our IARPP community. A call for applications for travel stipends will appear soon.

It is my great pleasure to congratulate the recipients of the Muriel Dimen Fellowship Award for 2018, an interdisciplinary fellowship awarded to leading non-clinician scholars interested in relational psychoanalysis. The Fellowship Committee Co-chairs, Francesca Colzani (Chile) and Roberto D’Angelo (Australia), have accepted two exceptional candidates, one a political science scholar and the other a scholar in the areas of architecture and environmental studies. They will integrate relational thinking into their work, developing a project over the next year that they will then present at the 2018 IARPP Conference in New York. We hope that this IARPP tribute to the late Muriel Dimen will carry on the tradition of innovative scholarship that she was known for, and enrich relational thinking through dialogue with other disciplines.

Our organization exists and grows in vigor because of our members around the globe. The board of IARPP and our committees continue efforts to enhance communication and outreach to our international community. We are thrilled to welcome two new international chapters, Peru, led by President Marie Saba, and Argentina, with Alberto Samperisi serving as chapter President. I would like to congratulate the Co-chairs of the International Chapters Committee, Marianne Kennedy (Australia) and Steven Kuchuck (USA), for their consistent work and support of our international chapters. The Webinar Committee, led by Co-chairs Allison Katz (USA) and Carmine Schettini (Italy), is planning to include more webinars in languages other than English. The Membership Committee Co-chairs, Tony Bass (USA) and Sharon Beiman (Israel), are working on ways to reach out to new members and those who have not renewed their membership. It is also my pleasure to recognize the work of the new Colloquium Committee Co-chairs, Adrienne Harris (USA) and Rina Lazar (Israel), who are giving us stimulating papers and dialogues led by internationally diverse groups of panelists and wisely navigating the sometimes stormy waters of this unique IARPP endeavor.

Warm greetings to all,

Chana Ullman, PhD
IARPP President

ullmanphoto0715wChana Ullman, PhD
17 Neve Matz
Rehovot 76100   Israel
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