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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Stan Gold February 2012


Dear Colleagues,

This is my initial communication to you since assuming the Presidency of our Society in June of this year. I am aware of the enormous responsibility I now have to preserve and develop our Society on your behalf. In this I am reliant on all members of the board both elected and appointed and on your active interest and participation over the next two years. I am sure I can count on it.

Initially I wish to thank most warmly Professor Susan Long and Jinette de Gooijer PhD., joint Chairs of the Organising Committee together with all the members of their committee who worked tirelessly to make the Melbourne Annual Meeting another unqualified success for us all. Their carefully innovative approach and the relaxed yet efficient way in which their program proceeded raised the bar for those who follow. It also reinforced how important are our Annual Meetings, both educationally and socially. I thank all members who attended, despite distance and cost and urge you all to follow with an increased attendance at our next A.M. which Amy Fraher and her colleagues are preparing for us in SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA JUNE 4TH- JUNE 10TH 2012. Please visit

( where you will find the brochure, registration and call for papers and workshops.

Claudia Nagel retired from the board at the end of our A.M. in Melbourne and I thank her for her contribution. Jim Krantz has also retired after six extremely successful and influential years and a very significant role, together with Clare Huffington, in initiating and developing the ISPSO e Library. He continues as Chair of the Bridger Memorial award committee. At our elections in May of this year, Kathy White was elected to the board and Jerry Fromm was elected as President Elect. Jerry brings vast experience as clinician and administrator.

Carole Eigen was also re elected. I welcome them all most warmly. Carole will continue her excellent work with Regional groups and Kathy brings her previous experience as a member of the board and her unbounded creativity. Jerry joins the Executive Committee where he will work with Our Secretary/Treasurer, Michael Faris, our Executive Director, Ernest Fruge and myself. Clare Huffington becomes Past President and will remain on the board and remain part of the continuing development of our board committees that she and I undertook as a four year project covering both our Presidencies. Other members of the board are Larry Hirschhorn, Renate Gronvold Bugge and Mannie Sher. I also welcome Adrian Fronda our Director of Internet Services to the board. The transfer of Webmaster responsibilities from Ernest, to whom we owe enormous gratitude, to Adrian is a complex task, but is proceeding well.

We have invested significantly in web based internet activities including the development of an e Library and it is my intention to continue to support of these. Adding to this development, I feel it is appropriate to continue to develop support for Regional activities. I am delighted that our colleagues in Chile are arranging a meeting in SANTIAGO CHILE DECEMBER 6TH AND 7TH 2011. (email for more information). A further, European regional meeting is scheduled in SOFIA IN MARCH 2012.

Finally as a Society, I feel we need to acknowledge that we continue to be faced with both an internal and external problem as old as Psychoanalytic practice itself. How can we harness an understanding of unconscious processes to the demands of expediency? What techniques can we develop to convey to our clients the truths underlying individual and group behaviour that they, like all of us, have spent most of their personal and organisational lives repressing and denying? At the same time, how are we to avoid the temptation to maintain the idea of our perfection and blame our imperfections on those organisations and systems that sit on our periphery? Finally, how can we manage what our late colleague Larry Gould emphasised. The need to “hold the centre” and to avoid the situation described in Yeats’ poem where “ The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. Perhaps the content of our Annual Meetings and the exchanges of experience that occurs there go some way toward resolving the issue.

From the time of Socrates and in Plato’s commentary “The Georgias”, the conflicting imperatives of knowledge, ethics and practicality have been debated. In the world of today this challenge remains and is reflected in the various legitimate claims of our increasing membership. This has been reflected, not only and particularly in our workshops, but also in the style and content of our Symposia. The word “study” in our name can have many interpretations. For myself, it includes research, theory and practice in equal measure, an early description that Freud made of Psychoanalysis itself.

In the Jain religion of India they do not believe in a God, but in 24 prophets who declined to be worshipped but said that they left footprints to knowledge that could be followed. It has been said that no one starts anew and that a cumulative learning is passed on. But as it passes, it is changed, reinterpreted and transformed without ever being overthrown or abandoned. With the help of a very sound, experienced and talented board I feel that we can move toward the future whilst retaining the knowledge and experience of the past. I hope you all will feel that you carry some responsibility for this and look forward to your contributions.

Stan Gold. President ISPSO.