María Cristina Fulco – IPA Congress Closing Speech

On behalf of the FEPAL Board, I would like to thank Virginia Ungar, Sergio Nick and the Scientific Organization of the Congress for your invitation, and I would like to congratulate all the participants for their intense work carried out throughout these days.  Julia Kristeva in her opening conference, referred to “the surprising polyphony”,  phrase that inspired the theme chosen for this 51st Congress.   Expression that, from my point of view, talked about the need of the  psychoanalytic world to return to Freud to sustain the task  – endless task –  of working on the fundamental concepts that support our paradigm.   From what has remained “between the lines”, as J Laplanche said,  means taking distance from the old dogmatic postures to question them,  and continue discovering the power of “transforming”  concepts. To say it in other words:  to keep the tension between tradition and creativity, a condition that is inherent to  progress when it comes to knowledge.

It is a fact that Latin American psychoanalysis has managed to set a distance from the original Eurocentrism,  and that this peripheral center subordination has been giving way to the opening of new theories developed by our thinkers, who have become part of the theoretical pluralism that characterizes us, and that at the same time have influenced our practice.

The unpleasantly severe political and economic conditions that our Latin American countries are currently experiencing, are a factor of discomfort, which constitutes a difficulty, but not an impediment to continue re-creating new scientific policies that enable a place for discussion, so that psychoanalysis will have again a privileged place in these “Times of change”, as it was defined in the Boston Congress, in 2015.

The sustained creation of New Groups in our region accounts for the intense work carried out by ILAP, the Latin American Institute of Psychoanalysis, and particularly the work of analysts in our region.   For example, in Ecuador and Honduras there are graduated candidates who are ready to be appointed as direct IPA members.   There is a lot of work going on in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia now. In Brazil, 24 societies are members of FEBRAPSI, 4 of which are Study Groups and 7  Psychoanalytic Nuclei.  It is also important to point out the difficult situation that Venezuelan societies are going through  in the current political and economic context, which has led to a strong emigration of Venezuelan analysts and candidates to neighboring countries, with the consequent suffering and pain generated by the exile.

We face many challenges  in these times of deep changes, also called “civilization mutation” which challenge our paradigm, today more than ever, but they also act as the motor of new developments, as long as we can ‘loosen-up ties’ to  what has  already been established, both in theory and in practice,  and get rid of old dogmatisms. The neurotic, translator  patient, as J. Laplanche described, is disappearing from our offices to give place to the patient who is predominantly  instinctual, using the act over the word, and who challenges our work, our listening and our interpretation in the transferential space, as well as our implicit and explicit theoretical referents.

Some time has passed since the foundation of the Berlin Institute, in which the need to protect his new discoveries, led Freud and his first followers to be cautious about spreading their ideas. Today, after a century of those initial times, Psychoanalytic societies and their Institutes have had the need to open their doors, as a way out of inbreeding and impoverishing confinement. Openness to the Community, to the University, to interdisciplinary discussions with educators, anthropologists, sociologists and to the world of the arts, are characteristics that have marked our societies for decades. This openness  has also been demanded by  the new generations, inviting us to accompany them in these times of “turbulent waters”, of intense debates in relation to what we understand by transmission in psychoanalysis,  analyzability,  which is the function of the setting and the limits of its variations, and the place of abstinence as a motor of transference.

The  challenge that  is at stake, is that our idea of the human psyche, which eventually had the ability to infiltrate, inspire and seduce the culture of the 20th century,  would again  occupy the place of recognition that it gained for almost a century. The challenge is to achieve that psychoanalysis will be attractive  to young people again, and not just one  more alternative therapy between biological psychiatry on the one hand, and the multiplicity of short therapies on the other hand.

The fertile debates that this Congress has had from the proposed theme, “The Femenine”, confronts us with radical changes in the social space:  changes in the traditional family,  the couple, new forms of expressions of sexuality – new sexualities, conception methods,  adoption. These characteristics of post-modernity, in which the difficulty of introspection and the need for immediate satisfaction  does not leave room for waiting , nor space for representation, and questions psychoanalysis in its fundamental concepts, forcing us to explore  theoretical foundations and  practice changes more deeply.  I believe that these problems also question  our Societies and our Institutes.

Finally, I would like to invite you to the next FEPAL Congress that will take place in Uruguay in September 2020, and whose theme is “FRONTIERS”. The polysemy of the term that in its original sense alludes to geographical borders as an area that separates, but at the same time unites, that discriminates territories, ethnic groups, traditions and religions, can be thought of as a metaphor of our profession, in our work on the borders of psychic reality and external reality, in the borders of interdiscipline, in the borders of our theoretical pluralism, and also in the border of psychic instances.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Uruguay!

María Cristina Fulco

President  of FEPAL

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