IPA Position Statement

I am running for the IPA Board to promote two related goals: (a) to advance our standing as a profession, and (b) to promote the democratic character of IPA governance.

Agenda for Action

Every profession must forge a viable “social contract” with the surrounding society. Professions achieve this end by pursuing two sets of tasks: (a) education, research, and credentialing, and (b) collective marketing, public relations, and advocacy to protect professional standing and promote cultural relevance.

The IPA has been very successful in its scientific and academic functions. In our heyday, this was enough. But the social standing of our profession has fallen. Negative attitudes toward psychoanalysis in the universities and the media, adverse policies of government and insurance companies, and competition from rival groups promoting quick cures or “evidence-based” treatments have thinned our caseloads and parched the cultural soil on which we depend.

While we must continue advancing our scientific and academic agendas, we also need to restore the reputation of psychoanalysis. We must invest in programs of public information, advocacy, and outreach to professionals, scientists, and academics in allied fields such as neuroscience, the social sciences, and the arts, and nurture affiliations that promote our recognition and relevance.

Agenda for Reform

The IPA is a beloved home to a heterogeneous and vibrant international community. The great challenge of the IPA is to transform the different interests and priorities of this diverse community into policies and programs that everyone can support and appreciate. The democratic character of IPA governance is fundamental to this effort. Democratic governance enables our multiple groups to join together with confidence that their respective interests will be represented in the deliberative processes through which policies and programs are forged. Democratic governance enables all our members to feel that the IPA is “our” association.

Over the past year, the IPA Board has confronted major conflicts about an attempted reorganization of Broomhills. The attempted reorganization and the struggles that ensued revealed critical vulnerabilities in our organizational governance. I worked closely with three NA colleagues - Harriet Basseches, Fred Busch, Arthur Leonoff — to uphold IPA rules. We succeeded in restoring the authority of the Board with regard to the reorganization, but core issues of governance remain unresolved.

Many distinguished leaders worked for many years to make the IPA a democratic organization, creating bylaws, procedures, and institutional structures to ensure democratic governance. As we value our profession, we must now renew our commitment to their cause.

We must review our rules and procedures, and institute provisions to ensure transparency, accountability, and good governance. In North America, we must restructure our “link functions” to enable everyone to participate more actively in IPA affairs, and thus, to better ensure that our association is governed in the closest accord with the will of the members.

We need the IPA to promote and protect our professional interests. And we need IPA governance to be democratic so that it merits the support, care, and dedication of its many contributing members.