1. Engaged Psychotherapists
Here we put together several recent letters from politically engaged clinicians, each critiquing the corruption of professional values that results from a naïve social detachment.
1a. The first refers to the past, but relates to the present. The British Journal of Psychotherapy has published an ‘OPEN LETTER FROM A GROUP OF JUNGIANS ON THE QUESTION OF JUNG’S WRITINGS ON AND THEORIES ABOUT ‘AFRICANS’ written by an international and diverse group of Jungian analysts, clinicians, and academics: see http://bit.ly/2Q9ajAG. They call for an ‘open distancing’ from Jung’s racism through an apology and an active engagement in confronting its consequences for Analytic Psychology as a contemporary intellectual and professional tradition.
1b. Conference: ‘Colonial Fantasies – Violent Transmission’
The Swedish Psychoanalytic Association has linked up with the group Psychoanalysis and Politics to hold a conference on the closely related theme ‘Colonial Fantasies – Violent Transmission’ in Stockholm next May. The Call for Papers is prefaced by a brief but rich essay on the troubled relationship between psychoanalysis and those subject to colonisation. It suggests that theories which regard guilt, anxiety and alienation as inherent in the human condition might themselves ‘be diagnosed as a symptom of a concrete guilt’ resulting from ‘the oppression and domination that guaranteed white privilege’. It goes on to consider various contemporary conflicts over decolonisation. About Israel/Palestine, site of the most flagrant settler colonial project to which Western elites are currently committed, a situation that (unlike Tibet, for example) directly impacts on psychoanalytic research and institutional politics, there is a loud silence. Characteristic of the debilitating impact of hegemonic politics on universalist thought and practice, we hope that the conference itself will correct this all-too-predictable omission. Details on how to submit presentations can be found here: http://www.psa-pol.org/colonial-fantasies/
1c. BDS update.
Meanwhile some psychotherapeutic organisations continue to locate their conferences in Israel, disregarding the systemic violence to which Palestinians are subjected by the Israeli State and the brazen institutionalisation of Apartheid in its ‘nation state’ law. Most significantly they are disregarding the collectively expressed request of Palestinian civil society that they do not hold their conferences in Israel. The New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis (see our last mailing) is to be joined on the road of shame by the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. We urge clinicians of conscience to stay away from these events, and also to decline to attend the 4th International workshop of the Israeli Institute of Group Analysis next April. (Those who are considering participating might reflect on their decision in the light of the links below). Letters of protest have been sent to the NLS and the SPSAP by our colleagues in the USA (see https://usapalmhn.org/isps/). The PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELLING UNION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM (PCU) have written in support of the position taken by the Palestine Union of Social Workers and Psychologists protesting the decision by the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy to meet in Tel Aviv next year (text below).
2. Absolute power: child trauma caught on camera?
‘Israeli military violently harasses Palestinian family at home’: a video released by the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, discussed in this article on Mondoweiss. https://mondoweiss.net/2018/11/military-violently-palestinian/ The murder of innocent children in Gaza is reported in this article on the Electronic Intifada: https://tinyurl.com/y8uselly. ‘On Friday, 16 November 2018, Israeli forces wounded 54 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children, 1 woman and 4 paramedics in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip’: https://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=11615.
3. The Israel Lobby and the abuse of anti-Semitism: further contributions
Electronic Intifada is also to be congratulated for releasing a four-part documentary – a triumph of investigative journalism – that its makers, the Al Jazeera network, had decided to suppress. “The Lobby – USA” is essential watching, the backstory to so much that has afflicted UK politics since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. Its appearance has been ignored by the Guardian and the BBC, who have contributed directly to the conscious manipulation of the debate on anti-Semitism that it documents. In particular, it should be viewed by any organisation that is being pressured to adopt the IHRA ‘Definition of anti-Semitism’.
To view the programmes: go to
For details of the high level pressure – including accusations of anti-Semitism – that led Al Jazeera to shelve the programme, see the Israeli dissident outlet +192 Magazine at
The USA- and the UK-Palestine Mental Health Networks have both signed a petition condemning the Austrian Students’ Union for co-organising a conference in Vienna with the Israeli embassy which equates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel: see
Joel Doerfler has contributed two in-depth articles relating to key elements in the attempt to exploit anti-Semitism to protect Israeli apartheid: that questioning the Jewish right to self-determination is anti-Semitic, and that the solidarity movement is unfairly ‘singling out’ Israel: see
4. A Review of Beyond the Frontlines: Tales of Resistance and Resilience from Palestine.
Shown for the first time in the UK in November, further screenings will hopefully take place soon. To discuss organising your own viewing, contact Alexandra Dols via the links at the bottom of the review:
5. Just in: news of this exciting event in Manchester: BREAKING THE OCCUPATION OF THE MIND: ARTS & CULTURE IN PALESTINE:
An evening to talk all things Arts & Culture in Palestine, taking place at Manchester Museum. The event will be a discourse surrounding how Arts & Culture can thrive and progress amongst conflict. Guest speakers include Lowkey, Yara Sharif, Malia Bouattia and Dr Ilan Pappé. For tickets go to:
Appendix: MESSAGE FROM THE PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELLING UNION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM (PCU) TO THE PALESTINIAN UNION OF SOCIAL WORKERS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS (PUSWP)
Dear Dr Iya Dothman and Dr Samah Jabr,Please find below a letter of support re the decision of the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy to hold its 2019 annual conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. We have copied in the President of IARPP, Dr Steven Kuchuck.
We write with reference to your Statement of October 1st 2018 in connection with the decision of the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy to hold their 2019 annual conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.
As a Union, we wish to support the positions that PUSWP has articulated so clearly. Your summary of the issues surrounding the conference is cogent and reasoned.
As psychotherapists and counsellors, we specifically wish to endorse what you say about mental health and, above all, about the values that inform the practice of psychotherapy and counselling in all contexts.
We are copying this supporting message to the President of IARPP. For reference, here is a link to the PUSWP Statement:
We send all our good wishes and feelings of solidarity. Please feel free to circulate this message
Signed on behalf of PCU
DR P. COX (CPsychol)
Please address any replies to: firstname.lastname@example.org