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Thomas Ogden

The title of the track and the inauguration conference at Tel Aviv University, “Independent Psychoanalysis: Radical Breakthroughs” is a title I view as highly intelligent in the way it describes independent psychoanalysts. The phrase “radical breakthroughs” avoids the error of imagining an “Independent School.”  The idea of an “Independent School” is an oxymoron.  The analysts often seen as “members” of the “Independent School” do not hold in common a set of ideas, much less “a technique.” What makes them “independent” is the fact that each makes radical departures not only from the established “schools of psychoanalysis,” but from one another.  I view Winnicott, Bion, Herbert Rosenfeld, Balint, Fairbairn, Ferenczi, Milner, Tustin, Loewald, Searles, Ferro, Civitarese, the Barrangers, and William James as independents because they have each made radical departures from existing lines of thought, despite the fact that some of these authors are “claimed” by the established “analytic schools.” How could any analyst other than Winnicott write as Winnicott does? It may come as a surprise that I consider Bion to be not a Kleinian, but an independent. Bion, in fact, said he was not “a Bionian.”  He was whatever would think that day and the next.   The track, “Independent Psychoanalysis,” could not have a better principal teacher than Ofra Eshel—a true independent in her own right. Thomas Ogden 16 July 2016 So thanks very much to all of you, and I wish us all a fascinating day of learning.

Elsa Oliveira Dias

Dear Ofra Eshel, Dear Participants in the inauguration session of the New Track Program in Independent Psychoanalysis, I was very pleased and honored by Ofra Eshel’s invitation to contribute to this momentous event with a paper on the varieties ofWinnicott´s clinical work co-authored with Z. Loparic. I regret very much that I was not able to come to Tel-Aviv and be with you on this occasion. However, I could not miss the opportunity to say my words of congratulations to Ofra and to all of you who took part in this auspicious project dedicated to two great authors in psychoanalysis, Winnicott and Bion, who opened radically new and more embracing perspectives on psychoanalysis theoretical structure and clinical aims.  The New Track founded today starts already as a partner of several other groups from all over the world, Brazil, France, Belgium, Argentine, Portugal, China, among other countries, which today make up an international alliance coordinated by the International Winnicott Association (IWA). The IWA aims to promote study and research of Winnicott´s thought in particular, and to train psychoanalysts and clinicians from other areas within the framework of Winnicott´s new paradigm. The institutional development which we witness today opens favorable prospects for increasing collaboration, which, as Winnicott hoped and pleaded for in his writings, could create and maintain open the space for the study of human nature and new clinical developments based on human maturational processes.

Zeljko Loparic

My objective in these two papers is to offer you an articulated view of the main aspects of Winnicott´s revolutionary program for psychoanalysis. Although I´ll have to be rather schematic, I hope to offer a fruitful contribution to the New Track of Independent Psychoanalysis inaugurated today in Tel-Aviv, which is a momentous intellectual and institutional achievement and of which Winnicott is one of the central figures. In presenting Winnicott´s views I will take, as Winnicott many times does, a non conformist stance. My approach will be critical of traditional psychoanalysis and, at the same time, open to clinical and life experience and to theoretical viewpoints that you may bring with you to the discussion. Yet, it will be very heavily text-based and scholarly. This procedure reflects my professional limits. When asked by O. H. Lowry about finding a person who would be both a “fine practitioner” of child psychiatry and at the same time an “outstanding investigator”, Winnicott declared himself frankly in favor of the former and not in favor of a compromise. I am afraid that he would prefer a fine practitioner to be on my place here today. Some of these persons sit there in front of me. It could no doubt also be Elsa Oliveira Dias. Unfortunately she could not come. So we have had to compromise. And Ofra Eshel found what seems to be the best possible conciliatory solution under the circumstances. She asked me to talk to you in my first paper about Winnicott´s revolutionary program for psychoanalysis, that is, about the overall structure of Winnicott´s paradigm, as a philosopher who has been investigating, during about 25 years now, Winnicott´s psychoanalysis and the history of psychoanalysis culminating in his achievements. And Ofra insisted wisely with Elsa, and Elsa accepted the challenge, that the second paper on the varieties of Winnicott´s clinic be written by Elsa and me together. So this is the short history and the content of the two papers which I´ll be glad to present to you today, which, as I said, have to be schematic and, thus, but for the style are not very different from hand-outs containing a syllabus for teaching and studying Winnicott as we have been doing it for quite some time now in Brazil and in some other places, like Argentina, Portugal and China.

Boaz Shalgi

מפאת כבודו של האורח שלנו מברזיל, פרופ’ זלז’קו לופאריק, אעבור לאנגלית:

It is a great pleasure for me to open this conference today, which, together with the pre-conference held a few weeks ago which hosted Dr. Neville Symington, mark the inauguration of our new post-graduate track of the Tel Aviv University Psychotherapy Program, “Independent Psychoanalysis; Radical Breakthroughs”.  This track aims to bring forth the radical thinking of the independent group, its roots in the first days of the psychoanalytic movement, its essence, its far-reaching contributions to the way psychoanalysis conceptualizes its theory and its therapeutic components, and its most recent developments throughout the world. Of course, it is only natural that D.W. Winnicott, will be the prominent figure of such a perspective on the human psyche, and of the way it connects with its fellow human psyche, and, consequently, is also the central figure of our conference today. No less than this pleasure, is the honor of hosting Prof. Zeljko Loparic from Brazil. Ofra will present Prof. Loparic properly soon, yet I cannot restrain myself from saying a few words. There is no need to elaborate as to the vast contribution Prof. Loparic has made to the philosophical and psychoanalytic discourse, both in South America and worldwide, and the tremendous esteem and respect that he is afforded. There are very few thinkers today that explores psychoanalysis with such a deep curiosity of human nature, and with such thorough knowledge of the human mind and the many ways to study it, as Prof. Loparic. I believe, and I am sure all of us will feel this shortly as we listen together to the very special lectures of Prof. Loparic, that when one reads Winnicott with the entire phenomenological tradition in mind – from Husserl to Heidegger and onward – concepts like transitional space, mother-infant relationships (what Prof. Loparic refers to as the paradigm of “the baby on the mother’s lap”), going on being, aliveness, spontaneity, integration and un-integration, and so on, as well as more general psychoanalytic concepts such as need, developmental processes, health and pathology, transference and unconscious, are all infused with a sort of unique life and depth that push us to re-think them, make us wonder about our basic assumptions, force us to reflect again and again as to the very essence of psychoanalysis and of the human psyche. Personally, and on behalf of us all, I would like to thank you, Prof. Loparic, for making the long journey to come and share with us your long life effort to do exactly this. I would also like to express my gratitude to Elsa Oliviera Dias, who together with Prof. Loparic, founded the Brazilian Winnicott Society and wrote in collaboration with him the second paper that we are going to here today, about the more clinical aspects of Winnicott’s theory. Let me say a few more words about Winnicott and breakthroughs. By now, most of us have learned to appreciate Winnicott’s radical contributions to psychoanalysis. As Tony Lynch put it, while interpreting Freud “From the inside” (Winnicott’s World: The Mystical Foundations of Reality”, Transcendent Philosophy: an international journal of comparative philosophy and mysticism, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2003), Winnicott departed from many “Shiboleths” of Freud’s theory. I have no doubt that we will learn quite a lot more about these groundbreaking departures from our distinguished and scholarly speakers today. Yet, to my mind, Winnicott is a trailblazer not only in the psychoanalytic realm, but also made a revolutionary contribution to the discussion of one of the most vital problems of Western philosophy (and when I say philosophy I mean those common things that all of us think about from time to time, if not most of the time…). In one of his most inspiring paragraphs in “Transformations”, while presenting the concept of the no-thing (p. 102-103) Bion turns Aristotelian philosophy upside down when he postulates that the rule according to which A is either A or not A should be replaced by a rule that A is always A and not A. In a similar vein, I believe, Winnicott takes one of the most fundamental dichotomies of Western philosophy, according to which either reality (and, again, by saying “reality” I mean, you, myself, my patient), exists in itself, as the realistic school believes; or that “everything is in the eye of the beholder”, as the idealistic school believes. And here comes Winnicott, and like the wise “rabbi” in the famous joke asserts that the reality both exists in itself and in the eye of the beholder, that we relentlessly create the world which is already there, and thus opens so many opportunities, doors, windows and roads to take, both for psychoanalysis and for western culture. So, I believe, the term “breakthrough” has a vast range of meanings, and we are here today to celebrate these rich and vivid opportunities. The conference today could not take place without the contribution of many people. First, I would like to thank all the speakers and chairpersons of today’s conference, Ofra Eshel, Ilan Amir, Rina Lazar, Naama Keinan and Eti Landau-Frechter, who deserves special thanks for her generous acceptance of the most difficult mission, that of presenting clinical material. On behalf of us all, I would like to deeply thank Mike Eigen, who, although he could not make the long trip to be here with us, agreed to participate in today’s conference through a taped video in which he discusses Eti’s clinical material. I know that Dr. Eigen has put many hours and a lot of effort into this challenge, and I am sure that we will all be immensely enriched by his constantly original, knowledgeable and thought-provoking ideas. I would like to profoundly thank Ilan Amir, who until recently was the coordinator of the post-graduate tracks in the steering committee of our program, and Moshe Bergstein, who has replaced him in this position. Both of you, Ilan and Moshe, had a crucial role in conceiving, creating, fostering and assembling the new track, and your contribution to its establishment is invaluable. I would also like to thank Hagit Zohn, who is responsible for the conferences in the steering committee, for her ceaseless and continuing efforts to help this conference take place, and, hopefully, be of value. And, as always, special thanks to our administrative team, Shosh Aviram, Shani Han and Galit Ben Yehuda, without which we would have no chance of creating the world in which we live. There is no doubt in my heart, and I am sure in all of our hearts, that neither to days conference nor the new track itself could have materialized if not for our dear friend Ofra Eshel, who for more than a year has put her time, effort, wisdom, knowledge, experience, and I think that I will not be exaggerating if I add her soul, into making the dream of this track comes true. Ofra, your deep belief in the importance of the theories that will be taught in this track, your sometimes zealous conviction as to the value of their novelty and of their sheer power to open our clinical work to new therapeutic dimensions that carry within them the potential of helping the most suffering, tormented, regressed patients, is an example to all of us. For many years now you have bestowed your unbelievable knowledge and clinical experience to the succeeding generations, and we are all lucky to have the opportunity of learning from you. I deeply hope that the new track that is being born today, which is led by you together with a wonderful group of teachers and supervisors, will help convey this knowledge and experience to many more therapists, and, through them, will help many many people to feel that life can be somewhat more tolerable, and, to quote Thane Rosenbaum, “that the way to fill a home is not with furniture alone”.   Before ending, I would like to read a letter that was written by one of the most prominent psychoanalysts who live today, Thomas Ogden, in honor of the inauguration of our new track.