About the ACP

Established in 1986, the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis is a not-for-profit incorporated association dedicated to the practice, study and teaching of psychoanalysis, the training of analysts and research in the psychoanalytic field established by Sigmund Freud and extended by Jacques Lacan. Registered practising psychoanalysts of the Centre have undergone a program of rigorous study, supervision and personal psychoanalysis.

What is Psychoanalysis?

Sigmund Freud, the creator of psychoanalysis, defined it as the name

  • Of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way,
  • of a method (based upon that investigation) for the treatment of neurotic disorders and
  • of a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline. [‘Two Encyclopedia Articles’, 1923]

This definition is still appropriate today, although as a treatment psychoanalysis is no longer confined to neurotic disorders; nowadays it also includes other disorders that contemporary psychiatric classifications have variously called ‘psychoses’, ‘developmental disorders’, ‘anxiety disorders’, ‘depressive disorders’, ‘sexual perversions’ and other forms of mental disturbance, as well as human conflicts and tragedies that do not fit exactly with psychiatric diagnostic categories. The therapeutic field of psychoanalysis has also been extended to the treatment of human beings of all ages who suffer from the most diverse conditions, including those that are typically associated with particular stages in life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, advanced age. Rather than the diagnostic categories as such, which are conceptual tools, psychoanalytic treatment is founded upon the work of exploration and analysis of the patient’s unconscious, which contains the representatives of those desires and forms of satisfaction that the patient rejects and of which he or she does not want to know, but which end up ruling his or her life in ways which are, as Freud points out in his definition, inaccessible to other forms of treatment and research into mental phenomena. In so far as those desires and modes of satisfaction remain under repression or some other form of psychical rejection, they undermine, and even cripple, the person’s efforts in his or her human relations and work.

Psychoanalytic treatment is oriented by general principles and concerns problems that can be perceived in a great number of individuals; but it cannot be dispensed as a ‘standard’ clinical practice, since the workings and pathological effects of the unconscious are unique. The treatment respects and preserves the singularity of the patient: the patient’s situation cannot be reduced to any generalized abstraction or compared with the situation of any other patient.

The unconscious is not only the cause of distressing and pathological mental products: it is also the source of creative endeavours and constructive human activities: the arts and scientific work, and all forms of social and cultural life that enrich human existence. A psychoanalytic treatment aims at facilitating the emergence and development of the creative capacity that all human beings have and which is thwarted by pathological processes and their combination with adverse, traumatic life situations.

Psychoanalysis has also grown since Freud’s time in its applications to fields other than the clinical (although always retaining conceptual and practical links with the different forms of human suffering and their treatment). As a conceptual and methodological instrument, psychoanalysis is now firmly established in the work of social sciences, philosophy and the study of artistic creations.

The training of psychoanalysts of the ACP involves supervised clinical experience and rigorous studies in psychoanalytic theory and practice and other relevant disciplines. But its most important component is the personal analysis of the psychoanalyst-to-be: a personal, intimate experience that enables the prospective analyst, as analysand, to learn from the unconscious and then work creatively with the unconscious in others.

Purpose of the ACP

  • To regularly hold seminars, conferences and workshops and promote ongoing research;
  • To publish and distribute psychoanalytic research;
  • To operate a Register of Practising Analysts;
  • To conduct training in psychoanalysis; and
  • To co-operate with similar organisations throughout the world.

Governance of the ACP

The ACP is an Australian Incorporated Association with a constitution (PDF, 164kB), a code of Professional Conduct (PDF, 9kB) and a formal complaints procedure (PDF, 92kB).

The currently elected Committee of Management is:

Silvia Rodríguez (President)

Barbara Hübl (Treasurer)

Carl Scuderi (Secretary)

Leonardo Rodríguez

Serena Smith

Julie-Anne Smith

Veronica Sinclair (Co-opted)

Membership

The ACP invites applications for membership from those who demonstrate a sustained interest and participation in the Centre and Psychoanalysis. Members subscribe to the objects of the ACP Constitution and the Code of Professional Conduct. Applications, supported by two nominations, must be in writing and lodged with the Secretary of the ACP. People applying for membership are interviewed by members of the Committee of Management. Only members of the ACP are eligible to apply for inclusion on the List of Analysts In Training or for inscription on the ACP Register of Practising Analysts.

Participation

Anyone with an interest in the study of psychoanalysis is welcome to participate in the public activities of the Centre.

Affiliation

The ACP is a member association of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Useful links

– International of Forums: School of Psychoanalysis of the Forums of the Lacanian Field (http://www.champlacanien.net/)

– Lacanian Ink (http://www.lacan.com/lacink/archive.html)

– Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (http://www.cfar.org.uk/)

– London Society of the NLS (http://www.londonsociety-nls.org.uk/)