The Birth of the EPF Bulletin
What role does the EPF Bulletin play in this brief history of the EPF? It plays a very important part, not only is it a medium of information and scientific exchange, but it also reports on topical developments. Let us return to 1972 when the EPF Bulletin was brought into existence and the Editor was co-opted as the 6th member of the Executive Committee. The first issue of the Bulletin comprised 16 pages in total. It was produced on a typewriter and photocopied, a yellow paper cover was added, and the complete issue was then stapled together. The Editorial Board consisted of Peter Hildebrand (London) as Chief Editor, Michel de M’Uzan (Paris), Samir Stephanos (Germany) and Daniel Widlöcher (Paris). From its onset, the Bulletin was produced in the three official languages of the EPF: English, French and German.
Peter Hildebrand, who held the post of Editor until 1977, outlined the main objectives of the Bulletin as the identification, reporting and creative interpretation of ideas and issues of more than local interest. From 1973 onwards, the Bulletin was published twice a year, the only exceptions being 1975, when only one issue (No. 6) appeared, 1977, when four issues (Nos. 9 - 12) were published and finally 1979 when no Bulletin was produced as there was no Editor at that time.
In the first issues, the main topics were concerned with analytical training, differences in therapeutic and training analysis, opposition to psychoanalysis, and statutory rules for the practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, along with reports from various meetings. At that time, the contents of the Bulletin could be chosen quite freely, as it was not yet necessary to adhere strictly to conference presentations. There was once even room for a film review.
From 1976 onwards, the Federation’s logo appeared on the front cover, remaining there until the spring of 1996. Few know that it was designed by Peter Hildebrand’s daughter.
In 1977 (from issue No. 9), the page size of the Bulletin was reduced from A4 to the present format. At the same time, the number of pages began to grow from the initial 16 to an average of 40 pages per issue. In the same year, Daniel Widlöcher became Editor, remaining in office until 1979 when he was elected President. He dissolved the Editorial Board as, in his opinion, the Bulletin was working in the service of all the Societies, and he felt it more appropriate to seek help from the Presidents. He also emphasized that the Bulletin was not a psychoanalytic journal and did not seek to compete with other known scientific publications. The editorial team had always tried to give it an intermediate status between simply an internal Bulletin and a scientific review. First and foremost, it should be a medium for information and exchange amongst the various European Societies. Priority was to be given to topics concerned with the development of psychoanalytic practice in Europe, the problems posed by psychoanalytic practice in the institutional setting and the social conditions of psychoanalytic practice. Its top objective was finally to give an account of the Federation’s conferences and activities. In this respect, the Bulletin is the only official vehicle, accessible to all members, that relates the history of the Federation.
During the early years of the Bulletin’s existence, the Editor was fairly free in determining the contents of each issue, as there were very few conferences at a European level that were financed by the Federation. This began to change in 1976/77. From then on, it became customary to print the main presentations from various conferences in the Bulletin, thereby rendering them accessible to all members. The introduction of the Main Conference, with its various conference titles, finally reflected the growing need for more genuine psychoanalytic themes, as could be seen in the topic of the first EPF Main Conference in Aix-en-Provence: „Technical Problems of Interpretation“ and the second Main Conference on: „Narcissism of the Psychoanalyst“. There were also many reports on the Standing Conferences, along with other European meetings and colloquia, some of which are no longer in existence, such as the Anglo-Israeli and the Anglo-Dutch Colloquia. Book reviews also appeared regularly from 1982 onwards.
In 1980, Terttu Eskelinen de Folch took on the Editorship for the maximum term of office of eight years. She appointed Alex Holder as Associate Editor and once more set in motion the idea of a joint responsibility of the Societies by having each Society appoint a Bulletin Representative whose task it was to act as a contact partner in various matters and to inform the Editor of national news and events. From 1982 onwards, she included reviews of recently published European psychoanalytic literature and, with issue No. 17, she introduced three different cover colours (yellow, brown and light blue) to enable a distinction to be made between the three languages.
There was obviously also a need among the Presidents to discuss topical issues on the promotion of psychoanalysis, and from 1986 onwards - in that year the theme was: „Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy“ - it became customary for the Council of the Federation to meet every two years for one-day discussions on a selected subject area, with summary reports published in the Bulletin.
It is obvious that, with the steady growth of the EPF, its many new activities generated more and more information, exchanges and reports, all of which were to be included in the Bulletin. This expansion also reflected an increase in the number of members. While today’s EPF has almost 4,000 members, there were a mere 60 at its foundation. It goes without saying that the exchange within a small group, with the majority of its members participating in the newly organized conferences, functioned differently, and above all more easily, than today, when we can safely say that, at the most, one third of all members visit conferences, while the remaining, less cosmopolitan analysts rely on the EPF Bulletin as a source of information on European psychoanalysis.
In 1996 (issue No. 46), when I was elected Editor, the Bulletin was given a new look. The white cover now sports a new logo in three colours that separate the three EPF languages from each other: blue for the French, red for the English and green for the German version. Modern computers provide a clearer and much more readable typeface. A new section, entitled: „Information on National Societies Within the EPF“ has been introduced, in which Societies are given the opportunity to inform their European colleagues about themselves, the organisation of psychoanalysis in their country and about any particular problems or activities. The style of the reports themselves has also changed: whereas in the past reports were written from a much more objective viewpoint, they now include the analyst’s personal impressions of a particular conference, or they are written with a certain theoretical perspective in mind, such as Jacqueline Amati Mehler writing on her impressions of the Clinical Seminar for Associate Members from a language communication viewpoint, since this was the theme of the one-day discussion at the Council Meeting. Finally, the Bulletin bears witness to the increasing activities of the EPF in Eastern Europe over the past ten years.