Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia
Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia (PSS) draws upon a vibrant, one-hundred-year-old tradition of psychoanalytical thought in this region.
Its members have been the driving force of the development of psychoanalysis in our country.
High educational potential (eight training analysts), continual professional exchange and advanced training, international network, rich experience in organization and execution of professional gatherings, cooperation and enthusiasm of its members – are the foundations which enable the Society to grow and develop.
Besides the administrative address, PSS has its premises in a rented house.
PSS has 20 members (8 training analysts), 7 honorary members and 25 candidates.
We have 5 categories of membership:
1. Psychoanalysts - members
2. Psychoanalysts - full members
3. Psychoanalysts-training analysts
4. Child and adolescent psychoanalysts
5. Honorary members
1938 – 1941
The Psychoanalytical Society in Belgrade was established in 1938, on the foundations of the Yugoslav Society for Mental Hygiene. It was founded by foreign-educated Belgrade psychoanalysts, after the launch of the Society of Yugoslav Psychiatrists in 1932 and the Yugoslav Society for Mental Hygiene.
The initiator and leader of the group was Nikola Mikloš Šugar (1897-1945), an analyst of the Psychoanalytical Societies of Hungary and Vienna, originally from Subotica.
This Psychoanalytical Society was independent from any scientific or professional institution. Although it was only active for less than four years, due to the start of the WWII among other reasons, it greatly contributed to the expansion of psychoanalysis in this region. Books by significant psychoanalytic authors, Sigmund Freud in the first place, were translated, lectures were given for general audience, and original works by Serbian contemporaries were published.
Since the interest for both theory and practice of psychoanalysis existed in our country, Šugar gained students from the pool of contemporary psychiatrists who began their own personal psychoanalyses with him. From Nikola Šugar’s student circle, there were four who distinguished themselves: Hugo Klajn, Nikola Popović, Vladislav Klajn and Vojin Matić. Of these four students of Nikola Šugar, only Vojin Matić continued the work on the spread of psychoanalysis by accepting into personal analysis young colleagues interested in the development of this trend. The others were engaged in the development of theoretical thought as well as in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The education in psychoanalysis lasted until 1941. Nikola Šugar died in a concentration camp close to the end of WWII.
1950 – 2010
After WWII, in 1953, in Belgrade, Vojin Matić (1911-2000), founded the Medical-Pedagogical Counseling Center, a psychotherapy center for the treatment of children based on a psychoanalytic foundation. The founding of the Counseling Center, as a nursery of professionals, some of which would go on to become recognized psychoanalysts in IPA (International Psychoanalytical Association), presented a great step in the development of psychoanalysis in Serbia.
Two psychiatric institutions in Belgrade continued to spread the psychoanalytic thought: the Institute for Mental Health and Hospital for Psychiatry of the University Hospital Center “Dr. Dragiša Mišović - Dedinje,” where the first department for (psychoanalytic) psychotherapy in the region of Former Yugoslavia was founded.
In the mid-eighties Belgrade group of analysts started to establish the connections with the international psychoanalytic community by establishing the Belgrade Society for Development of Psychoanalysis (1990) and by organizing the East European Psychoanalytical Seminar in cooperation with the IPA and EPF. In the years that followed, owing to the enthusiasm of Tamara Štajner-Popović and her colleagues, the Belgrade Psychoanalytical Study Group was formed, which in 2007 became a full member of IPA, under the name Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society. Until 2010, Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society organized five conferences with international participation, published two monographs with papers of all members of the Society, organized in Belgrade EPF Council Meeting, EPF Training Forum, EPF Associate members Seminar, CAPSA event with Claudio Eizerick, and numerous internal meetings, outreach lectures and workshops.
2010 – 2014
For the most members completely unexpectedly, in 2010, within the BPS, rumors about an ethics complaint started. An attempt was made to organize and several meetings were announced with the Ethics Committee as well as the entire membership of the Society, but they were never held as the members who were announcing the complaint always cancelled them. The tension in the Society grows to unbearable proportions. Finally, at the meeting held in May 2010, a group of members announces that they have already sent the complaint directly to IPA instead of sending it first to the BPS Ethics Committee as required by the Statute. The Society was presented with an accomplished fact, without a chance to discuss. The target of this complaint was primarily Tamara Štajner Popović and Aleksandar Vučo. Štajner Popović was a founder of the BPS, then a co-chair of IPA New Groups for Europe, one of the founders of the Summer Schools of Psychoanalysis for Eastern Europe of the time, initiator of an idea of psychoanalysis in Eastern Europe, a close associate and friend of the leading psychoanalysts of the time, and Vučo, her husband, was a prominent member not only of the BPS but of the EPF and IPA as well.
It is suffice to say that the complaint contained unfounded, unacceptable and compromising allegations. To the surprise of most BPS members, the IPA Ethics Committee headed by Dr K. Lynne Moritz sends the Site Visit Committee to investigate this case, without consulting the BPS EC, contrary to the IPA and BPS Statutes. IPA president at the time was Charles Henley. The Committee comprised Artur Leonoff as chair, Anne-Marie Sandler and Marie France Dispaux. The Committee made two visits, in 2010 in its full complement and in 2011 Arthur Leonoff alone. During the first visit, the Committee carried out an interview with the BPS members, but also with the candidates who were invited without the consent or notifying the BPS Training Committee, and sent its first report in late September 2010, with individual recommendations for two training analysts and one candidate, informing both parties. The psychoanalyst, at whom the complaint was mainly directed, received certain recommendations for further work, whereas the psychoanalyst, who was the main organizer of the complaint, received certain sanctions. After the second visit, Arthur Leonoff sends the final report recommending the formation of the IPA Advisory Committee that would help in overcoming the conflict in the BPS, without any individual ethics measure imposed.
Later arrivals and interventions of IPA and EPF officials in an attempt to overcome the problem did not yield any results. New ethics complaints were coming in, by some of those who took part in the first complaint, Society organs were constantly attacked, no constructive solutions were found, and the work of the Society was completely blocked, as well as the development of psychoanalysis in Serbia. During the mandate of the Advisory Committee (Sverre Varvin, Eike Hinze and Laura Etchegoyen), two new Executive Boards and two presidents of the BPS were elected, Marija Vezmar with a six-month term of office (2011-2012) and Jasminka Šuljagić (2012-2014).
In October 2012, Tamara Štajner Popović, a founding member and the main target of the complaint, passed away. This was a huge loss for us and the whole psychoanalytic community on personal and institutional levels. The next PIEE Summer School had the tittle “Tamara’s seminar”, our members were organizers and teachers. In August 2013, during the IPA Congress in Prague homage was held, where many colleagues brought up their memories of Tamara.
After the end of mandate of the Advisory Committee (January 2013), the new, IPA Exploratory committee was formed, involving Franz Wellendorf and Dieter Bürgin. It was aimed to explore all future possible directions for the Society, and legitimacy was given to departure as a potential solution.
Despite the efforts of the members of the Society, Committees and representatives of the International Psychoanalytical Association, the problem could not be overcome - it was obvious that the members of the Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society did not share the same professional values, and that there was no common view of the prospects and acceptable solutions for the future of psychoanalysis in Serbia.
After long and serious thinking and discussions, in June 2014 the majority of members and a large majority of training analysts, the entire Executive board, and Training and Ethical Committee decided to leave the BPS and to form a new society, the PSS. By leaving the BPS, the newly founded PSS left everything to the BPS: component status, name, documents, logo, website, Statute and by-laws, large library and money in the account, and started everything from scratch.
The IPA Board approved the Interim Provisional Society status of our society in September 2014. Only two years after the approval of Provisional status (according to rule of exception), we were recommended by the IPA Board for the status of Component society. In July 2017 at the Business meeting of the IPA congress in Buenos Aires we were officially approved as a Component society.
After the formation, the PSS continued to develop on the basis of its own analytical and organizational abilities and capacities and, over time, became a very active society that strongly develops psychoanalysis in Belgrade, Serbia and the wider region.
Training model: Eitingon model
Contact: Vojislav Ćurčić,
Chair of Training Committee
PSS Training Committee is the body responsible for the acceptance and the education of candidates, following and keeping IPA’s criteria.
- 10th Summer School
- Monograph "Contemporary psychoanalysis - selected texts"
- International Conference “Why Violence”
- Clinical Workshops
- Open Lectures in City Library
Summer Schools of Psychoanalysis
When EPF started supporting summer schools in Europe, PSS joined this great idea in 2014.The 10 th jubilee is this year!
The title of the 10th SS is: “Is it Finally Time for Constructiveness?”
The aims of the aims of the First Summer School of Psychoanalysis were:
To strengthen the position of psychoanalysis in the region;
To increase the number of prospective candidates for training;
To inform the broad audience about psychoanalysis, its theory and method, not only in the domain of mental health, but as a theory of culture, that may contribute to many cultural dilemmas of the contemporary times;
To establish the Summer School as a regular annual event in Serbia.
Till now there have been 480 participants, 135 lectures, 15 panel discussions and 60 discussion groups.
The monograph entitled "Contemporary Psychoanalysis - Selected Texts" is being prepared for the 10th Summer School organized by Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia. This monograph is a collection of papers/lectures by domestic psychoanalysts who were active participants of the traditional Summer Schools of Psychoanalysis. This book represents a significant contribution to the understanding of contemporary psychoanalytic through the spectrum of the vision of contemporary Serbian psychoanalysts. It is related to a wide range of topics, from the prenatal period and in vitro fertilization, early development, adolescence, psychopathology, group dynamics, all the way to the reflection of psychoanalysts regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and contemporary social issues such as rape. It consists of texts selected by the authors themselves, including four works by deceased colleagues.
Based upon previous successful cooperation with Austrian Cultural Forum in Belgrade and Sigmund Freud Museum from Vienna, PSS is organizing a ‘joint’ international event: exhibition+conference. Conference “Why Violence” will be held on 17-18th November, 2023. Besides lecturers from our society we will have three guests from abroad (Elisabeth Skale from Vienna, Valentina Lessenska from Sophia and Thomas Jung from Vienna). The overture for the conference will be the hosting of the Freud Museum exhibition: “Violence in Comics”, from 3-17th November.
Open Lectures in City Library
Other structures within the Society
Besides main bodies (Executive, Training and Ethics) PSS functions relying on many Ad Hoc Committees
Free clinic / Counselling
Together with the tele-medicine platform DokTok, PSS launched the campaign "Conversation that heals" and provides free online consultations every day.
Special scientific / clinical / outreach activites
PSS has a wide range of outreach and scientific activities.
PSS initiated the regional international conference “Thinking on the Border” conceived as a biannual conference by twelve psychoanalytic societies from nine countries. The first was held in Belgrade, in June 2017, the next in Rome in 2019, and the third (due to a Covid19 postponement) in Istanbul in 2023. It is an extraordinary opportunity for exchange ideas with colleagues from our geographical area.
Contact: Olga Savostianova,
Ethics Committee Secretary:
PSS Library is developing mostly thanks to the donation in books from BPS and PSS Honorary Member, Jonathan Sklar.
Cooperation with other Institutions, Universities, etc
PSS has a good and continuous cooperation with many public institutions, universities and medias.