Tribute to John S. Kafka (1921-2020)
EVEN LIVING AND DYING IS NOT A QUESTION OF LIFE AND DEATH
With much sadness we share the news of the death of our senior colleague, teacher and dear friend Dr. John S. Kafka, who died from heart failure on October 13, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Born in Linz, Austria, in 1921, John Kafka was 99 and practiced as a psychoanalyst until recent weeks! His remarkable life was like a breathtaking journey, which included the direct witnessing of the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime in his native Austria, a brief study of philology in France interrupted by World War II, fleeing Nazi occupied Europe in 1940, serving in U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946, studying psychology in the 1940's and 50's, doing a psychiatry residency at Yale University, followed by psychoanalytic training; and working with psychotic patients at the famous Chestnut Lodge together with renowned pioneers in the field including Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and Harold Searles. John Kafka was a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University’s School of Medicine, a supervising and training analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, a research consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health, and a board member of the Freud Archives at the Library of Congress in Washington.
Kafka’s highly original book “Multiple Realities in Clinical Practice,” published by Yale University Press in 1989, was translated into Russian in 2007. He was also the Chair of the IPA Visiting (2004) and Sponsoring (2005-2008) Committees to Moscow.
He leaves behind his wonderful wife Marian – a creative neuroscientist, who many of us remember well from our Schools. Earlier this year John and Marian celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary!
John’s overall and longstanding contribution to the development of psychoanalysis in Eastern Europe was really unforgettable and unprecedented. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, in 1988 John Kafka and Han Groen-Prakken were appointed as co-chairs of the IPA's East European Committee. Sharing a strong belief that “Psychoanalysis (neither clinical work, nor psychoanalytic training, nor psychoanalytic theory building) have ever existed and developed in an average expectable environment» (Kafka, 2004, p.1), John and Han put much of their efforts to co-ordinate and give shape to the enthusiastic and robust, but often chaotic and sometimes controversial initial activities in the “East” in the late 1980's and early 1990's. They had, as John formulated it himself:
“to react against attempts to get us involved in any political power or "turf” issues, such as an IPA versus "Europe” competition. The fact that Han Groen-Prakken was also during some time president of the EPF and the first chair of the EPF’s East European Committee was a strong defense against possible divisiveness. Many decisions were taken in joint EPF - IPA Committee meetings… While welcoming the educational contributions from individuals and psychoanalytic societies, we also had to react against some competing attempts to "colonize" the East by psychoanalytic missionaries representing exclusive ideological or national psychoanalytic orientations (Kleinian, Ego-Psychological, French, German, etc.) Today most orientations are well represented in summer schools and seminars and East European candidates may well be exposed to a broader perspective than many candidates in the West (Kafka, 2004, p.2)
The task of setting up high-quality educational programs in the East:
“in the absence of training analysts and the presence of well-educated eager potential analytic candidates, many of whom had already become sophisticated connoisseurs of psychoanalysis,” - writes John – “presented us with the challenge of inventing an unconventional laboratory of psychoanalytic education that we had to sell as an experiment to the IPA and the EPF… The implementation of these steps demanded a great amount of work from committees of the EPF, the IPA and East European colleagues. In brief, the steps were:
1) Rigorous evaluation of individuals on the basis of their knowledge and performance, and relative neglect of the usually specified pathways that led to their level of knowledge and functioning.
2) Organization of the shuttle and condensed training-analysis arrangements, partly in response to the fact that some who had their training in the West, chose to remain abroad (Kafka, p.3) <…>
Over the years, ad hoc ways of operating evolved into guidelines and more or less flexible requirements and regulations. They formed the basis of the ever more clearly formulated standards and regulations of the Han Groen-Prakken Institute established to function as the educational institution wherever study groups do not yet exist” (Kafka, 2004, p.3).
Looking back to those years today, we can really appreciate the caliber of John’s and Han’s wisdom and hard work which were essential for building the groundwork and establishing the main principles of such a stable and fruitful IPA-EPF cooperation in Eastern Europe, which has from 2002 been fulfilled by the PIEE (2002-20014) and by the EPI (from January 2015 till present.)
As a result of those joint efforts, initiated and shaped by John Kafka, Han Groen-Prakken, Eero Rechardt, Paolo Fonda, Gilbert Diatkine and other colleagues, there are recognized Component and Provisional Societies and Study Groups in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Moscow, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Estonia-Latvia, Bulgaria and Ukraine, as well as 60 trainees and 17 Direct IPA members and pre-Study groups in the EPI regions in St.Petersburg, South of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Siberia and Kazakhstan.
With great appreciation for John’s outstanding, generous contribution to the “East” in his various roles as an IPA representative, we will never forget him as a dedicated, highly-requested and inspiring teacher, keynote speaker and supervisor at dozens of our schools, seminars and conferences, where he was always so attentive to both students and colleagues. We will remember him as a wonderful person and friend with a sharp and receptive mind, able to carefully listen to another point of view, but also to stand up and passionately defend ideas and principles he felt important. We remember as well his help for people who needed his hand, and his spirited sense of humor. John was an elegant dancer, an inexhaustible swimmer and skier, a talented painter and a trilingual punster, and an avid lifelong fan of art, literature, cinema and fine food. We remember the papers and talks he gave to us at various schools and meetings with captivating ideas and titles; here just a couple of them: “When you die, you will miss me. Some thoughts and questions about narcissism”, “Have ever been bored in your dreams?”.
At the last Summer School of the PIEE he attended (Budva, 2014), at the panel “Pain and Time” John presented a beautiful and really moving paper “From Despair to Poignance”. Let’s listen to some of his words from that last meeting of the PIEE and the last time many of us saw John in-person:
“There are moments in a personal analysis that are remembered with great clarity. These moments are thought of as nodal points even if the reasons for their importance are not clear. One such moment in my own analysis occurred when, after a session in which I felt that a great emotional weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I had the absurd thought “even living and dying is not a question of life and death.” I remember exactly where I was when I had this thought… I do not remember the content of the session in which I experienced this lifting of an emotional weight. As I write this, I not only remember breathing more easily but also finding myself breathing easier and more deeply now. The world seemed brighter, colors more vivid and, when I focus on the memory, I experience even now an echo of that change and a widening of the world. I realize that I am describing the lifting of depressive affect, but the reference to depression is too broad, too vague (Kafka, 2014, p.1) <…>
Over the years I have tried to understand the meaning of the specific words “even living and dying is not a question of life and death.” The words have a fixity in my mind that resembles the fixity of words in a dream (Kafka, 2014, p.2) <…>
Michael G. Flaherty, in his paper “Time and the Horizon of Poignancy: Notes on Temporally Induced Sorrow” differentiates poignancy from other affective responses to loss. He does so by assembling “ ... a ... formula for poignancy from a number of concrete instances in everyday life and literature.” (Flaherty, 2012, p. 92) .... “We do not abruptly end a conversation or leave someone’s presence unless we are thoughtlessly or pointedly rude. Ending one’s involvement with another person (even temporarily) is fraught with symbolic implications for mutual respect in interpersonal relations. Will I ever see that person again? Each moment is irretrievably lost, which makes it precious in our sight, its loss poignant precisely because we know our days are numbered. “Farewell is the song Time sings,” writes Margaret Atwood (Atwood 2009, p. 365). It is not an anxious tune but a poignant one (Kafka, 2014, p.4).”
Yes, it's a poignant tune, John… And yes, you will be so much missed!
On behalf of the name of the Han Groen Prakken European Psychoanalytic Institute:
Igor M. Kadyrov, Christoph E. Walker, Endel Talvik, Gabor Szonyi, Joëlle Picard, Tomas Kajokas
Kafka, J.S. (2004) Psychoanalysis Never Developed in an "Average Expectable Environment". Paper presented at the 1st “Psychoanalyst at Work Conference” of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, 7-9 May, 2004. 4p.
Kafka, J.S. (2014) From Despair to Poignancy. Paper presented at the panel “Pain and Time”, PIEE Summer Seminar “Psychic Retreat and Psychic Change” Budva/Montenegro, 22-28 September, 2014, 9p.
(Published on 20th of October, 2020)
As EPF Executive we are very sad to announce that our highly appreciated colleague Dr. Tatjana Pushkaryeva, member of the Ukrainian Psychoanalytic Society, has died in a tragic accident July 2020.
The EPF owes Tatjana Pushkaryeva a lot, because she was a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Ukraine, both for adults and as well for children and adolescents. And she was also a committed lecturer for the dissemination of psychoanalysis especially in Eastern Europe within the framework of the European Psychoanalytic Institute (EPI). In her commitment for the dissemination and promotion of psychoanalysis she has earned great merits. But this did not pertain only to Eastern Europe: at the 2019 EPF conference in Madrid she contributed to the Parent Infant Workshop and during this conference she also celebrated with us the start of the EPI training programme for child- and adolescent psychoanalysis. As part of this programme, she was activ at the 5th annual EPI integration conference in Paris July/August 2019. Her passing is a painful and sad loss for us.
In the following you will find an honourable obituary, written by Paolo Fonda, Italy:
It is with great sorrow that I write of the passing of my beloved wife, Tatjana Pushkaryeva (Kiev, Ukraine), who died on 5.7.2020 in an accident in the Alps.
She was Russian, graduated in Medicine in Stavropol, and worked as a General and Child Psychiatrist. In 1986 she moved to Kiev where, as Doctor of Medical Sciences, she became Scientific Chief of the Centre of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology of the Ukrainian National Academy of Medical Sciences. She was also a member and representative in Ukraine for the World Association for Infant Mental Health.
She was one of the pioneers of psychoanalysis in Ukraine and one of the key organizers for several PIEE Schools as well as for the remarkable EPF East European Seminar in 2000 on a ship that sailed along the river Dnepr. On this occasion, people from the West and the East and the IPA and EPF Presidents laid the foundations for the further development of psychoanalysis and systematic training in Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe. Most of her training took place in Switzerland, and in 2007 she became one of the first two IPA Members in Ukraine, and a few years later was one of the founding members of the Ukrainian IPA Study Group.
As Training Analyst, she dedicated herself to the preparation and teaching of candidates of the newly born Study Group, but she also taught at several PIEE seminars, including the most recent EPI School-2019 in Paris. She was also a founding member of the Ukrainian Association of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy (EFPP) and furthermore, she sought to enrich and broaden the professional education of analysts and psychotherapists, as she considered this essential to strengthen the position of psychoanalysis in the environment. She translated several analytic books and papers from English to Russian and regularly organized seminars in Kiev with renowned Western analysts. She was Teacher and Supervisor of Infant Observation Programs according to the Tavistock Clinical Model and introduced the Parent-Infant Psychotherapy following the A.Freud Centre method. She taught also at the Slovenian Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Society (EFPP) in Ljubljana.
Her analysands, supervisees, students, and colleagues greatly appreciated her dedication, professionalism, wisdom, empathy and warmth.
Paolo Fonda, Trieste, Italy
(Published on 20th of July, 2020)
It is with deep sorrow that the EPF has to announce the death of Prof. Dr. Dr. Horst Kächele, Ulm, Germany. He passed away on Sunday, 28 June 2020. Horst Kächele was an outstanding psychoanalytic researcher and clinician and he was a highly appreciated colleague as well. His death is a deep, painful loss for the whole psychoanalytic community. We are very grateful for all of his psychoanalytic contributions. Please, find an honoring obituary below, written by Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber and Mark Solms.
Death of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Horst Kächele, Ulm
After a long and painful illness Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Horst Kächele died on 28 June 2020 surrounded by his family. With his passing, international psychoanalysis loses one of the pioneers of research in psychoanalysis, a dedicated, pugnacious psychoanalyst and a warm-hearted personality.
Even as a young professor, in the 1980s, Horst Kächele founded the Ulm Workshop for Empirical Research in Psychotherapy, which received great national and international acceptance and admiration. Many of the leading psychoanalytical research groups from all over the world presented their projects in the innovative, creative and inspiring atmosphere of the historically famous building of the Ulm University, and networked with each other. A second milestone was the “Sonderforschungsbereich 129, Psychotherapeutic Processes" of the German Research Foundation, which brought psychoanalysis a great deal of recognition in the world of science and supported many young scientists who were able to write their doctoral theses and habilitations within this framework. Thus, many of them, including myself (Marianne Leuzinger Bohleber), owe their academic careers to Horst Kächele. As creator of the so called “Ulm School of Psychotherapy” as well as being chief of the Center for Psychotherapy Research in Stuttgart (1988-2004), he built a bridge between psychoanalysis and the international community of psychotherapy researchers, and became president of the Society for Psychotherapy Research in the 1990s.
After studying medicine in Marburg, Leeds (England) and Munich (1963-69), Horst Kächele accepted the invitation of Helmut Thomä for a scientific position in the Department of Psychotherapy at Ulm University. He combined his research activities with his psychoanalytic training at the Ulm Institute for Psychoanalysis (1970 – 1975). Helmut Thomä and Horst Kächele became one of the most fruitful psychoanalytic research duos. Together they wrote a three volume textbook for psychoanalytic therapy which has since been translated into 23 languages and is now considered a classic. The two authors received the Mary Sigourney Award in 2004 for this achievement.
Horst was passionately committed to the dissemination of psychoanalysis, especially in Eastern Europe, where he is revered with great gratitude as a teacher. In 1996 he became Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Psychoanalytic Medicine, University St Petersburg. As a staff member of the Research Training Program (RTP) of the International Psychoanalytical Association, he has made a significant contribution to the international promotion of young researchers in psychoanalysis. Especially among his colleagues in South America he is revered as a messenger of psychoanalytic research. With many of them he remained in intensive exchange, through the mail list of the RTP Fellows, the Open Door Review or joint research projects, as e.g. with Juan Pablo Jimenez as Profesor visitande permanente del Universidad de Chile.
So, Horst was a most productive researcher with a large amount of publications but also a great master of intergenerational networking. In a generous manner, with a unique dedication and passion, he literally carried his psychoanalytic and scientific knowledge all over the world, always ready to engage in fierce controversy and debate and to set out for new shores of knowledge. Thus, at the age of 65, he obtained a Ph.D., and after his retirement as Professor Emeritus in the Medical Faculty, he accepted a new professorship at the private International Psychoanalytical University in Berlin, which, as he said, became a "new institutional home".
Horst Kächele leaves behind a large gap, as psychoanalyst, researcher and dear friend. He always seemed to us like a candle burning at both ends, perhaps one of the reasons why he left us so soon, at the age of 76. We share our grief with his wife Beate, his three daughters, the grandchildren, his brother, friends and colleagues. We will miss him!
Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber & Mark Solms
(Published on 8th of July, 2020)
It is with great sorrow that we communicate that the Swedish/Danish psychoanalyst Stefan Bálint died on August 25, 2019, after a bicycle accident earlier in the summer. It is a great loss for the Danish Psychoanalytical Society and for the European psychoanalytic community.
Stefan Bálint was of huge importance for the Danish Society and had many former analysands, supervisees and students in the Society. He was the president of the Society in the 1990’s and in the early 2000’s he was part of the Society’s Training Committee. In the 1970’s he was one of the initiators that made it possible for Swedish psychologists and psychiatrists to train as psychoanalyst’s in the Danish Society in Copenhagen. This initiative has since then given the Danish Psychoanalytic Society its special characteristic of being a bi-national Society with members from both Denmark and southern Sweden.
Stefan Bálint lived and worked in Malmo, Sweden, where he was born and grew up. He was also a member of the Swedish Psychoanalytical Society. Stefan’s engagement in psychoanalysis was great, and since the early 2000’s he was part of the EPF working party on “Listening to listening” where he was a much-appreciated moderator of clinical groups. Besides his psychoanalytic work, Stefan Bálint was also an important figure in the Swedish Bálint-group environment, leading a number of Bálint-groups, training new Bálint-group leaders and being part of a research project for the development of the Bálint-group method.
Stefan Bálint was an exceptionally warm and vital person and he had an outstanding clinical sensitivity, which was a benefit for anyone who had the chance to work with and learn from him. We remember him with gratitude.
President of the Danish Psychoanalytical Society
(Published on 16th of October, 2019)
The EPF has the sad duty to announce the passing away of our former treasurer Duveken Engels. We will honor her and publish here the obituary of our colleague Gerda Frijda:
The Dutch Psychoanalytic Society sadly announces the passing away of Duveken Engels.
Duveken has been a very active and valuable member of our Society. Not only was she a conscientious clinician, but she also has served as treasurer, secretary, and several terms as President, under critical circumstances.
Apart from this she was extensively involved in educational and training activities abroad.
First in Rumenia and Lithuania, and later at the Han Groen Prakken Institute for Eastern Europe. For these last achievements our former Queen has appointed her Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau in 2012.
Her managerial capacities led her to the EPF, where she has served a double term as treasurer, from 2003 on. With sharp insight Duveken has played a part in creating a sound financial basis for the EPF, and she made a contribution towards new transparency in rules and arrangements. Because of her experience and connections in Eastern Europe she was at the same time appointed liaison officer for the PIEE. She also has been a member of COWAP.
In all her positions and roles she impressed with dedication, loyalty and sincerity.
Duveken died last April, after a sickbed endured with dignity and courage.
(Obituary published on7th of July, 2018)
It is with deep sorrow that we as EPF Executive have to announce the passing of our highly respected former President Anne-Marie Sandler.
Anne-Marie Sandler died July 25th, 2018.
Anne-Marie Sandler was President of the EPF from 1983 to 1987.
She was also training analyst in adult, adolescent and child analysis and a Distinguished fellow at the British Psychoanalytical Society, Honorary Member of the German Psychoanalytical Society (DPG), Director of the Anna Freud Centre from 1993-1996, President of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 1990 to 1993 and Vice-President of the International Psychoanalytical Association from 1993 to 1997. In 1998 she was awarded the prestigious Sigourney Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Psychoanalysis, in 2015 she received the EPF Award for a Distinguished Contribution to Psychoanalysis.
Anne-Marie Sandler had been linked to and engaged in the EPF since its very first beginning. Even if she had stated in an interview 2015, that she experienced the start of the EPF “…somehow ‘second hand’, through the engagement of my husband Joe….” (Josef Sandler), she accompanied the very first European Conference in Geneva in June 1970 with great interest and enthusiasm. This first Conference had been a symposium on child analysis. She intensified her commitment in a second Conference in Aix-en-Provence 1976, after her husband Josef Sandler had become EPF President in 1975. Cooperating with him, she participated in developing the new organizational structures of the EPF, and in 1983 she took over the presidency of the EPF from Daniel Widlöcher in Jerusalem. She stayed in charge of the EPF until 1987. In the years following her presidency, she remained very active in the EPF. Due to her outstanding capacity for building bridges between different psychoanalytical societies and psychoanalysts, she supported and contributed essentially to the continuous growth of the EPF until today.
Her integrative capabilities and European orientation rooted in her early experiences and encounters with different European cultures and languages. She was born in December 1925 in Geneva, Switzerland, and she grew up in a francophone environment with a German nanny. Both parents had a Jewish-German background, but Anne-Marie Sandler´s relation to German culture and language had been cut off abruptly as the Nazis came to power in Germany. Between 1950 und 1954 she trained as a child analyst at the Hampstead Clinic, London, and between 1965 and 1968 as a psychoanalyst at the British Psychoanalytical Society. In the beginning of the new millennium, it was her readiness for reconciliation as Chair of a Joint Steering Committee of the IPA, which helped the German Psychoanalytical Society (DPG) to become reintegrated in the IPA and the EPF. This step also facilitated the rapprochement between the two German societies, German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV) and German Psychoanalytical Society (DPG).
Anne-Marie Sandler´s death represents a big loss not only for the people who learned from her but also for the whole psychoanalytical community. She is not with us anymore, but she will stay in our minds and thoughts as a most stimulating model. She leaves us with a large number of publications and besides her outstanding achievements in psychoanalysis, we commemorate her as a person of deep humanity and tolerance. She expressed these characteristics also in her following statement: “Thanks to the EPF I gained a greater awareness of the fact that other people work differently and it doesn´t disturb me anymore. Others are not bad or stupid, they are thinking differently and probably their environment is different – The EPF helped me a lot into realizing this fact. “
But we all know that this attitude was reciprocal: the EPF also learned from Anne-Marie Sandler to open up and to acknowledge differences for the sake of mutual exchange and communication.
Anne-Marie Sandler´s open mind and her personal work will remain in our memory and they convey a great message: Psychoanalysis and life are not fixed in books but are a way of thinking, of listening and finally of being!
We commemorate Anne-Marie Sandler with deep gratitude.
Jorge Canestri, President
Heribert Blass, Vice President
Eva Schmid-Gloor, Vice President
Martina Burdet Dombald, General Secretary
Katy Bogliatto, Treasurer
Charlotta Björklind, General Editor
Further information about the person and the life of Anne-Marie Sandler can be found on the website of the Institute of the British Psychoanalytical Society. Please click here if you would like to open this page !
(Obituary published on 28th of July, 2018)
Anne-Marie Sandler and the EPF, An interview with Eva Schmid-Gloor, 29 August 2015, in: Frisch, S. Bleger, L. Burkert, U. Janssen, A.M., Schmid-Gloor, E., Ylander, F. (Eds.): 50 Years of the European Psychoanalytical Federation, Psychosozial-Verlag, 49-53
Michel de M'Uzan
It is with great sorrow that we communicate the passing away of Dr. Michel de M'Uzan who greatly influenced the French psychoanalytic approach thanks to his own particular way of thinking. His work included the psychosomatic, masochism, the exploration of identity disorders and the repetition compulsion. Michel de M'Uzan was a full member of the SPP (Société Psychanalytique de Paris), a member of the board of the Revue Française de Psychanalyse and co-chair of "Le fil Rouge" (Presses Universitaires de France) since 1972.
(Obituary published on 14th of January, 2018)