5th European Psychoanalytic Conference for University Students – EPCUS

Survival – Psychoanalytic Perspectives


“Only by the concurrent or mutually opposing action of the two primal instincts—Eros and the death-instinct—, never by one or the other alone, can we explain the rich multiplicity of the phenomena of life” (Freud, 1937, p. 243).


When we chose the topic of the 5th EPCUS-conference, we did not suspect that we will live in an exceptional pandemic situation in these days. Nobody knows how we will survive.  For decades it has been denied that our way of life threatens all mankind, although the ecological facts have been known for a long time. Recently, young people have been making it clear that survival in this world is no longer possible without fundamental changes in our policies and way of living.

Freud’s essay entitled “Why war?” is as relevant in our times, full of conflicts, terrorism and extremism, as it was in his days. Psychoanalytically expressed, the destructive and self-destructive potential of man seems unlimited. How can these forces be tamed?

At our fifth EPCUS conference for European students we will investigate a wide range of questions related to this theme. In clinical practice, analysts treat survivors of all kinds of man-made disasters. These patients survive physically, but often with extensive damage suffered on psychic level. What are the classical and contemporary conceptualisations which give us ideas on how to confront the horrors of the Holocaust, and many recent collective traumas?  What are some places of trauma in individual life, from infantile helplessness to its later potential reappearance, and what is the interrelation between individual and collective, dynamics of dependence and struggle, and the paths of symbolization and its failure?

We invite you to investigate further, together with us, the tension between the logic of survival and the denial of the fragility of life, and to inquire into the use of these by social media.

The presentations will also raise issues of the analyst's work under the circumstances of war, of struggling with feelings about the planetary system's collapse, living with the knowledge of death, with dilemmas about sex and gender, carrying memories and surviving through music, with ‘A case of Ode to Joy by Ludwig van Beethoven’.

The EPCUS conference provides the unique opportunity for students and recent graduates to approach the psychoanalytic way of thinking by listening to prominent psychoanalysts, by meeting colleagues, and forming networks, thus gaining perspectives into various aspects of personal development in a distinct atmosphere of learning, exchange, and enthusiasm.

For the EPCUS 2020 Brochure with the Programme – click here!



Nicola Abel-Hirsch is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society, and works in private practice in North London. She is author of "Bion 365 Quotes" (2019) and editor of Hanna Segal’s last book "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" (2007).

Marie-Thérèse Khair Badawi is a full Professor Researcher at St Joseph University, Beirut. Psychoanalyst, member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), the European Federation of Psychoanalysis (EFP), and the Paris Psychoanalytic Society (SPP). President-founder of the Lebanese association for the Development of Psychoanalysis (ALDeP). Publications about transference/countertransference, traumas, masculinity and femininity, femininity and the maternal.

Dr David Bell is a Consultant Psychiatrist in the Adult Department of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust where he leads the Fitzjohn’s Unit a specialist service for the more serious/complex cases. He is a past President of the British Psychoanalytic Society. He publishes on a wide range of subjects including the historical development of psychoanalytic concepts, the psychoanalytic understanding of severe disorder, the relation between psychoanalysis and literature, philosophy and socio-political theory.

Alexander Janssen is a training and supervising psychoanalyst, director of training and past-president of the Dutch Psychoanalytic Society. Works in private practice in Amsterdam and Amersfoort. Executive functions in Psychoanalytic organizations in Europe and worldwide, the IPA: task force on remote psychoanalysis in training and in Ukraine.

Aleksandar Kontić is a psychoanalyst of the Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia. Teaches psychoanalytic psychology of art and creativity at University college in Belgrade. Author of number of publications concerning psychoanalysis, arts, music and creativity. Works in Belgrade in private practice.

Elisabeth Skale is a MD, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst in private practice; Training Analyst of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (VPS); former President of the VPS and Director of the Training Institute VPS; Head of the Department Theory/History/Culture of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy; Austrian Consultant of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival (epff) and COWAP; Publishing on theoretical and clinical issues.

Jasminka Šuljagić is a training and supervising psychoanalyst of the Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia, former president of this Society. Works in private practice in Belgrade. Member the EPF Executive Board, the General Editor. Publications about infantile sexuality, aesthetic concepts, psychoanalytic organizations.

Martin Teising is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, training analyst of the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV), Past President of the DPV, Past President of the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, European Representative in the Board of the International Psychoanalytic Association 2015-2019. Many publications.

Eva Weil is a member of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris, chair of the seminar "collective traumas and their traces in cures, a clinical-theoretical approach" at the SP, EPF & IPA, and associate member at Paris 1 - Sorbonne SIRICE - identities, international relationships and European cultures.

Sally Weintrobe is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and she chairs the International Psychoanalytic Association's Panel on Climate. She edited (2012) "Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspective", shortlisted for the Gradiva Prize for contributions to psychoanalysis.



This conference is of interest for university students and recent graduates, especially in medicine, psychology and other cultural or language sciences.

All presentations will be online, and in English.

The conference is held from Thursday October 1st – till Saturday October 3rd, 2020.

Costs: 25 €

EPCUS 2020 Web Conference Registration Form - click HERE! (download of a document in WORD)

For further information, please contact Frank Goderniaux: frank.goderniaux@epf-fep.eu, Jasminka Šuljagić: jasminkasuljagic@gmail.com, Alex Janssen: a.m.janssen@xs4all.nl, or Martin Teising: teising@t-online.de

Follow EPCUS on www.instagram.com/epcus_epf/ and www.facebook.com/epcus/

For the EPCUS 2020 Brochure with the Programme – click here!