Federación Psicoanalítica de Am

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Formerly known as the Coordinating Committee of Psychoanalytic Organizations of Latin America (COPAL), the Federación psicoanalítica de América latina (FePAL; Psychoanalytic Federation of Latin America) brings together the Latin American psychoanalytic societies recognized by the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA).

FePAL's objectives are as follows: to stimulate the expansion of member societies and the development of the psychoanalytic movement throughout Latin America within the framework of the IPA's established rules and stated goals, without prejudice to the autonomy of the organizations in the federation; to represent the common interests of member societies and their associates before the IPA; to create a forum for scientific exchange through publications, congresses, and meetings, among other activities; to facilitate scholarly exchanges among member organizations, the establishment of teaching programs, and training criteria in the various institutes; to encourage the spread of psychoanalysis in Latin America; and to develop and offer advice and assistance to the psychoanalytic movement in areas where there is no member organization.

The Third Latin American Psychoanalytic Congress (the two preceding congresses were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and São Paulo, Brazil) was held in Santiago, Chile, in 1960, under the aegis of the Chilean Psychoanalytic Association. Ignacio Matte-Blanco was president of the organizing committee. At the administrative meeting, the decision was made to establish a Coordinating Committee of Psychoanalytic Organizations of Latin America (COPAL), presided over by Arnaldo Rascovskya veritable impresario for the idea of bringing Latin America's psychoanalysts together as an association.

COPAL was provisionally made up of the representatives of the societies or groups present at the meeting: for Bogotá (Colombia), Carlos Plata Mújica; for Mexico City, Avelino González; for Montevideo (Uruguay), Willy Baranger; for Porto Alegre (Brazil), Cyro Martins; for Rio de Janeiro (Brazil; Sociedade Brasileira de Rio de Janeiro), Fabio Leito Lobo; for São Paulo, Darcy de Mendoça; for Santiago, Carlos Whiting D'Andurrain; and for Buenos Aires, Arnaldo Rascovsky.

COPAL acted as a pressure group before the IPA and succeeded in gaining representation on the IPA's steering committee. Léon Grinberg was the first Latin American representative to sit on the steering committee, followed by Avelino González, from Mexico, and later Luiz Dahleim, from Brazil. They were in turn succeeded by Carlos Plata, from Colombia; David Liberman, from Argentina; and Paulo Grimaldi, from Brazil. Later, this trend toward authorizing Latin American participation on the committee stabilized, and Angel Garma was elected honorary vice president of the IPA. Latin America's active political presence in psychoanalysis worldwide led to the granting of two vice presidencies for that continent. Thanks to the active intervention of this group, led initially by COPAL and later by FePAL, Latin America has obtained three vice presidencies on the IPA's governing board. The first IPA congress in Latin America was held in Buenos Aires in 1989; the second was held in Santiago in 1999.

During the 1960s and 1970s, through the efforts of teaching analysts who traveled to various regions to disseminate psychoanalytic knowledge, COPAL was extremely effective in promoting the scientific development of the discipline, particularly in areas where the discipline was not yet well developed.

The exercise of political power brought internal frictions to COPAL , and at the International Congress of Psychoanalysis held in New York in 1979, a meeting between the organization's governing authorities and its delegates led to the resignation of a number of dignitaries, not without expressions of tensions, attitudes, and demonstrations that became extremely subjective in the case of some participants. This institutional crisis led to a new organization with participation of the societies, established groups, and groups-in-formation. An assembly of delegates was convened in Rio de Janeiro on June 6, 1980; the delegates approved the statutes of a new organization called the Federación psicoanalítica de América latina (FePAL), charged with the scientific development of Latin American psychoanalysis and organization of its congresses and exchanges between various regions. Primacy was given to democratic participation, and an order of succession to leadership of FePAL was established and has been respected ever since. Since its inception, FePAL has organized ten congresses; it serves as the umbrella organization for psychoanalysis throughout Latin America.

The successive presidents of COPAL were: Arnaldo Rascovky, Marie Langer, Santiago Ramirez, Carlos Plata Mújica, David Zimmermann, Willy Baranger, Darcy M. Uchoa, and Fernando Cesarman. FePAL's successive presidents include: Joel Zac, Fernando Cesarman, Néstor Goldstein, Victor Aiza, Fábio Antonio Herrmann, Eustachio Portella Nunes, Alberto Pereda, Saul Pen̈a, Alejandro Tamez Morales, Guillermo Carvajal, and Cláudio Laks Eizirik (1998-2000).

As of 2004, the federation included twenty-seven societies and study groups. New realities and the need for a more flexible and representative structure that would benefit from a more active participation by the presidents of member organizations have prompted debate on the reform of FePAL's statutes. The congress held in September 2000 in Gramado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) was organized around the theme of "Psychoanalysis and Culture: Between the Couch and the Community." The pre-congress teaching workshops held in conjunction with the congress and focusing on "Children and Adolescents," "Myths," and "OCAL" attracted increased participation. At a meeting in February 2000 in Manaus (Brazil) there was a new edition of the Clinical Meetings of FePALNAIPAG to mark the opportunity for Latin American and North American psychoanalysts to come together to discuss their clinical material and to share and compare their experiences.

The federation is in negotiation with the European Psychoanalytical Federation (EPF) to resume and establish regularity in the scheduling of FePAL-EPF Clinical Meetings. FePAL's Boletín (Bulletin) is published every six months; the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicoanálisis (Latin American revue of psychoanalysis) was restructured in keeping with the format and policies of the main international psychoanalytic journals. FePAL offers societies and study groups the possibility of an annual scientific exchange with invited participants from other Latin American institutions, and is considering an exchange program with analysts in other regions.

In 1998, FEPAL held its XXII congress in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, whose title was Cumbre Psicoanalitica Latino-Americana (Latin American Psychoanalytic Summit), under the presidency of Guillermo Carvajal. Several international authors gave lectures. In 2000, its XXIII Congress was in Gramado, Brazil, about Psicanálise e Cultura: Entre o Divã e a Comunidade (Psychoanalysis and Culture: Between the Couch and the Community), under the presidency of Cláudio Laks Eizirik. This was an extremely well attended congress, where the leading authors of the analytic field were present, and psychoanalytic research and the history of psychoanalysis in Latin America, were formally included in the program, as well as joint discussions with outstanding members of Latin American culture. The XXIV Congress was in Montevideo, in 2002, under the presidency of Marcelo Viñar, having as main theme Permanencias y Cambios en la Experiencia Psicoanalítica (What is permanent and what changes in the psychoanalytic experience). This Congress privileged small groups discussions, was also very well attended and introduced sending previously all papers by disc to all those registered, so that there were no formal presentations, but immediate discussions among the participants. In 2004, the XXV Congress was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, under the presidency of Serápio Marcano, with the main theme Psicoanálisis en Latinoamerica Hoy: Teoria y Práctica en tiempos de Crisis (Psychoanalysis in Latin America Today: Theory and Practice in a Period of Crisis).

Several clinical meetings were organized, in recent years, with North American colleagues, which stimulated fruitful exchanges. In recent congresses, from Fepal as well in those organized by the European Federation, and the North American institutions, there are invited members from the other two regions, which indicates a growing interchange. Fepal holds its administrative meetings regularly, publishes its Revista Latino-Americana de Psicanálise (Latin American Journal of Psychoanalysis), and has an ongoing scientific program of exchanges among its component societies. In spite of difficult social and economic conditions in most countries of Latin America, psychoanalysts and candidates affiliated to FEPAL keep a continuous and passionate interest and commitment with psychoanalysis and contribute to its development both as a theory and a clinical practice.

In the next IPA Congress to be held in Rio de Janeiro, in July, 2005, the first one in Brazil, the second Latin American will become the IPA president, Cláudio Laks Eizirik, following the pioneer role of Horacio Etchegoyen, in 1993.

Beyond these activities, another dimension should be taken into account: FePAL provides a forum for meetings and joint reflection on psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice in the specific context of the particular cultures of the countries it represents and within the framework of a broader Latin American identity, with all the challenges currently posed by that condition.

ClÁudio Laks Eizirik


Eizirik, Cláudio Laks. (1998). Porqué Fe.P.A.L.? Boletin informativo de la Fe.P.A.L. (2nd semester).

Sanchez-Medina, Guillermo. (1998). Sesenta años de psicoanálisis en Latinoamérica. Homepage Federación psicoanalítica de América latina.

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