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Société Fran


The Société française de psychanalyse (SFP; French Society of Psychoanalysis) was born in 1953 out of the first split in the French psychoanalytic movement. The reasons for its creation, already present within the Société psychanalytique de Paris (Paris Psychoanalytic Society), involved disagreements about the criteria for the selection and training of future analysts. The conceptions of Sacha Nacht, among other points of disagreement, were concretized in the statutes of the new Institut de psychanalyse (Institute of Psychoanalysis), and these were opposed by Jacques Lacan. At the administrative session of the meeting of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society on June 16, 1953, Lacan resigned after his presidential mandate was withdrawn in favor of Vice President Daniel Lagache. Lagache then announced his own resignation. Also resigning were Françoise Dolto and Juliette Favez-Boutonier, soon followed by Blanche Reverchon-Jouve. Lacan joined forces with them to found the SFP, which André Berge and George Mauco also joined, though they concomitantly remained members of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society.

During the ten or eleven years of its existence, the SFP proved to be singularly active, productive, and open to other disciplines under the influence of, in particular, Lagache, Lacan, Dolto, Favez-Boutonier, and Georges Favez, seconded by the "troika" of Serge Leclaire, Vladimir Granoff, and François Perrier, who were to play a major role. Among the successes of the society, especially noteworthy are the Royaumont Colloquium of 1961 and the creation in 1956 of the journal La psychanalyse, which was active until 1964, eight issues later.

Meanwhile, a setback came to light. The founders of the SFP did not realize that by leaving the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, they were also, ipso facto, relinquishing their membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association. Thereafter, successive presidents of the societyLagache, Lacan, and Angélo Hesnardrepeatedly approached the International Psychoanalytical Association to get the association to recognize the SFP.

The history of the second split, for anyone who did not actually experience it, is difficult to reconstruct. Those in charge of the future Association psychanalytique de France (French Psychoanalytic Association), except perhaps for Vladimir Granoff in veiled form, have not given their versions of events, while those in rival societies, except for Alain de Mijolla, gave only approximate glimpses often lacking in objectivity, or even obviously biased, imprecise, and polemical.

The reasons for this second split appear to be twofold and intertwined: recognition of the SFP by the International Psychoanalytical Association and the issue of training, in particular, training analysis. After a defeat on the former goal at the 1959 Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Copenhagen, which had dispatched an investigative commission, the next congress, in Edinburgh in 1961, recognized the SFP with the provisional status of a study group and named Lagache, Leclaire, and Favez-Boutonier as members at large, but it combined these decisions with a series of "recommendations"all technical in nature, dealing with training, and challenging the practices of Lacan and Dolto.

The approach of the Stockholm congress in 1963, which was supposed to rule on the request for affiliation, sparked intense discussion, both within the SFP and with members of a new investigative commission. These discussions, not always devoid of misunderstanding or naïveté, mainly involved attempts at reconciliation, notably through the mediation of Granoff and Leclaire. A motion for relative reconciliation was thus presented to the International Psychoanalytical Association on July 11, 1963, by six of Lacan's analysands, dubbed the "motionnaires": Piera Aulagnier, Jean-Louis Lang, Jean Laplanche, Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, Victor Smirnoff, and Daniel Widlöcher; with the support of Didier Anzieu and Jean-Claude Lavie (also analysands of Lacan) and Granoff. But the executive committee of the association, though it added Granoff to the previously recognized members at large, further hardened its requirements, demanding that Lacan and Dolto be excluded from all training activity.

From then on, the split gradually solidified between the two groups: one around Lacan, with Leclaire and Perrier, and the other with Lagache, Favez-Boutonier, Favez, and Berge. The representatives of the first group, until then in the majority in the administration of the SFP, resigned in October 1963 and in December created, around Jean Clavreul, a "psychoanalysis study group" not recognized by the SFP. The second group, which became the majority in November, was recognized by the International Psychoanalytical Association only as a "French study group." The split was then inevitable. The statutes of the Association psychanalytique de France were registered on June 9, 1964, and Lacan, on June 21, announced the founding of the École française de psychanalyse (French School of Psychoanalysis), which quickly renamed itself theÉcole Freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris). In January 1965 representatives of the two societies announced the dissolution of the SFP, whose membership at the time included 20 permanent members, 25 associate members, 4 corresponding members, and 80 candidates.

Jean-Louis Lang

See also: Association psychanalytique de France; Congress of French-speaking psychoanalysts from Romance-language-speaking countries;École freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris); France; Psychanalyse, La; Société psychanalytique de Paris and Institut de psychanalyse de Paris; Splits in psychoanalysis.


Editors of Ornicar? (1977, December). Sur la passe. Ornicar?, 12-13.

Lang, Jean-Louis. (1996). La scission de 1963. Cliniques méditerranéennes, 49-50, 73-77.

Mijolla, Alain de. (1996). La scission de la Société psychanalytique de Paris en 1953: quelques notes pour un rappel historique. Cliniques méditerranéennes, 49-50, 9-30.

. (1988). Splits in the French psychoanalytic movement between 1953 and 1964. In R. Steiner and J. Johns (Eds.), Within Time and Beyond Time (pp. 1-24). London: Karnac.

Roudinesco,Élisabeth. (1990). Jacques Lacan & Co.: A history of psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985 (Jeffrey Mehlman, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1986.)

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