Call For Papers

IPSO members are invited to present their papers or their cases in the supervision sessions

with Nancy McWilliams. 


Abstract (250 words in English) submission deadline:

31 January 2020

Abstract acceptance notification:

10 February 2020

Registration deadline for presenters:

21 February 2020

Full paper submission deadline:

21 February 2020

Email your abstract and paper to:


As Nancy McWilliams highlights in her book “Psychoanalytic diagnosis” (1994, Rev. ed. 2011), for many people, including some therapists, diagnosis is a “dirty word”.


         According to this view, diagnostic terms are inevitably pejorative: the complex person gets flippantly oversimplified by the interviewer who is anxious about uncertainty; the anguished person gets linguistically distanced by the clinician who cannot bear to feel the pain; the troublesome person gets punished with a pathologizing label.


         Racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and numerous other prejudices can be (and have often been) handily fortified by nosology. “Diagnosis”, however, is not only a static name. As Bion (1963) argues, the name is an invention to make it possible to think and talk about something before it is known what that something is.


          It is simply the first step of a process in which the rest of the time should be spent in trying to understand what that name actually means and to which aspects of the person’s existence it refers. In this sense, diagnosis is also a verb, indicating a dynamic process (the “diagnosing”) that begin immediately and unfold over the entire course of the treatment, a process that intertwines closely with the therapeutic process and orients its development until the end.


           With one day and a half of case studies, paper presentations, and plenary sessions these Ipso Study Days aim to discuss the role of diagnosis in the contemporary psychoanalytic world: Is the diagnosis a phenomenon more related to the culture? Or is it just a term riding the fashions of our present time? Or, rather, is it a valid, clinical concept, which really increase a patient’s chances of being helped?



paintings :   Chantal Velt 

photos:    Monica Bomba

Design & Illustration: Monica Bomba

Design & Illustration: Monica Bomba

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