Pain in the Analytic Session: Threat or Opportunity?
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th May 2018 

At the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy


Registration is normally restricted to members of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) and some invited guests and candidates. If you are a candidate or not a member of the IPA please contact one of the moderators or email


The meeting will mainly consist of moderated small group clinical workshops discussing a presenter's method of doing psychoanalysis in one case (usually through two sessions) in depth. The workshops last for about ten hours in total and use the CCM method of discussion. The workshops are informed by the ongoing work of the CCM Association moderators for the past fifteen years.

 Some informal large-group presentations, describing the Association’s work over the last year, will also take place - this year focusing on the theme of pain in the analytic session and how its recognition can become an opportunity.

The CCM method, originally developed as part of the European Psychoanalytic Federation's Ten Year Scientific Initiative involves structuring discussion in steps - ordinary clinical discussion focused on the presenter's work in the sessions, close focus on the function of each of the presenter's interventions (Step 1) and construction of the presenter's working model of psychoanalysis (Step 2). These formulations are then further discussed in the moderators' group some months later and the overall thoughts eventually fed back to the workshop group and the presenter. 

Pain in the Analytic Session: Threat or Opportunity?

This year's theme has emerged from the workshops we held in Vienna and Buenos Aires in 2017 and then the discussions we had afterwards. We found ourselves thinking about how our patient’s most difficult early experiences (and the ways they are held back by how they survived in response to them) get into the sessions. Is there common ground about how they can become transformed or not in psychoanalysis, or if not, what are the lines of divergence?

Papers on countertransference are the most downloaded on PEPWEB. It is a sign, perhaps of what we feel most uncertain about and want to know more about. Certainly, what struck us about the invariably difficult cases discussed in in the last few months, was the intense and sometimes lonely pain that we thought analysts were experiencing as they were exposed to their patient’s behaviour or stories in session. Pain in the analytic session, it seems, known or hidden, is experienced in many and varied ways – sometimes apparently paralysing the analytic process and sometimes becoming transformed to be used as an opportunity for progress.

Pain seems to be around a lot in current discourse. Some psychoanalysts and their institutions are experiencing profound existential pain: at the institutional level, some think psychoanalysis is endangered because modern economic, social and emotional pressures are creating patients who do not fit classical descriptions so that practice and training needs to be much less “rigid”. Others feel this will obliterate any specific distinction between psychoanalysis and psychotherapies. In the sessions we discuss, taken from our workshops, the psychoanalysts presenting or group members responding to presenters, often seem to feel painfully under threat and obligation, as we have noted before. Sometimes, despite the 2-Step method, group members find themselves more or less subtly attacking presenters, at other time protecting and praising them a bit too lavishly. 

Many patients present severely problematic early histories – whether of apparent neglect, insensitivity or outright cruelty and abuse. This can turn up in sessions with accounts of how analysts have become very unsure if psychoanalysis is the treatment of choice. It can then lead to heroic or special measures to accommodate patients – for example, through feeling forced, for the sake of the survival of the patient or the analysis, to adjust fees and technique (such as whether or not to interpret transference directly) or to adjust the setting by accepting telephone, Skype or face-to-face sessions. A particular feature of these situations is that group members are absolutely convinced either that the adjustment is or is not absolutely necessary. Presenters are often surprised at any doubts mentioned in the workshops. Special measures they had taken had often not been mentioned to the moderator ahead of the workshop. Presenters might be implicitly criticised by some at this point or defended by others, as though the analysts were extremely fragile.  Clearly, when threats are in the atmosphere, doors get closed as ways of thinking about them, their origin and the alternative ways they might be dealt with, all become hard.     

On the first Friday afternoon, we will attempt a spontaneous roundtable discussion between the moderators to talk about why we chose this theme and to open up what we think may be crucial about it. We think recognising and differentiating when and how one is in pain and when and how the patient is feeling pain, may be crucial if analysts are to seize any opportunity there may be to transform pain into change.

We will also be presenting some working papers addressing some of the relevant issues we discover in the working models of psychoanalysis that we have been finding. 




25th May 

13.30- 14.00

Register at the At the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy (Vienna, Salzgries 16/3)

14.00 -1600

Introductory Plenary Session 1, for all participants.  Introduction to the two step method and the role of the groups. Roundtable on the work of the moderators and what we are finding out. 



Coffee Break



Up 5 Moderated Small Group Workshops using the CCM method. Session A (Presentation, Discussion, 1st 2 Interventions discussed in Step 1) (2 hours 30 minutes)



Free in Vienna

Saturday 26th May

9.00 -12.30 with coffee break 20 minutes

Up to 5 Moderated Small Group Workshops continue using the CCM method. – Session B (Complete Step 1, Begin Step 2) (3 hours. (3 hours, 10 minutes)



Break for lunch and exploring Vienna



Plenary Session 2 for all participants. Reports from the Moderators.



Coffee Break


16.15 – 18.30

Up to 5 Moderated Small Group Workshops continue using the CCM method. – Session B (Continue Step 2). 2hrs


20.00 -

Optional Conference Outing and Dinner in Vienna

Sunday 27th May

9.00 -11.30


Up to 5 Moderated Small Group Workshops continue using the CCM method. Session D (Complete Step 2 and discussion). (2 hours, 30 minutes)



Coffee Break


12. 00 -13.00

Plenary Session 3 for all participants.


Meeting Ends



Large Group Plenaries Friday and Saturday Afternoon, Sunday morning.

We will devote the first plenary on Friday to an introduction and to some discussion of the progress of the project in 2017 - reflecting on the evolution of the two-step method, the role of the workshop groups, the work of the moderators and why we have taken Pain the int Analytic Session as the theme for 2018. The workshops help to fund travel for the moderators to meet to discuss the workshops and we have been mulling over the issues and experiences. 

On Saturday afternoon, we will elaborate our thinking on some topics and hope to facilitate discussion in the groups by feeding back some of the core issues relevant to the theme. 

In the final session on Sunday morning there will be an opportunity for evaluation and feedback.


Friday Evening

Friday evening is free for participants to enjoy the City.


Saturday Evening

An informal self-service buffet will be arranged for all those attending the meeting who wold like. You will receive an email invitation near the event.


Vienna is an easy city to visit with good cafes and restaurants and many excellent museum. You can just stroll or bicycle around. Our meeting place is very central and at walking distance from:

City Centre, Stephans Dome, Imperial Castle: 10 Min.

Sigmund Freud Museum Berggasse 19: 15 Mins.

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts): 20 Mins away.

Moderators in 2018

The workshops will be moderated by one or two moderators who have experience of CCM groups and take part in the moderator groups.The moderators and CCM members organising the 2018 symposium are:

Dana Birksted-Breen: British Psychoanalytical Society
Olivier Bonard Société Suisse de Psychanalyse
Georg BrunsGerman Psychoanalytical Association
Anna Christopoulos: Hellenic Psychoanalytic Society 
Michael DiercksVienna Psychoanalytic Society
Eike HinzeGerman Psychoanalytical Association
Marinella Linardos: Italian Psychoanalytic Association.
Regine Prat: Paris Psychoanalytic Society
Jordi Sala: Spanish Psychoanalytic Society
Michael Sebek: Czech Psychoanalytic Society
David Tuckett: British Psychoanalytical Society


250 Euros for participants enrolled before February 28th 2018
350 Euros thereafter.

Note the large jump for those after January 31st, so please apply early. Presenters have to be arranged well ahead for these workshops and so we wish to incentivise those registering early. This will also make your travel and accommodation more reasonable.

The fee covers participation in all events and coffee and snacks during the meeting Participants make their own arrangements about meals and accommodation.

Note: Up to 10 CCM associate fellowships will be offered to participants from countries in the former Soviet Union or what were its previous satellites. Associate fellow receive a 50 Euro reduction in their fee.  

The fee covers participation in all events and coffee and snacks during the meeting Participants make their own arrangements about meals.

Hotels, Accommodation, and Time of Arrival

  • The earlier you book your accommodation the better.
  • or similar websites have many hotels near the Vienna Academy and past participants have found relatively inexpensive apartments on these sites.
  • Be sure to arrive before 14.00 on Friday. We end at 14.00 on Sunday.
  • Vienna airport is very close to the City by bus (from near the Academy), train or taxi.


Registration, Administration and Payment

The Association is “virtual” (and so administered by the moderators with no support) and the Vienna societies are not able to receive phone calls or provide information.

You register by completing the form available at the link below and then by sending an Internet money transfer to the association’s bank account in Lausanne.

Please be sure that the name you use for your money transfer refers to the name with which you register!

To be on the safe side, please send an email to when you send your bank transfer. If you have problems making a payment please also advise us. 

It will be possible to pay cash in Vienna, if this has been agreed beforehand.

Tax receipts will be made available at the meeting.