This issue of THE LETTER brings together a selection of papers from those presented at the 8th Annual Congress of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland, held in November 2001 at the Education and Research Centre in St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin. The format for that congress was somewhat different from those of past years. And this in virtue of the occasion which APPI wanted to mark in its own way – the centenary of the birth of Jacques Lacan. This departure from previous congresses was, for the first time ever, a two-day event: The Legacy of Jacques Lacan: l’envers de la psychanalyse, drawing together firstly, the work which had been done by those following the reading of Lacan’s Seminar XVII from 1969-70, and which was made possible by Cormac Gallagher’s unpublished translation of the text, and secondly, the work of those looking back over the legacy left by Lacan and the various arenas in which that inheritance might be extended and built upon.
The expanded programme offered the Association the opportunity to address a number of issues pertinent to the membership at this point in its history. So in addition to the work on Seminar XVII it was possible to introduce a section on training, on the work of the clinic, and a valuable section on the interface of psychoanalysis with the institutions. Although usually at this point in the introduction we give some indication of the content of the articles which appear here, this time we leave the reader to review at his leisure the result of the various contributors encounters with Lacan. It will not, however, diminish the status of any of the other contributions if we single out two for special mention: while over the years, Cormac Gallagher’s overview of the year’s Seminar has become a tradition in itself, an opening to the congress which sets the scene for what follows, this culmination of the painstaking work of translation and the careful reading which this demands gives his Overview a status which deserves to be underlined for those who may not be familiar with the behind-the-scenes effort. For those who already are familiar with all of this one might well say ‘it goes without saying’. But we take the opportunity of saying it anyway.
The second contribution which we would like to single out is Mary Darby’s, quite simply because, while for many many years she has been a figure of importance in eking out a place for psychoanalysis, she rarely takes the centre stage to have her say. Her reflections on the field of psychiatry, coming as they do from someone of her experience and commitment in the field of mental health, and her support for what psychoanalysis can bring to bear on related disciplines, deserve careful reading.
Apart from the many opportunities for presenting work on the day and for meeting new contributors, the congress this year also provided an occasion for welcoming back to Dublin many who have been undemanding friends to APPI over the years and who made the journey to our city once more to celebrate with us.
Before leaving you to make your way back through a memorable weekend in the history of APPI, it remains for us to pay a special tribute to the organisers. Their monumental efforts made it all look easy. None of them will be offended if we make special mention of Pauline O Callaghan’s input. The remarkable thing was that she was not even once heard to say when it was all over – Never Again!
Finally, apologies for the late arrival of these proceedings, but eventually and even if a little later than usual – Spring has Sprung!