á jour 2012.02.07
Like in the other Nordic countries psychoanalysis has been a very active and all-reaching scientific discipline in the Finnish Society. Slowly, during the last two decades, the interest towards the psychoanalytic knowledge has been reduced. But we still get very good applicants and accept only c. 60 % of them. The candidates are very good; during last years, a new course has begun about every one and a half or two years. Each course comprises about 10 candidates. In the Society we have at the moment c. 220 members and 25 candidates. All candidates but one had a former psychodynamic psychotherapeutic training.
Psychoanalysts have been and still are very active in teaching and training psychodynamic psychotherapists and keeping positions among these associations. This is why psychoanalytic training has in a way become a post-psychotherapeutic profession. This of course has good and problematic features.
At the universities, among the psychiatric and psychology professors, many of them used to be psychoanalysts, at the moment there are c. 8 persons, who have that kind of a position at the university, and some of them are emeritus professors. We have established four years ago a university consortium consisting of these persons and of some others. This consortium aims to encourage people to start and keep on in research and writing academic papers.
In Finland we have a wide research going on, financed by National Insurance pension, The Helsinki Psychotherapy Study, which researches four different kinds of psychotherapies, one of them is psychoanalysis. The outcome results are only partly published yet. There are also some other academic research going on in the field of psychoanalysis.
In the Media, there are often all kinds of popular or half-scientific articles about psychotherapies and psychoanalysis, psychoanalysts are very wished-for interviewees in all kinds of matters, but at the moment less and less full scientific psychoanalytical writings or papers. Psychoanalysts have been interviewed in the television 5 – 7 times during last 5 years, and have published c. 4 “popular” books.
As a medical treatment, psychoanalysis has lost it’s position, partly because in the society, there is a kind of postmodern atmosphere and the intensive, long-lasting psychic treatments are not very popular, partly because the insurance system do not finance any more intensive treatments, but only twice a week psychotherapies for two or three years. The private insurances have accepted the same policy. Also our biggest financier for child psychoanalysis, The Children’s Hospital, prefers at the moment less intensive and shorter treatments.
In the Finnish Society we have a Group for outreach and public relations. This group aims in keeping relations to media and public. For years we had public meetings, “Studia Psychoanalytica”, 4 – 8 times a year, where our members gave a talk or a presentation and there were discussions from the floor. Earlier times, in those meetings were ca. 200 people, later ca. 50, even less. Public discussions have also recently been organized, but they have now been on an inter-disciplinary basis.
In some universities our members have some teaching, for example at the Helsinki university, at the Psychology Department, part of the programme in the psychotherapy field is given by a psychoanalyst. But it is clear that our connections with the academic world has decreased and we hope that our new consortium can help here.
There has been discussion in the Training Committee about starting some kind of introduction lectures or introductory courses for those people who are interested in psychoanalysis, but nothing has been done yet. As I wrote earlier, we have not had until now any difficulties in getting new applicants and candidates. In our Society, the applicants have to be medical doctors or psychologists, only exceptionally we take in other applicants. This is mostly because of the regulations concerning the health care professions.
Inside the society
Our society is quite big, also quite active society. Because at the moment about 40% of our members are living outside Helsinki, in our scientific meeting there are less participants in relation to our amount of members. But when we have our own Congress every second year, about 70 % of the members attend. We have members in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Oulu and in some other smaller cities. These members are very active in the psychotherapeutic associations in these cities. It is difficult to say how many of our members are fully privately practicing, how many also hold positions in the public health care system, we have the impression that almost all of them have some private practice. There are c. 25 child psychoanalyst + 10 childpsychoanalytic candidates.