About IARPP Australia

Relational psychoanalysis represents a radical evolution from 'one-person,' traditional psychoanalytic theories and practices of the 20th century to a 'two-person' intersubjective processual psychoanalysis of the 21st century. This evolution was led by senior psychoanalysts from the Freudian, Jungian, interpersonal, self-psychology, and object relations traditions who embraced what is now commonly called 'the relational turn.'  These forward-thinking analysts drew from the best ideas that their schools of thought had to offer and embarked upon a collaborative dialogue for a truly contemporary psychoanalysis. With this development came a rejection of the culture of elitist governance often found in psychoanalytic institutes, theoretical dogmatism, and praxis policing.

The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) was founded in 2001 as a community of psychotherapists who are committed to developing relational perspectives in psychoanalysis. IARPP is non-hierarchical in its structure and democratic in its processes. Conversations from different points of view about psychoanalytic theories and practices remain our primary activity, with pluralism as a key value.

A Sydney based group of psychotherapists brought relational psychoanalysis to Australia in 2006. Under the successive leadership of Mary Bayles, Cathy Hicks and Marianne Kennedy, a team of volunteers began the process of challenging the prevailing and limiting views about what constitutes psychoanalytic theory and practice. The Sydney Chapter of IARPP grew rapidly after its first event in 2007 as it discovered a wide audience of professionals who were eager to explore fresh and evolving approaches to psychoanalytic psychotherapy. New ways of thinking about and helping patients and clients were discovered through activities such as relational reading groups and presentations by both local and internationally acclaimed relational psychoanalysts.

Under the leadership of Roberto D'Angelo, the Sydney Chapter of IARPP became the Australian Chapter in 2017. The very successful 14th Annual Conference of IARPP was hosted in Sydney that same year, convened by Cathy Hicks (Aus) and Sarah Calvert (NZ). IARPP-Australia continues to grow as a network of relationally oriented psychotherapists. We now have nodal groups in both Sydney and Melbourne, and we attract psychotherapists to our training events across the country and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. IARPP-Australia is now the second largest IARPP Chapter in the world, second only to the USA. Australia is well represented on the international board of IARPP with Roberto D'Angelo and Cathy Hicks as current members.

IARPP-Australia aims to continue to meet the interests of relationally oriented or interested psychotherapists by offering more and varied training events into the future. We have recently introduced Community Conversations and reading groups in Melbourne and we will continue to present a cast of international and local experts both in-person and in online formats. Twice-yearly symposia will commence in 2019 in both Sydney and Melbourne, and the Inaugural IARPP-Australia National Conference is being planned for 2020. We look forward to seeing IARPP-Australia grow over the coming years and hope you will continue to find the range of events to be stimulating, enjoyable, and extremely helpful in your work with clients and patients.


Gerard Webster Ph.D, Psy.D.



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