The Forum for Independent Psychotherapists, came into being early 1997 to meet the need for a non-aligned, pluralistic , psychoanalytic organisation.
A number of the first generation FIP members had origins with the Arbours Association. One of the principal inspirers was Dr Michael Pokorny, who had chaired the Working Party that led to the formation of the UKCP. He also organised through FIP a public debate on “The public reaction to Princess Diana’s death.” which raised the profile of FIP in the psychoanalytic world.
Alexandra Pokorny played an essential role in the development of FIP and was the first Chair. It was under Alexandra’s leadership that a lot of the initial structures, various codes, programmes, culture and ethos evolved. FIP attracted many therapists who resented, or disapproved of, the policy of some other psychoanalytic organisations which did not allow their members dual membership of the UKCP and the BPC. FiP was, and still is, an organisation to which people come to grow from their ‘parental’ training organisation.
In the early years because of the diverse backgrounds of members of the FIP Executive, there was a good understanding of some of the politics, personalities and issues involved in the organisational world of psychotherapy at a time when the UKCP, BPC and various UK governments were in a considerable state of flux over their involvement and issues to do with recognition. It meant we also had a reasonable understanding not only of the different theoretical schools, but also those working with adults, children, couples and groups.
In the early years FIP was an active supporter and ‘critical friend’ of the UKCP and there have been FiP members elected on to the UKCP Executive in various influential positions. FIP is a still a non-aligned, pluralistic, psychoanalytic organisation. It continued to be analytic in its thinking and questioning of organisational orthodoxy. FiP has continued to be an organisation that supports its members and encourages development and reflection in a socially aware and analytic manner.
In more recent times, we have welcomed groups of practitioners whose earlier training organisations have closed, who value contact with a mid-sized group over becoming UKCP direct members. While unfortunate for the wider eco-system of psychoanalytic practice, we are very pleased to welcome new colleagues who share this desire to meet in thoughtful ‘slow-open’ group. A transition period is perhaps already underway, where the future of FiP will rest with members who were not part of its original impetus, but who must work to identify and fulfil their shared sense of purpose together. Although the preoccupations of professional life in 2021 are of course different from those of two decades ago, the forum-building inclinations of our founding members are still highly prized by us today.
FiP’s philosophy is to provide a forum where psychoanalytic psychotherapists of different orientations can meet to examine clinical and theoretical issues.