Brief report about development and place of psychoanalysis in Estonia. Tallinn, 13.03.2015
Ben asked me and Jane to make brief report about practicing psychoanalysis in Estonia and the place of psychoanalysis in Estonia. We gladly agreed and we will present not a research but our subjective understanding about this topic.
First contacts 1900-1940. First effort to introduce psychoanalytic ideas in Estonia was made by prominent teacher Aleksander Elango, who has explored psychoanalysis in Wien. He participated in Freud’s lectures and Adler’s seminars. Thoughtful and balanced introduction of psychoanalysis, made by Elango, arise interest in Estonian doctors, teachers and other educated persons. In spite of common interest, use of educational methods based on psychoanalytic ideas and clinical practice was not widespread. Psychoanalysis, as method for cure, was not practiced. Writer Johannes Semper (1924) analyzed national epos “Kalevipoeg” and Estonian national poetry using psychoanalytic approach. Different psychoanalytic ideas can be discovered in novels of many Estonian writers, Anton Hansen Tammsaare for example.
Soviet time 1940-1988. Public discussion about psychoanalytic ideas and practicing psychoanalysis was not possible. Psychoanalysis, with its focus on individuals’ internal world, specifically on unconscious and centrality of sexuality as force motivating individual, didn’t fit with Soviet ideology, focused on existence of human been as been collective, like Borg in Star Trek movie. Psychoanalysis was publicly known and presented only through the eye of criticism of decadent idealistic thinking, supporting capitalist ideology. No psychoanalytic literature was published. Information for people interested about this field, only possibility for information was, getting reprints from authors of Psychoanalytic Journals. For that using Current Content system available in library was common. Many of us, interested in psychoanalysis, used this way very intensely for getting information about developments in psychoanalytic thinking. Remarkable exception, was article published on 1984 in writers’ journal “Looming” by psychologist Mare Pork about defense mechanisms. In spite of ignorance about psychoanalysis in society, David Herbert Lawrence book „Sons and lovers", well known with its psychoanalytic approach, was translated and published on year 1985.
We would like to mention here Estonian philosopher Uku Masing. Reading his books and poetry, you can find the person, who truly understands psychoanalytic ideas deeply and mentions those ideas often. By our understanding, he as a folklorist and developer religious philosophy can be named as first thinker of psychoanalytic ideas in Estonia.
Psychiatrist and writer Vaino Vahing, was one who used psychoanalytic ideas, mostly inclined towards Jung ideas, in his writings (novels and plays) and maybe in some ways also in his clinical work.
Estonian time from 1988. At the end of Soviet time on eighties, psychiatrist Alo Jüriloo joined Vaino Vahing and they wrote together some articles about psychoanalysis, which were published in journal “Vikerkaar”. In 1994 Jüriloo released “Glossary of psychoanalytic terms” translated from English (original in French) in journal “Akadeemia”. Later many basic Freud books were translated by Krista Läänemets, Anne Lill, Maie Tarvas and Tõnu Ülemaantee and published. Publishing of many books about psychoanalysis for public interest translated from Finnish was organized by Andres Adams. First psychoanalytic book in Estonian language “Narcissus and Echo”, was written by Endel Talvik and published on year 2013.
In the beginning of nineties, contacts with Estonian psychoanalyst in Sweden Eve Suurvee and a psychoanalysts Ulla Arnell, Tiit Saarmann and Carl-Erik Brattemo from Finland, begin to develop. In Estonia was formed group of people, who were interested in psychoanalysis and soon first training program was started in Finland for Estonians in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. At the same time first psychoanalytic organization in Estonia, Estonian Psychoanalytic Society was established, now full member of EFPP in Public Sector. From Estonia, two psychiatrists Alo Jüriloo and Meelis Papp joined with Lithuanian colleagues by initiative Finnish psychoanalyst Eero Reckhardt into group, who began to study psychoanalysis in Finland. Meelis Papp is now member of Finnish Psycho-Analytical Society.
In 1994 The Private School of Professional Psychology (PSPP) was established, by initiative of Sinne Naruskberg and Ants Parktal. PSPP had psychoanalytically oriented three year program for basic training in psychotherapy. First time in Estonia, psychoanalytic theories and techniques were teach in classroom by state recognized institution. Many of PSPP graduates continued study for psychoanalytic therapists or psychoanalysts.
The Han Groen-Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe (PIEE) was created in 2001, as the joint venture between International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) and European Psychoanalytical Federation (EPF), with the goal of developing psychoanalysis in countries formerly under soviet influence. Summer schools and seminars for Eastern Europeans were already provided every year since 1994, when the first PIEE summer school took part in Estonia in Kääriku.
In autumn 2000, according to decision IPA, Estonian psychoanalytic therapists were invited to participate in 4-year training in psychoanalysis, (theoretical seminars, shuttle analysis and supervision) offered by Finnish Psycho-Analytic Society under lead of Eero Reckhardt. Four Estonians passed interviews and were accepted on program with other five colleagues from Russia Sankt-Petersburg and one from Latvia Riga. Because of health problems Eero Rechardt left in middle of program and Henrik Enckell lead program until the end in 2004. Four Estonians – Erika Saluveer, Endel Talvik, Andres Adams and Ants Parktal – spend every second week three days in Helsinki having lectures, seminars, analysis and supervision. All four are the direct members of IPA now.
Based on four Estonian and four Latvian psychoanalysts Estonian-Latvian Psychoanalytic Society (ELPAS) (as IPA Study group at the moment) was formed on 2012, under sponsoring committee by Leena Klockars from Finnish Psycho-Analytic Society and Thijs de Wolf from Dutch Psychoanalytic Society . At the moment ELPAS includes eleven psychoanalysts (five in Estonia - Andres Adams (lives now in Finland), Merike Alas, Erika Saluveer, Endel Talvik and Ants Parktal) and six in Latvia) and ten candidates (five in Estonia – Liisi Graf, Edith Herkel, Jane Meimer-Parktal, Lilian Reinson and Ines Vajakas). Second year in training program for candidates will be completed in April of year 2015.
Theoretical orientation of Estonian psychoanalysts is varied, but mainly object relations oriented. As Donald Winnicott was participating in establishment of the Finnish Psycho-Analytic Society, we all are very much influenced by Winnicottian thinking. Some of us are closer to classical Freudian, some of us in Kleinian approach. Our interests are connected also towards work of Thomas Ogden, John Steiner, Ronald Britton, and Andre Green. Lately there is growing interest toward Wilfred Bion way of working.
Other psychoanalytic organizations in Estonia. Estonian Psychoanalytic Association for Child therapy, full member of EFPP in Public Sector is established on year 2003. Organization has 7 members and is active with providing training and conferences. Development of organization began on year 1995, with first teacher Nils Taube. In training of members were participating George Crawford from Scottish Institute of Human Relations; Juliet Hopkins from Tavistock Clinic; Lydia Tischler, Anita Colloms and Allan Levy from British Association of Psychotherapy.
Estonian Association for Group Analysis, full member of EFPP in Public Sector is established on year 2004. Organization has 18 members and provides training and organizes conferences. Members were trained by Lithuanian colleagues Eugenijus Laurinaitis and Erna Petkute and by support from Denmark and Norway.
Estonian Association for Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy established on year 2003, has 6 members and was trained by Finnish psychoanalysts – Raimo Hyttinen, Kari Tuhkanen, Birgitta and Rauno Juntumaa, Juhani Salakari, Pirjo Lehtovuori and psychotherapist Helena Bergman.
Last year Estonian Association of Psychoanalytic Therapy (EAPT) was establish, with aim to unit psychoanalytically oriented professionals and organizations.
Cooperation with other professionals around psychoanalysis. Some words about cooperation with colleagues from other social sciences. In Estonia there are many intellectuals interested in psychoanalysis, as writer Hasso Krull, literature critic Jaanus Adamson, literature scientists Eneken Laanes and Aarne Merilai and many more persons. Eneken Laanes has used psychoanalytic ideas in analysis of traumatic past of Estonians, through different novels of Estonian writers. Growing interest can be seen also toward work of Maire Jaanus from Columbia University, USA. Because of unfortunate passivity from side of Estonian psychoanalytic organizations contacts, between other professionals has not been as systematic as needed for fruitful cooperation.
Universities in Estonia are differently interested into psychoanalysis. Tartu University has no interest in teaching psychoanalysis. In Tallinn University Baltic Movie and Media School, Institute of Psychology and Institute of Art has provided for BA and MA students regularly lectures about psychoanalysis, which have been provided by Endel Talvik and Ants Parktal.
We think that there is growing need from side of psychoanalysts, for creation and development of contacts with colleagues in areas for example of folklore, literature, religion and language. We can see here also problems. Because of obvious caesura between intellectual approach of scientists and clinical approach of psychoanalysts building the bridge might be difficult but hopefully possible. In personal communication Meelis Sütt has described this caesura in following sentence: “Language has to reach the body otherwise you will get the Circle.” (In Estonian language: “Keel peab kehasse ulatuma, vastasel korral ongi Sirp.”), noticing too sophisticated language in articles of weekly cultural newspaper. On can see those articles as kind of intellectual beta elements, not understandable for readers.
Gladly there can be seen some positive developments. Lately EAPT (Aili Maar) organized Lacan seminar with analysis of movie “Love is crime” together with Hasso Krull. Seminar was success and there are plans to continue work with Hasso Krull about Lacan ideas.
Together with psychoanalytic therapist Meelis Sütt, we took close look on problems of translation psychoanalysis from English language into Estonian language. Our understanding about the Estonian language and mental existence, which belongs into Finno-Ugric world and is essentially different from Indo-European languages, originates from Uku Masing. We begin to see those differences as crucial obstacle in translation of psychoanalytic material.
Translating Estonian words, we discovered for example how colonized (as it sees writer Jaan Kaplinski) our minds are by Indo-European thinking. Indo-European mental world penetrated Finno-Ugric world 800 hundred years ago, so we are having experiences of seven century’s history of cultural, economic and religious colonization of our minds. Not to mention 50 years of Soviet time. When we tried to translate English word aggression, in first we understand it in Estonian as attacking, destroying and so long, but this kind of meanings does not belong into Finno-Ugric mentality. Later, looking what aggression means in different Finno-Ugrian languages, we find that meaning of aggression is not attacking or concur, but power is connected more with protecting and holding. Nothing new for linguists’, but for as it created the question – can be possible it at all to translate psychoanalysis in foreign language into Estonian language. We came to hypothesis that it is not possible. If we are translating psychoanalysis directly by dictionaries, not accounting etymology dictionary, different meanings from Estonian language and other Finno-Ugric languages, we will get English psychoanalysis in Estonian, not adequate Estonian psychoanalysis in Estonian.
For creating Estonian psychoanalysis, work about finding appropriate Finno-Ugric meanings for mental phenomenon, has to be made together with people, to whom language is main working tool, and who are competent in essence and richness of Estonian language. For that reason we begin to create and build contact with Estonian poet Peep Ilmet, whose interest into use of the richness of the Estonian language coincides with our interests. We look forward in hope about this cooperation in future with Peep Ilmet.
Uku Masing has written, that because of differences in Finno-Ugric and Indo-European languages and because of mental realities, which depend on language and created by language, Estonian philosophy is not possible. Nevertheless, in personal communication with Peep Ilmet, Masing have said that Estonian psychology can be possible. We think, that so can be possible also Estonian psychoanalysis in Estonian language.
Our work can be just as one little example about situation, in where only psychoanalytic knowledge is not enough for understanding human mind and cooperation with other social sciences is needed, for creating new knowledge and supporting growth.
Thank you for your interest.
Different thoughts are collected, written down and linked by Jane Meimer-Parktal and Ants Parktal (and some thoughts from Meelis Sütt) 08.03.2015