On Bylaws and Training Standards

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Posted September 11, 2007

Amending the bylaws is a long and arduous process. As chair of the Joint Committee on Bylaws I oversee the hard work of our talented and diversified committee as it meticulously drafts a number of relatively simple and non-controversial changes that are the minimum required to achieve compliance with New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. These will come to you in proxy ballots for the January and June, 2008, meetings of members. If approved by 2/3 of the membership casting ballots, that troublesome matter will be behind us. Functionally, little will change.

The amendments will more clearly delineate that the Executive Committee attends to the responsibilities of the Executive Council (board of directors) between its semi-annual meetings. This required change is consistent with my presidential campaign goal of increasing the year-round responsibility and effectiveness of the Executive Council.

I also propose as a long-range goal that certification and possibly references to training and supervising analysts be eliminated from the bylaws. The intent of this would be to permit greater flexibility in managing these two important institutions without having to come back to the members for a 2/3 vote with every modification. BOPS would continue its vital role in setting national standards and furthering psychoanalytic education but could be responsive to evolving developments in psychoanalysis, local and national conditions in the field of practice, and new approaches to learning and assessment.

In actuality, such a change – and its acceptance by the membership – could only occur after an extended process of exploration and discussion across the organization: in committees, in the Executive Council, in BOPS, and in the local institutes and societies. It would have to be acceptable to those most involved in psychoanalytic training and assessment, the educators at a local level and their representatives in BOPS. It would have to take into account the needs of institutes whose ecology and viewpoints vary from the majority. It also might be strongly affected by the outcome of the new committee to assess the advisability and feasibility of moving some functions such as certification to a separate corporation, which would require a different type of bylaws change.

I am more concerned that such a process should take place in a collegial and productive way, so that the results would be broadly acceptable, than I am wedded to any particular solution. Resolving these issues would free up much energy now consumed in internal strife that would be much better employed to deal with the greater scientific and professional concerns that affect our members and the whole field of psychoanalysis. The president has a vision and certain goals that provide leadership during his or her presidency, but ultimately the task is to bring people together and to preside – to see to it that an environment exists where an orderly, broad-based, and mutually respectful. process results in a legitimate outcome that merits widespread acceptance and support. I hope you will conclude that I am well prepared to serve you as that kind of president.

(Posted to Elections List on 9/11/07, revised 9/27/07)

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