“The young-old balance is shifting throughout the world”

Report from the Committee on Ageing of Patients and Psychoanalysts (CAPP)


According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “The young-old balance is shifting throughout the world. The increasing proportions of aged persons have been accompanied, in most populations, by steady declines in the proportion of young persons.”  This is true in the international world of psychoanalysis as well.  Awareness of this shift is gradually rising to the surface throughout the world of psychoanalysis, especially in relation to the financial impact this may have on organizational psychoanalysis. The educational, environmental, social and ethical consequences of this apparent graying of psychoanalysis are additional foci of study of CAPP.


In 2002, Gabriele Junkers founded the European Psychoanalytic Federation's (EPF) Ad Hoc Group on Ageing.  In response to the group’s panel on Ethics and Ageing (2004 EPF Helsinki), Claudio Eizirik had the foresight to bring the study of ageing to the IPA. CAPP was established in 2007, chaired by Gabriele Junkers, with the mandate to study the implications of these demographics:


  • Potential patients grow older  
  • Psychoanalysts and Training Analysts grow older
  • The Societies work in a wider multigenerational setting


Work on the mandate has been proceeding in multiple ways including panels, a book publication and a large, complex questionnaire project to compile a Map of Ageing of the IPA. This questionnaire survey collects data on age demographics of analyst members, candidates and training analysts and quite a bit more.  It collects data on local Society/Institute/ Center policies related to ageing such as:


    • In your Institute are there any age limits for taking on or giving up Institute positions (roles in the Institute)?
    • In your Institute, are Institute’s fees adjusted by age? e.g. Can elderly colleagues stop paying fees (dues)?


Data focused on the impact of demographic shifts on the community environment such as:


    • In your Institute, do you have any rituals or farewell ceremonies for the ageing member or the members who will retire?
    • Do you ever meet any problem in your Institute concerning ageing and ageing members?
    • What is the main contribution by elderly colleagues to the institutional life?


And data focused specifically on candidates such as:


    • Has the age distribution of psychoanalytic candidates changed during the last 10 years?
    • In your Institute, are there any age limits (upper or bottom) to become a candidate?
    • Have you any plans for changing or trying to affect the age distribution of the candidates?
    • Do you think that the motives for applying to training have changed?


These Mappings of Analyst Age Demographics were initially done for European Societies. The findings have been presented in the EPF Panel Brussels 2009 and IPA Panel Mexico City 2011.  Survey response rate was remarkable. Twenty-four of 36 societies completed the questionnaire. The reported results cover 4635 members and 1818 candidates. Key findings include:


  • The ‘problem of ageing’ is prominent in the “component, more established” Societies. This is less evident in the “young, more recently formed” groups.

  • 70% of the component Society membership is between 50 and 70 year old; 50% is 60 and older. Within the component Societies, 16.5%  of the membership is 70 years and older. More than 20% of the training analysts within Component Societies are over 70 years old.

  • Only 7.6% of the “young” Society membership is over 70.


  • Few societies have policies related to retirement of membership, the holding of Society positions or clinical practice.

  • In Societies with policies or recommendations for age or circumstance under which no new Training Analyses should be initiated, these policies are often not respected or monitored for enforcement.


The project has been extended to the North and Latin America regions with a more limited response rate and more limited data. The ageing trends do seem to be evident in North America and some Societies of Latin America.


The issue of Recruitment of Candidates holds a special place of importance for the future of psychoanalysis worldwide, so we plan to report on the collected data on Candidates in our next report for this Bulletin.



Committee Members:

Gabriele Junkers, Chair

Maria Teresa Savio Hooke

Cláudio Laks Eizirik

Miriam Fichman Fainguelernt

Stephen K. Firestein

Audrey Kavka

Leena Klockars

Batya R. Monder

Guillermo Julio Montero

Enrique Mauricio Rozitchner

Martin Teising