The Joint International Conference is an initiative created by the psychoanalytic societies of New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, the William Alanson White Institute and the Adelphi University’s Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. The four societies have been collaborating for over ten years and have hosted five conferences in different cities and countries. The first conference on the topic Taboo or Not Taboo, Forbidden Thoughts, Forbidden Acts in Psychoanalysis was held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, in 1999. Although it was not the intention at the time, the conference was so successful that a decision was made to continue organizing conferences every two to three years. The second conference, on Death and Endings, took place in Dublin, Ireland, at Trinity College, in the summer of 2002. The next conference was organized in Cape Town, South Africa, in the summer of 2005, on the topic Power and its Discontents. The fourth conference, on the topic of Loneliness and Yearning, was held in 2008 in Vancouver, Canada, at the University of British Columbia, while the fifth conference, on the topic of Failure; Psychoanalytic Explorations was held in 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In addition to the four founding societies, the psychoanalytic society of the host city is invited to collaborate and participate in the planned conference. To maintain an intimate and collegial atmosphere, and to provide opportunities for learning about practices in different milieus, participation at these conferences is mainly kept within the five societies – the four founding societies and the host society of the city in which the conference is held. Colleagues from the Psychoanalytic Societies with whom we have previously collaborated are also invited to attend.

Topics and presentations of past conferences have led to the publication of a number of books. The first book was published in 2007 by Routledge under the title, On Deaths and Endings: Psychoanalysts' Reflections on Finality, Transformations, and New Beginnings. The book received the Gradiva Award for Best Anthology in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Goethe award also in 2008. A second book, with the title, Taboo or Not Taboo? Forbidden Thoughts, Forbidden Acts in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy was published by Karnac in April, 2009 and received the Goethe Award. A third book, based on the proceedings from the Vancouver conference, Loneliness and Yearnings, was just published by Routledge, while a fourth book on Failure is being edited and will be submitted for publication by the end of the year.

The sixth Joint International Conference will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, at the Copthorne Hotel, from August 3 – August 5, 2012. The topic of the conference is Alike/Different: Negotiating the Divide. Like the topics of the previous conferences, it is both a broad and relatively under-explored topic and yet one that all psychoanalysts have grappled with in their personal and professional lives. The topic’s broadness and universality will enable prospective participants to submit proposals that cover a range of issues, from experiences of differences and estrangement to cultural boundaries and racial and ethnic differences. The topic has been very well received by members of the four organizing societies and and also by the Aotearoa chapter of the IARPP, and it is expected that the New Zealand meeting will again generate the level of enthusiasm and interest that has become the hallmark of our conferences.