Almaty seminars, Kazakhstan

Photo of the view of the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, against a mountain backdrop
The city of Almaty, Kazakhstan

The Melanie Klein Trust supports regular seminars in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for a group of mental health professionals.

The country has no formal psychoanalytic training or any psychoanalysts recognised by the International Psychoanalytical Association. Initially, seeds of interest in psychoanalysis and Kleinian thinking among this group were sown by Sergei Grachev in 2013. Tatiana Fazleeva and Victor Marchenko, who both have a long-term interest in psychoanalysis, have since undertaken a big effort to organise regular psychoanalytic seminars in Almaty.

In 2017, Tatiana Gracheva and Sergei Grachev visited Almaty twice to provide weekend seminars, and ran an additional seminar on Skype. From March 2018, with support of the Melanie Klein Trust, seminars have taken place four times a year, led by four teachers: Tatiana Gracheva, Sergei Grachev, Petya Petkova and Gustaw Sikora. Currently, the group consists of 20 members.

The seminars

Each weekend seminar starts with a plenary introduction, followed by work in two smaller groups: four clinical seminars in which participants present their clinical work, and two theoretical seminars where pre-read papers are discussed. The seminar concludes with a plenary discussion on issues raised during the weekend of teaching.

Photograph of Charyn Canyon
The spectacular Charyn Canyon

To date the following topics have been covered:

  • Projective identification
  • Setting
  • Paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions
  • Transference and counter-transference
  • Oedipus complex

The group

The group started with 16 participants, but during the initial stage a few members dropped out and several others joined. Currently and for some time, the group achieved the stable membership of 20.

Photograph of Kaiyndy Lake, Kazakhstan
Kaiyndy Lake, known for its blue-green waters and pereserved underwater forest

Alongside professionals from Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan, members from other countries fly in to Almaty for seminars; namely from Minsk (Belarus), Moscow and St Petersburg (Russia). All members are qualified mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists) working psychotherapeutically. A few of them have been accepted by the European Psychoanalytic Institute (an International Psychoanalytical Association and European Psychoanalytic Federation training joint venture) and some have started personal psychoanalysis. Their work is regularly supervised.

Tatiana Fazleeva and Victor Marchenko are the group’s organisers; they make all the practical arrangements that enable the seminars to happen, and provide the teachers with everything they need for their stay, including a schedule of enjoyable activities in Almaty.

Feedback from the group

“…We, citizens of Kazakhstan geographically are far from where psychoanalysis was born and has been developing. Thank to international organisations like International Psychoanalytical Association, British Psychoanalytical Society, Melanie Klein Trust and Kleinian seminars, which introduce to us theories, theorists and their clinical work and help us to develop analytic thinking and culture. We now have a chance to gradually move away from seductive pulls of ‘wild analysis’, which is still wide spread in our professional environment…”

AK, Psychiatrist

“…Kleinian seminars are tailored in such a way that provides consistency and continuity for a flow of theory, which would be linked with the clinical material presented by colleagues and discussed with attention to details. This stable and thorough work gives me a better understanding of the therapeutic situation and an enormous professional aspiration in my work…”

NY, Psychologist

“… First through my regular supervisions with the Kleinian analyst and then also through the thorough Kleinian seminars I started to notice how much my thinking and style of my work has changed. What seemed to be unbearable is becoming more bearable which influences enormously how I work with patients. The most remarkable change, I think, is that we are becoming a group of like-minded colleagues, who are united not only by interest in Kleinian thinking but also by developing professional language, which helps us to express, discuss and understand each other’s work better. This is a precious experience because it can’t be learned from any textbook. I hope that this is only the beginning and that the seminars will be continued…”

TF, Psychiatrist

Added 5 May 2020