Wednesday September 27 2023




How Freud came to Iran


Iran, the first  Empire of the world, has ten thousand years of history. It would be no exaggeration to say that each country in the world has to find its cultural roots in Iran and Iranian culture. Hegel declares “The principle of development begins with the history of PersiaThis therefore constitutes strictly the beginning of WorldHistory” [1]

In the other hand, it has almost passed a hundred years from the publication of [Freud’s] “The interpretation of dreams” and the birth of psychoanalysis. It has been over a hundred years that Freud and psychoanalysis have created a great revolution in human communities and distressed “the peace of this world ”  [2] and it has been over a hundred years that “Humanities , Literature and Art, philosophy and literary criticism”  [3], benefited from Freud’s thoughts, even physicists such as  “Bohr, Pauli and Jordan ” [4] have mentioned some common points between psychoanalysis and Quantum physics.”

What a pity, this ancient land and this rich culture remained deprived of psychoanalysis and Freud until twenty years ago.  At that time getting to know Freud was  through inexpressive translations of people who did not know anything about psychoanalysis. In the scientific communities, some people knew psychoanalysis as a rejected  theory which should be  considered only in the history of psychology and psychiatry and some others considered themselves psychoanalyst with no qualifications and abused psychoanalysis. In Iranian schools Freud was disapproved in the religious books as  promoter of sexual freedom  and for common people psychoanalysis was  dishonorable theory that only dealt with  sexual  motives and propagated promiscuity.

Finally in 1993, Dr. Mitra Kadivar, a psychoanalyst from Freud’s generation, came back to Iran. She felt “as if transferring psychoanalysis to Persian speaking audience  is a lot easier than western audience” [5]  because she “didn’t know  any  other nation  whose culture and history  have gone so far in the land of love ” [ 6].

In  such a confused and chaotic atmosphere, Dr.  Mitra Kadivar, Physician and  Freudian –Lacanian psychoanalyst, as the only member of World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP) [7] in Iran, École de la Cause Freudienne (ECF) and Euro Federation of Psychoanalysis (EFP) , began her work in this land “single-handedly”.

Gradually, the  effects of her enlightened endeavors emerged: For example, Freud’s  image was published in educational books of schools for the first time and not shortly after that Freud was called as a great scientist. Dr Kadivar’s endeavors continued determinedly and solidly. As the relation of each analysand with his/her analyst is unique, the relation of each society  with psychoanalysis is unique either. In this complicated path, by the efforts of Dr. Kadivar – the only Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalyst of World Association of Psychoanalysis in Middle East –  Iranian society was making familiar  with psychoanalysis and  psychoanalysis was being created in Persian language.

The following  is a  brief description of Dr. Kadivar’s uninterrupted efforts and  their great achievements:


  • Giving lectures and attending in scientific meetings in cultural centers and universities

At the beginning Dr. Kadivar tried to introduce the real face of psychoanalysis and psychoanalyst to Iranians and to impregnate their minds with the concepts of psychoanalysis by attending scientific meetings and giving lectures in cultural, educational and clinical centers. Her presence in these meetings caused numerous requests of her to give lectures. Since 1998, her lectures and classes in Iranian Psychological Association, Roozbeh hospital, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, “Center of Dialogue Among Civilizations” and the like gradually made Iranian academic and scientific society acquainted with psychoanalysis.


Unfortunately  most of  Mitra Kadivar’s lectures has not been recorded and are not accessible now but twenty four of  them have been collected and published in her book titled: “Lacan School: Psychoanalysis in  Twenty-First Century” the first publication of which was in 2002 and has been republished  for the second and third time in 2009 and 2015 respectively.


  • “Freudian Field – Lacan School” classes

On April 2001, Dr. Kadivar held a class for the people who demanded theory of psychoanalysis  and she founded “Freudian Field – Lacan School” group . Freud was read “by his own words” [8] for the first time in these classes.  The main aim, in the first step was to read Freudian texts in a right way without any distortion and to put emphasis on this fact that personal impressions cannot be presented as Freud’s or Lacan’s words, and this is exactly what Dr. Mitra Kadivar always emphasized on in her classes. In these classes, some articles of  24 volumes of Freud’s  Standard Edition and a number of  Lacan’s seminars which were selected and translated. Dr. Kadivar returned to Iran “so that Saadi’s language would benefit from Freud’s words” [9] and in these classes   psychoanalysis was created in Persian language by her efforts.


  • Kadivar’s weekly lectures texts

Dr. Kadivar’s weekly lectures texts are in fact Dr. Kadivar’s teachings of psychoanalysis and her explanations of  Freud’s and Lacan’s articles in “Freudian Field – Lacan School” group classes.  Some titles of  her weekly lectures texts are: “Psychoanalysis in intension and Psychoanalysis in extension”, “Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious” , “The seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3: Psychoses” and  the like.


Parallel with analytic sessions and psychoanalysis in intension, psychoanalysis in extension went beyond the classes, and  “Freudian Thursdays” Conferences  began on October  2005.   These sessions  were series of Conferences for Large Public that were being held by the members of  “Freudian Field – Lacanian School” group under supervision of Dr. Kadivar, the last Thursday of each month in Tehran till November 2007.   In these Conferences, some of Freud’s articles that were translated and taught by [Dr. Kadivar]  in “Freudian Field – Lacan School” group were presented.

The  affiches of these Conferences  were  distributed monthly  in more than 200  locations in Tehran, Isfahan, Shahrekord, Rasht, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Kashan and Shiraz in academic and cultural centers and anyone interested with any  educational level  in  any field could take part. The number of participants sometimes reached up to 300. At the present time, the DVDs of these Conferences are being sold by Freudian association and they have been welcomed in a great deal and over  3000 copies of them have been sold all over the country till now.

The topics of these Conferences are:

  1. First session: Dr. Kadivar’s introduction
  2. Second session: “The Detective and the Analyst”
  3. Third session: Freud’s “Introduction” on “Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis”
  4. Fourth session: “Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry”  Part one
  5. Fifth session:  Summary of Freud’s eleven articles about Dreams
  6. Sixth session: “Moral Responsibility for the Content of Dreams”
  7. Seventh session: “Explanations, Applications, and Orientations”
  8. Eighth session: “Difficulties and First Approaches”
  9. Ninth session: Summary of Freud’s three articles about Parapraxes
  10. Tenth session: “Resistance and Repression” Part One
  11. Eleventh session: “Resistance and Repression”  Part Two
  12. Twelfth session:  ”Wild Psychoanalysis”
  13. Thirteenth session: “Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry” Part Two
  1. Fourteenth session: “The Premises and Technique of Interpretation” Part One
  2. Fifteenth session: “The Premises and Technique of Interpretation”  Part Two
  3. Sixteenth session: “The Sense of Symptoms”
  4. Seventeenth session: “Freud’s Psychoanalytic Procedure”
  5. Eighteenth session: “Family Romances”


  • Establishment of Freudian Association- the only official organization of psychoanalysis in Iran 

  On July 16, 2005, after eight years of  continuous efforts on Dr. Kadivar’s part  to create the “Desire bud” [10] while recognizing this desire  she  expressed the necessity to form a legitimate organization as an association; “when we are talking about the presence of psychoanalysis in Iran, it means that everybody can recognize it legally.” [11] Dr. Kadivar talked about desire: ” So we take steps to somewhere that had one hundred years steps behind other places, not technological or scientific or information lag, but desire lag…because we said that the time of the unconscious  is a logic time and the conclusion that people make is an inter subjective one. It is not the matter of what French people call Parachute science; a kind of science that one can  drop on a land by a parachute, just like relief to flood victims! Now there is  a situation in which a response which could be considered  a response  from ” the local areas of Iran” to the Other has appeared but  has not been conveyed yet, this response is still a bud  and here the matter of  not delegating the responsibility, but delegating the responsibility of the desire  is put forward. It means that from now on, I expect to receive a response from an existing core which I recognized, the one which I recognized the desire of. And this response should be transferred to the Other that backed me up to be confirmed by the Other, so that the matter of psychoanalysis would not be that of  ‘One swallow does not make summer’ ” and psychoanalysis would be Iranian now. ” [12] To get an establishment license of a NGO under Freud’s name from Interior Ministry, the Board of Founders was formed under the leadership of Dr. Mitra Kadivar with cooperation of a number of her students.

Since July 2005  the  Board of Founders in their referrals to Interior Ministry  offered detailed and repetitious explanations about psychoanalysis  and the purpose of the association in such a way that sometimes they  had several hours  discussion meetings with an authority in charge and  met almost the MPs one by one to make  them understand the concepts and disambiguate them because [the Board of Founders found out that] psychoanalysis as a science  was strange and unknown for Interior Ministry authorities, then the Interior Ministry authorities  requested a  meeting  with Dr. Kadivar.

Dr. Kadivar and other members of the Board of Founders had a meeting with Ministry of Interior authorities in charge as well as their colleagues at that time. During that meeting Dr. Kadivar  extensively explained about psychoanalysis and the aims of  the association. That meeting was a major step forward to get the approval [of the authorities in charge] of the delegation of the Board of Founders for the establishment of the association.

Based on  Ministry of Interior’s bylaw for NGOs, the Board of Founders had to declare two proposed names which included “Freudian Association of Iran” and “Lacanian Association of Iran”. Ministry of Interior asked for a change in the second name because Lacan was not known in Iran. So, the Board of Founders declared the second name as; “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis”. This Board organized several meetings in order to  codify the statue and finally the Association Statue was codified under “cultural” issue and with the main aim “to introduce psychoanalysis to Iranian society and try to acquire its worthy position in Iran”.

This aim includes very important issues that paying attention to them can bring many clarifications. Three important issues that shows the Association path are;  first, to establish an association as  a cohesive source to introduce psychoanalytic science to Iranian society,  the second is that this organization based on international disciplines acquires  “worthy position” of psychoanalysis in Iran and the third is that by acquiring the membership of World Association of Psychoanalysis the association connects to its  root and to be recognized as a psychoanalysis organization in Iran by the international communities. These three issues were the frontispiece of the Board of Founders during compiling the statute.

Determining the “Subject of Association Activity” was  a serious duty for the Board of Founders; trying to convince authorities of  Ministry of Interior that the subject of Association activity is exclusively cultural. But it was not achieved easily; as Dr. Kadivar declared: “… anyway this is really clear for us that the mentality of respectable Ministry of Interior authorities in charge with NGOs is not something different  from public mentality about Psychoanalysis; this belief that Psychoanalysis is just an especial technique of therapy in the realm of psyche  and one of our aims is exactly to change this belief. You notice that we are in a paradoxical position. On one hand we need our Association to change just this single belief and on the other hand it is  necessary for this belief to be changed so that we can achieve our Association!!” [13]

One of the challenges that the Board of Founders  had to  overcome was “according to this misunderstanding that Psychoanalysis is a kind of therapy so it [the association] had to do its job under the supervision of Ministry of Health and Medical Education.”[14] So this subject had being explained in several meetings. [One of these meetings] Includes  a meeting of the Board of Founders with [authorities in charge] in which Dr. Kadivar was present  and emphasized  this point  “this Association will not have any therapeutic activity” [15] on April 10, 2006. Dr. Kadivar explained that “we have firm conviction in Psychoanalysis that the unconscious is not to be treated.” [16] and then she dedicated a copy of her book to authorities in charge in which is  a chapter with the same title with the hope that  no ambiguity would remain.

As the process of licensing prolonged and due to the displacement of the experts and authorities in charge in Interior Ministry, despite of the efforts made to change the mentality of the authorities in charge,  Ministry of Interior  inquired  Ministry of Health  as the supervisor Ministry. So the Board of Founders began to make efforts again to develop an accurate mentality  in new experts and authorities in charge [in Ministry of Interior]. In these follow ups it was clarified that for something that is being done for the first time in Iran, something that only has one “expert” in Iran, there is no Internal Specialized Supervisor for and the  sole Specialized Supervisor is World Association of Psychoanalysis  which resides in France. According to the statement of Interior Ministry authorities in charge, the requirement of existing Internal Specialized Supervisor was a legal vacuum: for this reason Interior Ministry had introduced Ministry of Health as Specialized Supervisor inland. In this regard Dr. Kadivar declares: “This is true that the law  have to synchronize itself with The Real and not to drop behind it… the objections that Interior Ministry  raises to our case is nothing but trying to accommodate “the bulge of The Real” in impasse the outdated Symbolic…” [17] Indeed the Board of Founders could convince Interior Ministry authorities in charge by making efforts to make an understanding of this issue that experts and authorities in charge in Ministry of Health are psychologist and psychiatrist not psychoanalyst, and these three areas of science (Psychoanalysis, Psychology and Psychiatry) are three distinct  disciplines. It is necessary to explain that one of the aims of Freudian Association is to distinguish these three disciplines from each other. [18]

Despite sabotage of Ministry of Health and their illusory blemishes, the Ministry of Interior reviewed and inspected the documents proposed by the Board of Founders of [Freudian] Association and listened to their explanations in several meetings, and finally authorized the statute of “Association of the Relation with World Association of Psychoanalysis” in the last meeting of the Board of Supervisors on NGOs Ministry of Interior, on March 17, 2007. And the license was issued on April 18, 2007.

In spite of the emphasis of the Board of Founders on the preferred name “Freudian Association”, the Board of Supervisors on NGOs, [Ministry of Interior] had approved the second proposed name that was “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis” and issued the license.

Since the main purpose was to establish an association under the name of Freud, Dr. Kadivar did not accept the approved name, thus following referrals were made to object the approved name by Ministry of Interior. The mission of these pursuits was to make the Ministry understand that “when we say psychoanalysis, we mean Freud and when we say Freud we mean Psychoanalysis “[19], so when Ministry of Interior approves an association under the name of psychoanalysis, it can approve an association under the name of Freud, either.  The Board of Directors succeeded to get to this aim by insisting on this demand. Thus the Board of Supervisors on NGOs of Ministry of Interior approved changing the name of the association, so “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis” changed to “Freudian Association” on August, 2008 and registered under registration number 23222. Since then the Meetings of General Assembly, Boards of Directors and Members are regularly held.


  • Editorial Board of Freudian Association

Editorial Board of Freudian Association was established to preserve intellectual properties of the association and to ending the charge of scientific burglar since June, 2010. This board prepares translated texts of psychoanalysis, Dr. Kadiar’s weekly lectures texts and materials from Freudian Field-Lacan School classes to be applied and taught in the classes [held by Freudian Association], lectures, and to publish in the official website of Freudian association.


  • Introductory Classes to Freud and Lacan

These classes are being held by Dr. Mitra Kadivar’s students under her supervision since 2006. The materials presented in these classes include: Freud’s articles translated and corrected  in the Freudian Field-Lacan School Group, Dr. Kadivar’s weekly lectures texts, “An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis”, Dr. Kadivar’s book: “Lacan School, Psychoanalysis in Twenty-First Century”, articles presented in “Freudian Thursdays” and the other articles translated by the editorial board of Freudian Association.

In Introductory Classes to Freud and Lacan, Freud is read “by his own words” just like the Freudian Field -Lacan School Group. The main aim of these classes is to read Freudian- Lacanian texts in the right way.

At the beginning, these classes were held in different places in Tehran throughout the week, but after of Tehran Psychoanalysis Center started its activity, these classes are held in the office of Freudian Association under the title of “Africa Sundays “.


  • Razi Tuesdays

In 2006, similar class with the objectives of the Freudian Field- Lacan School classes  was held in Razi Hospital, the first psychiatric center in Iran and the largest psychiatric hospital in Middle East with about 100 years of age, it was held by one of the students of Dr. Kadivar for less than a  year.

A few years later, from October 2013 to October 2014, these classes were held under the title of “Razi Tuesdays” by two students of Dr. Kadivar at Razi Hospital.

These sessions were welcomed by nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, students of University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, as well as enthusiasts from outside Razi hospital.

These classes not only were recorded in Continuous Medical Education System of Iran but also have been reflected in International electronic  psychoanalytic journal of Lacan Quotidien.


  • Tehran Psychoanalytic Center

Tehran Psychoanalytic Center, “one of the pillars of Freudian Association”, is located in Tehran, in the Freudian Association office. This center began its work under the supervision of Dr. Mitra Kadivar and with the cooperation of a number of her analysands-praticians who have the permission to do preliminary psychoanalysis exclusively in this center, since January 4, 2013.

One of the aims of Freudian Association according to its statute is to train Psychoanalyst according to international standards. In this regard Control sessions are held regularly for analysands-praticians. “Control sessions are those in which an analyst is made.”

Tehran Psychoanalytic Center also has been reflected in Lacan Quotidien international electronic journal (Editor-in-Chief: Jacques-Alain Miller)


Official website of Freudian Association was launched to accomplish the aims of its statute on May 30, 2014. This website includes sections of Freud’s translated articles, Theory of Psychoanalysis, Teachings of Psychoanalysis, Articles from World Association of Psychoanalysis Media, Dr. Kadivar’s weekly lectures texts, Programs of International Congresses and Activities of  Psychoanalysis and the like .The English section of the website was established on February 10, 2016, either . Although before that some texts were published both in English and French.

Freudian Association website was rapidly welcomed by audience in such a way that it has near a thousand readers per day now. It has had more than 250,000 visitors with 2,100,000 visits till now.

Yes! These are all the fruits of   the endeavors [made] by Dr. Mitra Kadivar  and Freudian Association. It is not in vain that Jacques-Alain Miller, the only explicator of Lacan’s texts says: “Mitra Kadivar is a credit for Iran” [20] and recognizes “Freudian Association as an Iranian School of Psychoanalysis” [21] and remarks: “Freudian Association is an honor for Iran” [22].

Also, in November 2009 Jacques Alain Miller in his talk for opening Universite populaire Jacques Lacan (UPJL) in Paris appreciated Dr. Kadivar´s 16-year (until then) efforts in Iran for the enhancement of psychoanalysis and the speech of Dr. Mitra Kadivar in 38th Congress of École de la Cause Freudienne of Paris led to standing applause of more than 2500 audience. Then on July 2013 in international congress of Euro federation of psychoanalysis (PIPOL 6) in Brussels a part of the congress was named “Mitra” for the respect of Dr. Mitra Kadivar.

Iran, today, is not the one it used to be, since it has witnessed a great evolution: Freudian Association ,Tehran Psychoanalytic CenterFreudian Thursdays, Introductory Classes to Freud and Lacan, and official website of Freudian Association. This great evolution has been possible owes to the presence of the only Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalyst and the only member of WAP in Middle East which has made the cultural grounds of ‘our beloved Iran’ more consolidated than ever. Now, there is such a great demand for psychoanalysis in Iran that cutting off the hands of pillagers from Freudian knowledge, the achievements of Dr. Mitra Kadivar, and taking care of Freudian Farm undoubtedly opens another chapter for psychoanalysis in Iran.


[1] Quoting from Hegel, L’Inconscient Héréditaire”, Dr. Mitra Kadivar

[2] A part of the last sentence of lecture XVIII “Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis”: “Fixation to Traumas—The Unconscious”, (Freud, 1916-1917)

[3] Dr. Mitra Kadivar,  “Lacan School: Psychoanalysis in  Twenty-First Century”, Etelaat publications, first edition, 2002, page 21

[4] ibid

[5] ibid, page 75

[6] ibid

[7] This Association has the status of “Special consultant” in United Nations and École de la Cause Freudienne (ECF) is the highest authority of Lacanian psychoanalysis in the world which was established by Jacques Lacan.

[8] Dr. Kadivar’s quote in the first session of “Freudian Thursdays” Conferences for Large Public, October 20, 2005

[9] Quoting from Dr. Kadivar

[10]   Dr. Kadivar’s speech in the Freudian field- Lacan school classes, On July 16, 2005

[11] ibid

[12] ibid

[13] A part of the letter from the Board of Founders to Interior Ministry, January 2007

[14] Dr. Kadivar’s postscript on 20th meeting of the Board of  Directors of “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis “, March 08, 2008

[15] The statute of “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis “, Art. 9, Par. B

[16] A part of the letter from the Board of Founders to Interior Ministry, January 2007

[17] Dr. Kadivar’s postscript on 20th meeting of the Board of Directors of “Association of the Relation with the World Association of Psychoanalysis”, March 08, 2008

[18] The Statute of Freudian Association, Article 9, paragraph B, no. 4

[19] The introductory speech of Dr. Kadivar in the first session of Freudian Thursdays on October 20, 2005

[20] Electronic Journal of Lacan Quotidien “On nous écrit de Téhéran” the email from Mr. Miller to Afshin Zamani on February 2, 2013, p. 50




[22] ibid