The letters "FIPA" stands for "Fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association."
The International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) is the oldest and largest international psychoanalytic organization and the world's primary accrediting and regulatory body for psychoanalysis. The IPA was first conceived in 1908, and formally established in 1910, by Sigmund Freud and his associates to serve as the professional association for the new field of psychoanalysis. A primary goal of the Association was to protect the public from untrained practitioners by establishing standards for professional training and a professional membership credential designating its members.
Fellows of the International Psychoanalytic Association have fully satisfied all educational requirements set forth by their IPA Constituent Organizations for qualification as a psychoanalyst and for membership in the IPA. The "FIPA" credential has been conferred on North American members of the IPA to enable the public to identify psychoanalysts trained within IPA Constituent Organizations.
The educational requirements for membership in the IPA include completion of a comprehensive IPA-accredited postgraduate training program in psychoanalysis, usually requiring five or more years of training. In general, IPA training programs include four or more years of coursework, an intensive personal "training analysis" conducted at a frequency of four to five sessions per week, and the successful conduct of supervised psychoanalytic treatments, also conducted at a frequency of four to five sessions per week. These standards reflect the view that psychoanalysis is best conducted at a high frequency of sessions, and that the personal analysis of the future psychoanalyst, universally regarded as the cornerstone of analytic training, should be of sufficient intensity and depth to best ensure the highest possible level of professional competence.
Not all practitioners identifying themselves as "psychoanalysts" have been trained according to IPA Standards of Education. Many training programs outside the IPA employ other educational criteria. The educational standards of some groups permit personal training analysis and supervised psychoanalytic treatment to be conducted at lower levels of intensity. In New York, New Jersey, and Vermont, state laws have been enacted which permit the licensing of psychoanalysts who have completed training programs which permit personal training analysis and supervised treatment to be conducted at one session per week.
If you see the letters "FIPA" or the words "Fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association" after a practitioner's name, you can be confident that the practitioner has fulfilled rigorous educational and professional requirements. However, because the FIPA credential is still new, many qualified psychoanalysts still do not employ this title on their business cards or other representations. If you are not sure whether a practitioner is a "FIPA," you should ask. All North American members of the IPA, including all members of the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies, are comparably trained and are entitled to employ the "FIPA" designation.
The Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies wishes to emphasize that nothing in the foregoing should be construed as information about the training or competence of psychotherapists or psychoanalysts who are not "FIPAs," The "FIPA" credential only signifies the qualifications of its holder.