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Gedo, J.E. (1977). Essay on Psychoanalytic Education. Ann. Psychoanal., 5:315-325.

(1977). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:315-325

V Psychoanalytic Education

Essay on Psychoanalytic Education

John E Gedo, M.D.


Discussion of the problems of psychoanalytic education has generally been directed at two of the fundamental components it has had since the psychoanalytic community established its special institutes over half a century ago. Perhaps most frequently, questions have been raised about “training analysis” as a prerequisite for matriculation (e.g., most recently, McLaughlin, 1973, or Calef and Weinshel, 1973), and much thoughtful attention has been given to the anti-therapeutic effect of any procedure undertaken as a step in advancing a professional career. The second major subdivision of psychoanalytic education to have received adequate study has been that of the candidate's supervision in the performance of his initial clinical endeavors (e.g., Fleming and Benedek, 1966; Ekstein and Wallerstein, 1958). In contrast, the last component of our educational tripod has been given scant notice (but see Kohut, 1962; A. Freud, 1966). I am referring, of course, to the didactic process itself, to the instruction carried out within the institute setting.

I have little doubt that the emphasis in our publications reflects accurately the relative importance hitherto given to these various aspects of analytic training. I substitute the word training for the alternative, the term education, advisedly, because the primary function of the psychoanalytic institutes has been the production of competent clinicians. This assumption has sometimes been made explicit; more often, it has remained unstated.

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