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Blanck, G. (1998). Lay Analysis in the Postwar Years. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(4):1243-1245.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(4):1243-1245

Lay Analysis in the Postwar Years

Gertrude Blanck

November 1998. The editorial “Politics and Paradigms” (JAPA 46/2) deals in part with the formation of the several training institutes for nonmedical analysts in New York in the years following World War II. As one of a dwindling number of “survivors” from that era, I would like to offer a firsthand account of how NPAP, IPTAR, and The Freudian Society came about. Your account, though accurate in the main, can be fleshed out only by someone who has been there and done that. Listen with an analyst's ear to the clues that show how psychoanalysis can thrive again.

The story begins with the general dislocation of so many people after World War II. Several displaced European analysts, some of great distinction, settled in New York after fleeing the Holocaust. At the same time, many psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers came marching home, discharged from the armed forces when the war ended. The history begins, then, with the coincidence of these two groups—the Europeans, who were accustomed to training nonmedical candidates, and those Americans who were looking for training and a “home” in the psychoanalytic community.

Thus, several study groups began to form around analysts such as Theodor Reik and Paul Federn. It is not my experience that these groups consisted of social workers who left the William Alanson White group. There may have been a few. Those I came to know were mostly psychologists, writers, artists, and a handful of psychiatrists. The Federn group did not formalize its existence and passed out of the picture. The Reik group, as you correctly point out, went on to form NPAP. I entered the first NPAP class as a candidate in 1950. It soon became clear to me that I would not receive adequate analytic training at NPAP because it was so eclectic that Freudian theory almost did not exist. In fact, it was politically unwise to be Freudian.

Along with a few others, I sought training that you designate as sub rosa; we called it bootleg. We were fortunate enough to find several prominent analysts willing to train us, with the proviso that we keep this a secret.

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