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(1984). Some Reflections on our Professional Standards—Laurence B. Hall, M.D.. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:421-426.
(1984). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:421-426
Some Reflections on our Professional Standards—Laurence B. Hall, M.D.
Although the title is comfortably broad, the actual topic is a narrow one. It is based on two premises. The first is simple: Our "Professional Standards" have evolved out of the work that goes on in our institutes as we strive to give to aspiring psychoanalysts the best possible opportunity to reach their goal and to provide for ourselves and the community the best possible next generation of psychoanalysts.
As our institutes work to improve psychoanalytic education and training, they find themselves in an ongoing process of decision-making. It is in the quality of those decisions that our professional standards are defined, applied, examined, and refined. In my view, the Board's most important task is to provide an opportunity for the institutes' experiences to be shared and studied in settings apart from the daily work. The aim of these deliberations, in committees, workshops, site visits is that all of us involved in psychoanalytic training should become a little clearer about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why we are doing it.
This is our most important task; it is, happily, our most impressive achievement. I know of no other professional organization that undertakes this kind of continuous self-scrutiny. For all its costliness in time, energy, and sacrifice, and for all its ambiguity, we probably have no real choice to do otherwise. As it is in the nature of psychoanalysis that insights and understandings and self-knowledge are achieved with difficulty and are always in danger of getting lost, so must it be in psychoanalytic training.
I have often heard it said that we spend too much time "reinventing the wheel." That comment, or a variant of it, is often heard in discussions leading to the adoption of a Board or Institute Policy or Procedure—or, more likely for us, a "guideline." Someone is sure to note that "we have been here before"; "I think there was a committee report on this in 1957 or 1968."
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