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Heller, S. (2015). Response to ‘A Long-Term Strategy for the Profession’ by Nigel Burch. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(1):132-133.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(1):132-133


Response to ‘A Long-Term Strategy for the Profession’ by Nigel Burch

Serena Heller

Dear Editor

I read Nigel Burch's short and stimulating piece ‘A Long-Term Strategy for the Profession’ in the August 2014 edition of BJP (30[3]) and agreed very much with his thinking about the need to stretch and develop psychoanalysis beyond its more established place in the consulting room.

One of the suggestions that particularly inspired me was the idea of an ‘A’ level in psychoanalysis. Although a psychology ‘A’ level already exists, the psychoanalysis component in it is small. Then I thought further and wondered who would teach it? It is not something that clinicians would be likely to do, and as yet there is no undergraduate degree in psychoanalysis1 that would naturally lead onto the teaching of the ‘A’ level, although there are postgraduate qualifications that focus on the more academic and theoretical side of psychoanalysis. These qualifications could produce the teachers for the ‘A’ level, although there would be a potential lack of clinical experience in the teaching which may or may not be problematic. The ‘A’ level might need to be more in the domain of Twentieth Century Thought or Theories of the Mind with Psychoanalysis/Freud and other seminal psychoanalytic thinkers forming a key part of it.

The possibility of psychoanalytic ideas being available for 16 to 18 year olds is both exciting and appealing. Often these ideas are discovered later on: as a development from social work, a psychology degree or clinical psychology training, as a tool in the interpretation of film and literature or through one's own therapy.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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