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Traub-Werner, D. (2007). Who should become a Psychoanalyst? Canadian Psychoanalytic Society 50th Anniversary Congress Panel. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 15(2):314-315.

(2007). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15(2):314-315

Controversial Issues

Who should become a Psychoanalyst? Canadian Psychoanalytic Society 50th Anniversary Congress Panel

Daniel Traub-Werner

“The Influence of Culture on Psychoanalytic Ideas” was the theme of the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and, in keeping with this theme, the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis organized a symposium around the question “Who should become a psychoanalyst?” The intention behind the formulation of this question was to invite—and if necessary to provoke—reflection on the root problems of psychoanalysis as a profession. The contributions from the panellists highlighted the clash of thinking cultures within our society. All participants, including those who discussed the issue from the floor, spontaneously went to the “root” in their approach to the panel topic. Josette Garon specifically named “radicality” as her theme, emphasizing its necessary violence.

In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, which was to raise questions rather than to bury them in afterthought, we asked all the panellists to submit the original texts upon which they based their presentations, and we have preserved the informal, spontaneous flavour they offered. The original order of the presentations has not been preserved, however, and one of the panellists, Arthur Leonoff, has declined permission to reprint the text of his presentation.

In her presentation, Angela Sheppard referred to the inherent violence of the psychoanalytic act. She settledfor a creative perspective that took Marion Milner's ideas as a point of departure. While acknowledging Aulagnier's violence of naming, Dr. Sheppard pleaded for courage and humbleness in our work, to replace the space of disillusionment and mourning with a nascent libido that cathects positively the analytic act.

Elie Debbane argued for the inevitable dispersion and confusion that constitute the unknowable unconscious. The training analyst's unconscious

comes into play in selection and training; the analyst's unconscious intersects with the unconscious of the candidate and the unconscious group dynamics of institutions. Meltzer's ideas became a pivot in Dr. Debbane's discussion; he noted the dream-process nature of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic training, with all its inherent, but necessary, conflicts and imperfections.

Charles Levin examined the question from a perspective of transmission. He argued that a good analyst is one who experiences “good-enough” ongoing psychoanalytic maturation—a lifelong endeavour. The quality of training should be the concern of societies that benefit from well-trained members. Societies delegate their training to training analysts; it is in the qualities of the training analyst that the future well-being of the institution resides. For Charles Levin the question becomes “Who should become a training analyst?” The underlying issue, from a clinical point of view, is one of generational transmission: good analysts make up healthy societies, which will regenerate themselves by delegating their training to good-enough training analysts.

Josette Garon centred her thoughts on the intergenerational transmission that takes place in institutions and the need of analysts to emancipate themselves from analytic and institutional ties. She argued for the analyst's self-analysis within the context of desire, loss, and embracing the unknowable. Josette Garon further argued for the subversion and radicality of the analytic act as a means of getting back to the roots and foundation of psychoanalysis. In recent times, the boundaries of psychoanalysis became blurred with other knowledge disciplines. A fundamental subversion and radicality should enter the selection process and keep training devoid of extra-analytic influences that suppress the very process we ought to nurture.

The diverse opinions, eloquently elaborated in the following papers, may serve as an introduction to a process of dialogue within and between Institutions. It is the differences, and not the suppression of difference, that will help our Institutions mature and evolve.

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