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Balint, M. (1948). On the Psycho-Analytic Training System. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:163-173.

(1948). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 29:163-173

On the Psycho-Analytic Training System

Michael Balint


It has become a commonplace to say that a new world was discovered by Freud: the world of the Unconscious. To mankind this discovery was a traumatic experience and all sorts of defensive mechanisms were mobilized against it. Gradually the defensive mechanisms gave way to a genuine interest, and recently mankind started to turn to us—as Freud is no longer among us—for information and guidance. This means that in fact we are coming to be regarded as guides by mankind.

Perhaps the most relevant, though not the only function of our guiding and teaching activity, is the training of future analysts. How we discharge this duty, what results we achieve in this field, will deeply influence not only the future of our profession and of our science, but also the destiny of mankind.

Considering this heavy responsibility it is surprising to discover that there is practically no literature on psycho-analytical training. In all the volumes of the Zeitschrift, Imago, Journal and Quarterly there are only two articles published on this subject. One is Dr. Sachs' posthumous paper (1947), a charming causerie of a wise old man, giving some sound advice and carefully avoiding any tricky problem. I shall come back presently to the second paper, as well as to Freud's paper: 'Analysis Terminable and Interminable', where a short chapter, in fact the shortest, consisting only of three pages, discusses the training.

Probing further into the matter, I found it reported that at the Innsbruck Congress in 1927, three prominent training analysts each read a paper to the International Training Committee, i.

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