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Slap, J.W. (1985). Becoming a Psychoanalyst: Edited by Robert S. Wallerstein. New York: International Universities Press. 1981. Pp. xiii + 351.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:383-388.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:383-388

Becoming a Psychoanalyst: Edited by Robert S. Wallerstein. New York: International Universities Press. 1981. Pp. xiii + 351.

Review by:
Joseph W. Slap

The central focus of this monograph is a research project on psychoanalytic supervision undertaken by a study group appointed by the Committee on Psychoanalytic Education of the American Psychoanalytic Association. The study was fundamentally flawed as crucial features of the two research protocols chosen to guide the work were ignored. Howard Shevrin, the analyst whose work had been supervised, was not informed that he had been a subject of a research study until years after the study had been completed and his permission was needed for publication. Apparently Shevrin sought to contribute data which was called for but omitted in one of the protocols and which would have made up in part for the deficiency in the second; further, he wished to discuss important concepts pertinent to his supervision and to psychoanalytic supervision in general. For reasons never made clear the study group rebuffed his offers of what would seem to be much needed and valuable additions to a defective study. As the study group seemed inclined to publish without his permission, Shevrin informed the American Psychoanalytic Association that he would take legal action if they did so; he also suggested that a mediation committee be appointed to see if the dispute could be resolved. While both Wallerstein, who served as secretary of the study group, and Shevrin pay tribute to the chairman of the mediation committee, Jay Katz, as having made publication possible, one learns little about what each party sought and what concessions each made during the mediation.

The point-counterpoint character of the monograph created by the disputants gives rise to a work in which many issues concerning supervision are identified and illuminated. The book also provides a glimpse of the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of psychoanalytic institutions. A further consequence of the adversarial relationship between Shevrin and the study group is that as one reads the various contributions there is an awareness that the particular author has played some part in a morality play in which scientific integrity is pitted against the complacency of the establishment.


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