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Kächele, H. Thomä, H. (2000). On the devaluation of the Eitingon-Freud model of psychoanalytic education. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(4):806-808.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(4):806-808

On the devaluation of the Eitingon-Freud model of psychoanalytic education

Horst Kächele and Helmut Thomä

Dear Sir,

Although we agree with most of the critical comments and suggestions which Otto Kernberg (2000, Int J. Psychoanal., 81: 97-120) has expressed in ‘a concerned critique of psychoanalytic education’, there are, nevertheless, some points which deserve further discussion.

The first issue pertains to Kernberg's presentation of the ‘traditional Eitingon-Model’, which regulates, as well as the later French model, the standard training of the IPA. The true revolution of the Berlin foundation was not just in its being a tripartite training institution. For it was conceived by Freud and Eitingon from the beginning as a research institution and as providing treatment free of charge for the general population, thus fulfilling Freud's (1919) Budapest requirement. It was in this sense that the Berlin ‘Ten-Years-Report’ (DPG, 1930) demonstrated the viability of psychoanalytic outcome research.

After the destruction of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute by the Nazis, what had been Freud's and Eitingon's concept degenerated into a mere tripartite training model, without a systematic research orientation and without free clinic treatments. Already by 1948, Michael Balint was complaining about this impoverishment:

The original idea: psychotherapy for the broad masses … became completely lost in the years of the development. It is a justified charge against us analysts that we are so little concerned about it, and only a fair consequence that the therapy of the masses is passing more and more into other hands and will eventually be solved—rightly or wrongly—without us.

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