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Körner, J. (2002). The Didactics of Psychoanalytic Education. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(6):1395-1405.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(6):1395-1405

The Didactics of Psychoanalytic Education

Jürgen Körner

The author first discusses general didactic considerations regarding psychoanalytic education and the teacher–pupil relationship. He then demonstrates that psychoanalytic education is greatly influenced by the ideal of a liberal education, of which in Germany there is a strong tradition under the name ‘Bildung’. The main characteristics of ‘Bildung’—as opposed to professional training—are that the objectives remain undefined and there is no attempt to achieve defined and operationalisable professional qualifications. The relationship between teacher and pupil is characterised by authority and trust. A psychoanalytic education by means of a ‘liberal education’ is based upon the assumption that the student should be motivated and supported in achieving competence through a passionate study of the world of psychic reality. Today, however, psychoanalytic education must be seen within a contemporary context that forces us to abandon the ideals of a liberal education, to operationalise the subjects studied and to control the education itself with regard to efficiency and results. These modern demands are the result of a professionalisation which has reached all social professions and from which psychoanalysis also cannot escape. Because of this, it is especially important to reflect on our educational methods and objectives. The author makes several suggestions on this subject. It is to be hoped that psychoanalysis will find its own way, without, on the one hand, losing sight of the special nature of psychoanalytic competence through an over-hasty adaptation to the process of professionalisation and, on the other hand, without reverting to unquestioned and outdated ideas on education.

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