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Szecsödy, I. (2004). On psychoanalytic education. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):1013-1016.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):1013-1016

On psychoanalytic education

Imre Szecsödy

Dear Sirs,

Discouraged by the lack of entries to the IJP web discussion on the psychoanalytic education ‘controversies’ article (Garza-Guerrero and Laufer, 2004), but encouraged by Andrew Cooper's letter (2004), I wish to address my comments directly to IJP. As you wrote in your editorial ‘Psychoanalysis needs to de-mystify itself’ (Gabbard and Williams, 2004), and I think this is one of the central motives for Dr Garza-Guerrero to emphasise the problem of our institutionalised training that has ‘become invested with an ideological and quasi-religious fervour that transforms them into missionary mandates and doctrines’ (p. 4) and ‘tolerated and even promoted a clinical practice based merely on inductive arguments; this, in turn, explains the proliferation of theories and pseudo-explanatory metaphors’ (p. 5).

Since Balint (1948), who sharply criticised psychoanalytic education, including the supervisory process, for being analogous to a ‘primitive initiation ceremony’, there are many critical articles discussing the problems of psychoanalytic education. A special issue of Psychoanal. Inq. (2004, Special Issue) dealt with ‘Problems of power in psychoanalytic institutions’, while a supplement to J Am Psychoanal Assoc (2003, 51 Suppl.) covered ‘The politics of psychoanalysis’. Many articles focus on the distribution of authoritarian power relations, the role of analysts and analysis in training, the lack of and even resistance to research.

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