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Lerman, A. (2000). The Training Neurosis: Transferential Acting Out within Psychoanalytic Training: Psychoanalytic Training as a Form of Transferential Acting Out. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(1):51-64.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(1):51-64

The Training Neurosis: Transferential Acting Out within Psychoanalytic Training: Psychoanalytic Training as a Form of Transferential Acting Out

Dr. Alexander Lerman, M.D.

Ten years ago, I evaluated a half naked man a bit older than me in a psychiatric emergency room. He had been brought in by the police after he had threatened his father, a prominent academic, with a knife. My patient was an embittered fellow in a state of emotional collapse. Over the course of several hours he told me his story: he had rejected his family's center-right politics, gotten a master's degree in language from an Ivy League School. He studied Marx and languages in college and graduate school, and gravitated to West Berlin and the politics of the hard left.

Nothing in his life had prepared him, he told me, for the fall of the Berlin wall. The tens of thousands of celebratory East Germans flooding West Berlin, celebrating the collapse of totalitarian socialism, forced him to confront fallacies in his own thinking that he had been aware of, but had warded off. Devastated, unable to sleep, he had returned to Westchester, and the quarrel with his father ensued.

I open with this story by way of allegory: as millennia psychoanalysts, we represent the heirs of the other irreligious Jewish theoretical giant spawned by nineteenth century Europe. Those who follow us will term our era as either the twilight of the psychoanalytic movement, or as a period of creative flux that heralded its regeneration.

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