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Eissler, K.R. (1951). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXIX, 1948: On the Psychoanalytic Training System. Michael Balint. Pp. 163–173.. Psychoanal Q., 20:146.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXIX, 1948: On the Psychoanalytic Training System. Michael Balint. Pp. 163–173.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 20:146

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXIX, 1948: On the Psychoanalytic Training System. Michael Balint. Pp. 163–173.

Kurt R. Eissler

In this challenging and thought-provoking paper, Balint discusses some of the important problems of analytic training. He raises the question why so few papers on the problems of training have been published, and he suggests a few factors which have led to inhibition of thinking in this respect. He further claims that there is a tendency in our training system to be dogmatic. He tries to prove this by giving two concrete examples, namely, the attitudes toward the duration of the training analysis and toward control analysis. He further gives a comprehensive history of the training system which can be summarized best in the author's own words:

'Thus one can discriminate three periods which are identical in the exoteric and in the esoteric history of the training. The first period of training was characterized by the lack of any visible organization… This led to several secessions. In the second period psychoanalysis created an efficient system of training and a strong organization to enforce its standards. In the esoteric sense it meant the establishment of a strong paternal authority "to instruct and to admonish" and a firm pressure on the candidate… By creating unnecessary tensions between the generations, this period led to recurring strifes and resulted in the complete breakdown of any central authority and in the establishing of local … standards, ideals, and controls.

'We start the third period having several claimants to loyalties in sharp competition one with another. This has led inevitably to a narcissistic overvaluation of small differences which in its turn blurred the real proportions by minimizing … the essential agreements' (p. 170).

Balint suggests 'a new orientation of our training system which must aim less at establishing a new and firm superego but more at enabling the candidate to free himself and to build up a strong ego which shall be both critical and liberal at the same time'.

Most of the author's experiences as reported by him were obtained in Europe. For the American reader it may be particularly interesting to notice his report of Sandor Rado's earlier relationship to the International Training Committee and the change of mind which took place shortly after his arrival in this country. Balint adds an appendix in which he discusses the training rules of seven recognized American training institutes.

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Article Citation

Eissler, K.R. (1951). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXIX, 1948. Psychoanal. Q., 20:146

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