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Furman, S.G. (2006). The Write of Passage from Candidate to Analyst: The Experience of Writing Analytic Process. Psychoanal. Inq., 26(5):682-697.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26(5):682-697

The Write of Passage from Candidate to Analyst: The Experience of Writing Analytic Process

Susan G. Furman, Psy.D.

This article describes my experience of learning to write analytic process. It illustrates how the depth of understanding I achieved from learning to write transparently about analytic work was instrumental in the consolidation of my analytic training and my development of an analytic identity. Practicing analysis requires letting our minds function at multiple levels—integrating, synthesizing, free-associating, attending, and maintaining our own reverie—simultaneously. This is a large task for any analyst, much less a beginning analyst. Writing about this process necessitates not only understanding what has transpired in our offices with our patients but also developing the ability to explain that intimate and unique interpersonal dyad to our peers. Learning to do analytic work is not the same as learning to write about it; and writing about psychoanalytic process is very different from participating in it (Reiser, 2000). The goal of writing analytic process is not primarily to tell the story of the patient but to demonstrate our thinking, experience, and understanding as analysts. To do this requires both a depth of understanding of what we do and a mastery of analytic process.

While there may be different ways to synthesize and integrate our analytic training and to accomplish the significant task of progressing from candidate to analyst, learning to write analytic process was pivotal for me. It was a “rite of passage,” culminating in the development of an increased sense of identity, maturity, and confidence as an analyst.

Precious Auntie came back into my mind. She'd taught me that everything, even ink, had a purpose and a meaning. You cannot be an artist if your work comes without effort. That is the problem with modern bottled ink… But when you push an ink stick along an inkstone, you take the first step to cleansing your mind and your heart. You push and you ask yourself, what are my intentions' What is in my heart that matches my mind [Tan, 2001, p. 105].

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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