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Niemira, J.C. (2011). Interview with Michael Eigen. Psychoanal. Perspect., 8(2):259-270.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 8(2):259-270

Interview with Michael Eigen

Jan C. Niemira, LCSW

Jan Niemira: Should we just jump in?

Michael Eigen: Yes.

JN: First, tell me about your training experience. Where did you train? What do you recall as most valuable about your training experience? Do you remember learning something that struck you as particularly important? Did anything strike you as unimportant? And is there anything you've had to unlearn?

ME: My training experience was a series of experiences. I began as a therapist for autistic and schizophrenic children at Blueberry; I worked at Reiss School, First Street School. I took the advanced courses at the Modern Psychoanalytic Institute and eventually joined NPAP. What was most valuable about my training experience was being left alone to do what came out of me to do with patients. When I wasn't interfered with too much, I could learn how to be with people.

I should mention New Hope Guild, which was very important. Not only did it give me a chance to become myself, but I met my wife there! By accident one day! Every week the head of the clinic, Sherman Schachter, had clinical meetings with the staff. These weekly meetings on clinical issues were important for many reasons. For one thing, it gave us all a chance to hear something about what other therapists were doing. It gave us a chance to exchange feedback in an open atmosphere. I learned a lot from these meetings, especially about complexities of dependence. The atmosphere was one of being devoted to the patient, supporting the therapist/patient relationship.

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