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Kavka, J. (1974). Empathy in the Beginning Analyst: The First Case Report. Ann. Psychoanal., 2:293-307.

(1974). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 2:293-307

VII Psychoanalytic Education

Empathy in the Beginning Analyst: The First Case Report

Jerome Kavka, M.D.

The capacity for empathy and its effective use are so vital for analytic competence that empathic disturbances and limitations in the student analyst should be detected as soon as possible, and early in the management of the first analysis, efforts should be made to overcome and correct them. It is the individual supervisor who carries the main responsibility for implementing the student analyst's technical skills; and the extensive literature on psychoanalytic supervision attests to the importance of that learning experience Fleming & Benedek, 1966).

As a further element in their training, candidates are expected to discuss their work periodically in clinical case conferences. Yet, it is noteworthy that little attention has been devoted to the case-conference presentations as learning experiences (Lewin & Ross, 1960). Because the first case report is devoted to the opening hours of the first analysis, this case report may be useful in clarifying candidate psychopathology as it affects crucial functions involved in analysis—particularly empathic capacity. Furthermore, judicious exposure in the conference of a candidate's empathic limitations may serve to help him overcome this serious barrier to successful treatment of patients.

First-Case Ambience

As the fledgling psychoanalyst begins his work, his major model of analysis in his own personal analysis.

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