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Benedek, T. (1976). Chicago Selection Research: The Individual Interview as an Instrument for the Selection of Candidates for Psychoanalytic Training. Ann. Psychoanal., 4:333-346.

(1976). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 4:333-346

Chicago Selection Research: The Individual Interview as an Instrument for the Selection of Candidates for Psychoanalytic Training

Therese Benedek, M.D.

The selection interview is an emotionally highly charged brief encounter; it is a one-time experience and relationship. Sociologists maintain that “the essence of any social situation lies in the mutual expectations of the participants” (Lennard and Bernstein, 1960p. 22). According to this statement, the interview situation is an interacting system in which one participant, the applicant, is motivated by the wish to be approved of and accepted; the other, the interviewer, pursues his goal of selection by relentlessly looking for cues and clues from which to arrive at specific diagnostic evaluations on which to base his rating and prediction. The interview goes along as a multilevel conversation between the participants and within the self-systems of each of the participants.

Psychoanalysts, of course, are accustomed to conducting mutually multilevel conversations. Yet the selection interview, being a test situation, is different from a clinical diagnostic interview or a psychotherapeutic or psychoanalytic session. The immediacy of the goal increases the speed of the exchange; the manifold levels to be probed increase the anxiety of the applicant and may increase the insecurity of the interviewer.

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