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Weiss, S.S. (1982). The Problem of the Problem Candidate: A Significant Issue for Psychoanalytic Educators. Ann. Psychoanal., 10:77-92.

(1982). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 10:77-92

The Problem of the Problem Candidate: A Significant Issue for Psychoanalytic Educators

Stanley S. Weiss, M.D.

Introduction

Formal psychoanalytic education is a complex, lengthy, tripartite endeavor. It is also unique; we expect students to change and grow emotionally while mastering a course of study. “Nowhere else in the educational world can we think of admissions committees debating the prospective student's therapeutic prognosis or of faculties concentrating their attention on the course of a therapy” (Lewin and Ross, 1960, p. 39). A prediction is made at selection that the candidate is not only analyzable but also has the aptitude, motivation, and potential for successfully completing the educational program and becoming a competent psychoanalyst. However, for the most part, Institutes have failed to develop dependable criteria for suitability for psychoanalytic training (Namnum, 1980p. 421), and psychoanalytic educators are quite frequently confronted with problem candidates. The incidence of dropouts is very high in almost all Institutes (Francis and Marill, 1977).

Lewis and Ross (p. 39) presented data on the number of candidates who dropped out and the number who graduated from all approved Institutes of The American Psychoanalytic Association from 1952 to 1958. The dropout rate was 26.7% and the graduation rate was 59.2%. Console (1963) reviewed the failures at the Downstate Psychoanalytic Institute from 1949 to 1958; 20.5% were terminated while 43.9% graduated.

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