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Myers, W.A. (1991). A Survey Concerning the Frequency of Fantasies about the Supervisor in Candidate Analysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:578-580.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:578-580

A Survey Concerning the Frequency of Fantasies about the Supervisor in Candidate Analysis

Wayne A. Myers, M.D.

March 19, 1990

In response to a paper by Luber (1991), I conducted a telephone survey with 50 candidate and graduate members of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Of this group, 19 were advanced candidates who had at least two patients in analysis. Another 25 had been graduated from the Center within the past five or six years. The final six persons polled were training and supervising analysts who had been graduated 10 to 20 years ago.

I asked about the number of patients whom they currently or formerly had treated in control analyses, and how many of these patients had mentioned fantasies about their supervisors. I asked about the specific content of these fantasies and whether the sex of the supervisor was mentioned. Other queries dealt with issues of prior object loss in the patients' histories, and with the diagnosis of those patients who did report fantasies. What emerged from this brief survey, I believe, will be of general interest.

The 50 candidate and graduate analysts polled reported 69 cases (46% among the 150 patients whom they had seen in treatment during training) where references to the issue of supervision had been made. While 56 of the 69 reports with references to the issue of supervision came from the advanced candidates and recent graduates (out of 130 cases treated), the percentage of positive reports about supervision increased the further one advanced in one's career. Thus the six training and supervising analysts polled mentioned some 13 (65%) references to the idea of supervision in the 20 cases which they treated as candidates. This may be a matter of coincidence, or it may be that temporal distance from training makes it easier to recollect references to the issue of supervision on one's control case, or that future training and supervising analysts may have been less embarrassed than others about their candidate status. In any event, references to supervision in all of the groups combined would be considerably higher if the candidates and their supervisors had been more attuned to looking for such material.


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