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Glick, R.A. Roose, S.P. (2009). Empirical Research, Psychoanalytic Training, and Psychoanalytic Attitudes. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(3):657-661.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(3):657-661

Psychoanalytic Education Section

Empirical Research, Psychoanalytic Training, and Psychoanalytic Attitudes

Robert Alan Glick and Steven P. Roose

Much of the literature on psychoanalytic training consists of an analyst (or two) presenting their observations on supervision, the training analysis, or the teaching of theory and technique. Within this literature are many fascinating and provocative hypotheses and suggestions about psychoanalytic education, but the discourse or process rarely extends beyond hypothesis formulation to the critical step of hypothesis testing. Thus, at its best, this literature is part of an ongoing, stimulating conversation among psychoanalytic educators, but progress is limited by the absence of systematic investigation and testing of ideas. In contrast, leaders of other educational programs, at every level, recognize that educational ideas must be tested.

The value of systematic investigation and empirical methodology has been underappreciated (or frankly dismissed) with respect to many areas of psychoanalysis, not the least of which is psychoanalytic education. Many analysts think of systematic empirical research as reductionistic, uninteresting, or at worst “antianalytic,” and the results are often dismissed without consideration. However, as with psychoanalytic ideas about women, sexual orientation, severe mental illness, and child development, progress in the field of psychoanalytic education will depend on openness to critical and scientific assessment of supervision, training analysis, and didactic instruction.

This Psychoanalytic Education Section includes four empirical research studies. The first reports the candidate's experience of didactic instruction in the training analysis; the second compares the diagnosis, symptoms, level of function, personality dimensions, and character structure of patients accepted or rejected as training cases; the third documents the timing and rate of dropout of training cases; and the fourth prospectively follows the career development of analysts from the time of graduation.

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