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Jemstedt, A. (1995). Thoughts on Tradition and Innovation in the Psychoanalytic Training System. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(3):149-156.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(3):149-156

Thoughts on Tradition and Innovation in the Psychoanalytic Training System

Arne Jemstedt, M.D.

In this article, which was an introductory paper at a conference on psychoanalytic training (Psychoanalyse Lehren und Lernen) organized by Deutsche Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft in Gütersloh in October, 1994, the author makes a survey of some of the recent literature on psychoanalytic training. He points out that the three cornerstones of psychoanalytic training (personal analysis, supervision and theoretical/clinical seminars) are the same as in the early days of psychoanalysis. Attention is drawn to the dual aim of the training: the “production” of psychoanalytic practitioners and theorists. The author indicates positive and negative similarities between psychoanalytic institutes and religious institutions: the maintenance, development and transmission of systems of thoughts within a certain system of rules and regulations, and the risk of orthodoxy and dogmatism. He discusses the importance of the unconscious environment within psychoanalytic institutes and its influence on the candidates. Arguments are given for keeping the frequency of candidates’ personal analyses high as a part of maintenance of high standard in the training. The author points to the importance of the curriculum seminars, which seems to him to be underestimated in discussions on psychoanalytic training. Finally, he discusses the risk of pathological group processes in psychoanalytic societies influencing the training, and underlines the importance of a creative “thinking climate” in the training, using to some extent Bion's concept of the oscillation between the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive position and Winnicott's idea of a creative intermediate area.

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