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Rosenbloom, S. (1992). The Development of the Work Ego in the Beginning Analyst: Thoughts on Identity Formation of the Psychoanalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:117-126.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:117-126

The Development of the Work Ego in the Beginning Analyst: Thoughts on Identity Formation of the Psychoanalyst

S. Rosenbloom


This developmental process by which analysts consolidate their professional identities after formal training is a topic which has not been discussed sufficiently in the psychoanalytic literature. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the process of identity formation with particular emphasis on how the 'work ego' of each analyst is formed through various experiences which help the practitioner wed theoretical knowledge with clinical experience. Emphasis is given to the psychic reality of the newly graduated analyst, the integration of theory and practice, and the importance of countertransference experiences in the understanding of clinical material. A thread running through the paper is the modification of each analyst's 'psychoanalytic work superego' in the direction of greater flexibility and openness, such that he/she may work comfortably with a variety of patients. In this regard, an examination is undertaken of stereotyped beliefs and practices which many analysts learn during their training, which must be modified in order to acquire a secure professional identity.

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