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Kernberg, O.F. (2000). A Concerned Critique Of Psychoanalytic Education. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):97-120.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(1):97-120

A Concerned Critique Of Psychoanalytic Education

Otto F. Kernberg

The author explores some central problems in contemporary psychoanalytic education. He compares strengths and limitations of the two dominant models of psychoanalytic training, the traditional Eitingon model and the French model, and reviews current efforts to modify these models in order to overcome their limitations. In examining problems common to both educational systems, the author highlights the following issues: a tendency to infantilise psychoanalytic candidates, a persisting trend towards isolation from the scientific community, a lack of consistent concern for the total educational experience of candidates, authoritarian management and a denial of the effects of external, social reality on psychoanalytic education. Proposed solutions to these problems include: a stress on ‘step-by-step’ evaluation of candidates’ progression, a greater emphasis on the cognitive aspects of seminars and supervision, particularly, a systematic exploration of the psychoanalytic method and its applications, a re-examination of the usefulness of the function of the training analyst status, an integration of teaching and practical experience in systematic research, and the incorporation of contemporary educational methods as part of the strengthening of the academic ambience of psychoanalytic institutes. The author concludes with a list of fifteen questions that may provide a quick indication of how far a psychoanalytic institute has progressed with the work of educational innovation.

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