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Burka, J.B. Sarnat, J.E. John, C.S. (2007). Learning from Experience in Case Conference: A Bionian Approach to Teaching and Consulting. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(4):981-1000.

(2007). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 88(4):981-1000

Educational and Professional Issues

Learning from Experience in Case Conference: A Bionian Approach to Teaching and Consulting Language Translation

Jane B. Burka , Joan E. Sarnat and Cornelia St. John

In case conferences as well as didactic seminars, the power of the group can bring psychoanalytic education to life. However, primitive anxieties activated by group dynamics may also interfere with teaching and learning. The authors offer the example of a stalemated private practice case conference that had unconsciously organized against learning as the members began to read Bion's work. The case conference leader, an analyst, presented her case conference, which was mired in basic assumption dependency dynamics, to our peer consultation group. Drawing upon Bion's early contributions on groups, as well as his later ideas about thinking and mental growth, the peer group facilitated the case conference's return to work-group functioning and learning from experience. Activated in the peer group, commensal containercontained processes gradually spread throughout the entire relational system of peer group, case-conference leader, case-conference members, and patients. This example underscores the importance of promoting within our institutes a culture in which faculty view themselves as part of an evolving intersubjective matrix that works to foster the containing capacities of candidates, patients, and faculty alike.

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