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Lebiger-Vogel, J. (2016). German Students' Current Choice of Profession in the Field of Psychotherapy: Reasons for or against Engaging in Psychoanalytic Training. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(2):429-450.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(2):429-450

Education and Professional Issues

German Students' Current Choice of Profession in the Field of Psychotherapy: Reasons for or against Engaging in Psychoanalytic Training

Judith Lebiger-Vogel

(Accepted for publication 28 October 2015)

The psychoanalytic societies in Germany as in many other countries are concerned by a decline in the number of candidates for full psychoanalytic training. While this situation is partly attributable to changes both in society and in educational and healthcare systems, it is questionable whether psychoanalytic training institutions have yet found adequate responses to it. Under the banner of ‘evidence-based treatment’, behaviour therapy has come to be widely disseminated, with major implications for the teaching of different psychotherapy paradigms at universities. To investigate the determinants of this trend in the specific German situation, a large-scale, multi-method exploratory study supported by IPA's DPPT programme was undertaken, focusing on the reasons given by a population (N = 679) of German psychology, medical, and education students for embarking on training in psychoanalysis or behaviour therapy. The results suggest that behaviour therapy is more compatible with the prevailing scientific understanding and with current societal and cultural trends, owing in part to inadequacies or bias in university teaching of the various paradigms of psychotherapy. While most of the psychology students expressed a preference for behavioural training, the psychotherapy option proved less attractive for their counterparts in the fields of medicine and education. Semi-standardized qualitative interviews were used to gain a deeper understanding of the students' decisions for or against training in a specific paradigm, and led to the identification of seven decision-making prototypes. Possible reasons for the students' decisions are discussed, and concrete proposals and recommendations are presented.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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