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Olds, D.D. (2000). New York (Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):289.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):289

New York (Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research)

David D. Olds, M.D.

In this report I would like to share some of our experience in developing our course in interdisciplinary studies, a course given to the candidates in their fourth year. It may be helpful to others who contemplate such a course to consider the response we have received over the years we have been changing and expanding the course.

One change that we have noted is that such studies have become more acceptable as useful aspects of the underpinnings of psychoanalytic theory. We seem to be seeing a generational shift. Six years ago we introduced a series of 15 sessions in the fourth year “theory track.” It was greeted with very mixed responses, many hostile. A majority of evaluations were explicit in complaining that this material from the biological and neural sciences deserved no part in a psychoanalytic curriculum.

To be fair, our early teaching methods needed improvement. We tended to focus on neural science per se, similarly to the way it is done in medical school, with the expectation that the students will integrate it into their clinical thinking. And, we tried to impart too much unfamiliar information.

Over subsequent years we have tried to provide less overload and to integrate the material with clinical issues and experiencenear phenomena. For instance, we spend more time on the types of memory and their relation to transference, trauma, and repetition compulsion, and less on hippocampal anatomy. Responses have become more positive. There is still skepticism, and there are sometimes complaints when we wander too far from the clinical, but in general the response is much more positive and the class discussions quite interesting and lively.

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