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Homburger, E. (1935). Psychoanalysis and the Future of Education. Psychoanal Q., 4:50-68.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4:50-68

Psychoanalysis and the Future of Education

Erik Homburger

Of all those who through their analytic training hope to be able to make some fundamental contribution to therapeutic or educational work, the teacher is the least able to foresee what he may achieve through analytical insight, which he gains from his own clinical analysis. The analytic situation does not offer him any direct suggestion as to how to face the specific situations he meets on returning to his work. An analyst is obliged for the most part to remain a silent observer while the teacher's work involves continuous talking—this fact alone roughly distinguishes the methods of analyst from that of teacher, representing the two extremes of all possible educational methods of approach. The clinical analyst maintains an attitude of impartiality throughout, thus making it possible for his patient's affects to reveal themselves according to their own laws and in the forms given to them by a pitilessly selective life; the passivity of the analyst is the necessary prerequisite for the proof of the scientific value, as well as for the therapeutic success, of the method. In the work of the teacher the relations are much more flexible. He not only has to deal with affects in his children, the ultimate forms of which are not yet fully determined (a feature also found in child analysis), but he also cannot avoid registering his own affective response. Although he is the object of transference, he cannot eliminate his own personality, but must play a very personal part in the child's life. It is the x in the teacher's personality which influences the y in the child's development. But, unlike child guidance workers, he accomplishes his educational purposes chiefly through the imponderables of his attitude in the pursuit of his work as teacher.

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