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Berman, E. (2003). Reply to Panel Follow-up Questions. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(3):445-449.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(3):445-449

Reply to Panel Follow-up Questions Related Papers

Emanuel Berman, Ph.D.

The Two Follow-Up Questions Bring Up Two Interrelated Aspects of training, two sequelae of our disillusionment with the beliefs in uniform psychoanalytic theory, in standard psychoanalytic technique, and in a “generic analyst” (Mitchell, 1997).

Such notions can be first found in Freud (1912): “Let me express a hope that the increasing experience of psycho-analysts will soon lead to agreement on questions of technique and on the most effective method of treating neurotic patients” (p. 120). It must be said, however, that Freud's complex thinking about the uniqueness of individual personality eventually claimed the upper hand, and it influences our views today more than do the positivistic scientific aspirations that led Freud to the Utopia of universal laws and standard procedures.

An exploration of the impact of the analyst's personality, character, style, subjectivity, and, broadly defined, countertransference (these are partially overlapping interrelated aspects) is a crucial component in analytic training. This exploration can take place in two settings: personal analysis and supervision. While I support the total separation of these two settings on an institutional level (delicate regulation of supervision, staying out of personal analysis), I believe that trainees can utilize them in an integrated mutually enhancing way. The same issue (i.e., a particular character pattern or countertransference reaction) may come up and be fruitfully examined in both settings.


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