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Fancher, E. (1993). Discussion. Psychoanal. Rev., 80(2):217-220.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Review, 80(2):217-220


Edwin Fancher

I am really pleased to be invited to discuss papers by two of the most creative and productive psychoanalytic educators of the past several decades. Both Jacob Arlow and Martin Bergmann have been an inspiration to me and to many of you.

Each author approaches the topic, “The Future of Psychoanalytic Training: Contemporary Issues and Controversies,” from a very different point of view, yet both men view psychoanalytic training in relation to a serious crisis in the profession of psychoanalysis itself at this historical point.

Arlow's approach focuses on the need to revise and update curricula. He emphasizes the need to put Freud and his writings in historical perspective. We should use Freud to teach “the interplay between clinical observation and theoretical formulations.” Arlow's emphasis is on Freud's contribution to the scientific methodology of psychoanalysis. He recommends that we study all of the schools from Adler and Jung to the present dissident groups, not as movements but from the point of view of the scientific methodology of psychoanalysis. He reminds us that “in psychoanalysis our instrument is the psychoanalytic situation and the technique of free association.” He emphasizes that the “text of the patient's associations” provides the data for formulating a scientific basis for psychoanalysis. He makes a strong plea for the early introduction in the training program of comprehensive training in the methodology of psychoanalysis. This is to be achieved in courses that focus on “the precise, textual analysis of process notes.”


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