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Gargiulo, G.J. (1998). Meaning and Metaphor in Psychoanalytic Education. Psychoanal. Rev., 85(3):413-422.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Review, 85(3):413-422

Meaning and Metaphor in Psychoanalytic Education

Gerald J. Gargiulo, M.A.

It is more than an academic question if we ask, in the tradition of Theodor Reik, whether we can train someone to be a psychoanalyst or whether psychoanalysts are, in fact, born. Since we generally act as if we can train an individual to competently, and even occasionally to creatively practice this art form, I would like to focus on the latter alternative—namely, psychoanalysts are born. (This position might endanger the financial viability of most psychoanalytic training institutes, but for the present I leave such a consideration aside.) If we speak of analysts as born to be such, I am not implying some divine election or a mystery cult priesthood. What I am wondering about is the implications, for our field, if we say that the capacity to practice analysis precedes any formal training, as such, and is, actually, a prerequisite for effectively and creatively using the training at all. By training I include the personal analysis, which although vital for any psychoanalyst to experience, is nevertheless subordinate to certain individual qualities: primarily, a capacity for personal honesty, a desire for crossidentification issuing in compassion and civility, and the possession of what we may call a playful intelligence. Unfortunately we have no way of guaranteeing the acquisition of these qualities, despite the length of any analysis.

The quality that I am going to emphasize today is the need for a playful intelligence; I mention these other qualities, however, as a context for understanding my reflections.

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