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Frank, G. (2010). A Commentary on the Training Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 97(6):937-953.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Review, 97(6):937-953

A Commentary on the Training Analysis

George Frank

Freud wrote, “It is impossible to assimilate analysis without experiencing it personally” (1933, p. 150); in order to give the person “a firm conviction of the existence of the unconscious” (1937, p. 248). He also asserted, “No psycho-analyst goes further than his own complexes and internal resistances permit … we consequently require that he shall begin his activity with a self-analysis and continually carry it deeper while he is making his observations on his patients” (1910, p. 145). Nevertheless, Freud (1892-1899) had also stated that “genuine self-analysis is impossible” (p. 271), because he had come face to face with what interfered with his self-analysis, specifically, his own resistance to going into various channels in his mind. Thus, when Freud learned that the Swiss required that a person interested in providing psychoanalytic treatment should be analyzed by an experienced psychoanalyst, he strongly supported this idea (1912, p. 116).

Freud was the first “training analyst.” With regard to the purpose of the training analysis, Freud wrote that it “has accomplished its purpose if it gives the learner a firm conviction of the existence of the unconscious, if it enables him, when repressed material emerges, to perceive in himself things which would otherwise be incredible to him, and if it shows him a first sample of this technique” (1937, p. 248). As a consequence, Freud took people into analysis for short periods of times (weeks or months; Balint, 1954). When Eitington (1923) started the first training program for psychoanalysts (in Berlin in 1920), a personal analysis was part of the program of training, which also included course work and work under supervision. The tripartite model of training was officially endorsed by psychoanalysts in 1922 (Kovacs, 1936), and has, since then, been the standard model of the training program for psychoanalysis, regardless of theoretical orientation.

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