1st Edition

Psychoanalytic Education at the Crossroads
Reformation, change and the future of psychoanalytic training

ISBN 9781138928718
Published March 6, 2016 by Routledge
306 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Training in psychoanalysis is a long and demanding process. However, the quality of education available is hugely variable across the world. The structure of psychoanalytic education, centered on the hierarchical "training analysis" system, reflected a concerted effort to maintain a stable and high quality educational process. However, throughout time this system has become a major source of institutional contradictions that affect the training of candidates, the scientific developments within psychoanalysis, and the nexus of psychoanalytic theory and practice with the surrounding scientific, social and cultural world. Psychoanalytic Education at the Crossroads examines the ways in which group processes, the hierarchal culture in institutes, the influence of individual personalities, the lack of research and the faults in supervision can all stifle creativity and hinder candidates’ progress. In this compelling work, Otto Kernberg sets out clear suggestions for how these issues can be addressed, and how he sees the future of psychoanalytic education across all psychoanalytic settings and schools of thought.

The first part of this volume is focused primarily on the analysis of the nature of these problems and their effects on the personal analysis and supervision of candidates; on theoretical and clinical seminars; on selection, progression, and graduation; on educational principles and requirements, developments of theory and technique and, in particular, limitation versus expansion of the realm of interests and applications of psychoanalysis. The second part of this volume deals with proposals of solutions to the problems encountered, and major suggestions for innovation in psychoanalytic education.

The author’s work in this area has been hugely influential. Kernberg has made a substantive difference in the development of psychoanalytic institutes and education, and continues to do so. Psychoanalytic Education at the Crossroads will be essential reading to anyone involved in psychoanalytic education, whether as a psychoanalyst, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, trainee, trainer, or supervisor.

Table of Contents

The Identity of the Psychoanalyst. The Couch at Sea: Psychoanalytic Studies of Group and Organizational Leadership. Institutional Problems of Psychoanalytic Education. Authoritarianism Culture, and Personality in Psychoanalytic Education. Thirty Methods to Destroy the Creativity of Psychoanalytic Candidates. The pressing Need to Increase Research in and on Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Supervision: The Supervisor’s Task. Symptoms of Failure and Early Efforts to Modify Psychoanalytic Education. The Coming Changes in Psychoanalytic Education: Part I. The Coming Changes in Psychoanalytic Education: Part II. Psychoanalysis and the University: A Difficult Relationship. Suicide Prevention for Psychoanalytic Institutes and Societies. The Twilight of the Training Analysis System.

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Otto Friedmann Kernberg is a psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, USA.


"The vitality of psychoanalysis depends on its ability to train creative and committed practitioners and contributors. In this volume Otto Kernberg incisively, passionately, and at times humorously dissects the ills that plague psychoanalytic education, offering thoughtful suggestions for constructive change. The result is a book that not only addresses crucial issues of institute training but that offers a provocative meditation on the place of psychoanalysis within the broader society. Kernberg’s ideas are essential reading for anybody interested in the current state of psychoanalysis, and for anybody who cares about its future prospects."-Jay Greenberg, Ph.D., Editor, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly.

"Psychoanalytic Education at the Crossroads is a wonderful and indispensable critique and reflection, based on extensive and intensive personal experience and careful observation of what happens internationally in this realm of our discipline. The present and the future of psychoanalysis are closely connected to the way we teach it and help our young colleagues to develop their own independent thinking.Its author is one of the leading psychoanalytic thinkers and clinicians of our time, Otto Kernberg. His passion, his tireless dedication, his creativity and his concerned critique , as well as his brilliant capacity to present and to systematize his views are all reasons that lead me to enthusiastically recommend the reading of Psychoanalytic Education at the Crossroads to analysts, analysts in training and all those who are interested in this fascinating work in progress that is psychoanalysis."-Cláudio Laks, Eizirik, Past President of the IPA.

"In a highly organized and comprehensive manner that is his trademark, Otto Kernberg addresses the intricacies of psychoanalytic education in this book. He deconstructs the challenges inherent in a process that simultaneously seeks to inculcate a historical group identification, immersion in a wide-ranging body of theory, mastery of an elusive craft, and the development of a lasting professional identity.Kernberg elucidates the regressive group processes that often undergird and undermine psychoanalytic education and delineates innovative strategies to solve the problems rampant in this enterprise.At a time when the discipline is facing threats from many directions, his book is a powerful wake-up call for the international psychoanalytic community!"-Salman Akhtar, MD, Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia.

"This book is a wonderful summary of opinions about psychoanalytic education, published in the recent past. Plus conclusions and practical recommendations. And as such an important contribution to help the psychoanalytic community to work on the revival of interest in psychoanalysis. The book is a survival-kit for those institutions and societies that are aware of the necessity to change and a wake-up call for those that do not. A must for continuing the discussions and a guideline for implementation of change."-Henk Jan Dalewijk, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice.

"Otto Kernberg’s ideas and efforts to secure the future of psychoanalysis are most impressive. In this book he provides a comprehensive examination of the problems in psychoanalytic education and supervision and shares his thoughts on how to preserve the psychoanalytic identity. Significant proposals are offered for maintaining the dignity and the prestige of psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts in the scientific environment and in the rapidly changing world. This book should be read by anyone who is interested in individual and societal mental health."-Vamık Volkan, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry; author of Enemies On The Couch: A Psychopolitical Journey Through War and Peace.

"Otto Kernberg, one of the most distinguished psychoanalysts in the world, traces the current crises in psychoanalysis to its educational structure, its failure to develop a research basis, and the dysfunctional organization of psychoanalytic institutes and societies, with the training analyst system at the core. His goal is to catalyze the transformation of psychoanalytic institutes from their current role—a mixture of trade school and theological seminary—to a new role, a synthesis of art academy and university college. Some will agree, while others might challenge his prescription, but any serious discussion of psychoanalytic education must begin here."-Robert Michels, M.D., Walsh McDermott University Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University.