“Free Association”: A Technical Principle or Model for Psychoanalytic Education?

I would like to begin this post with a dogmatic statement that is intended solely for the sake of discussion and, hopefully, not to alienate my many friends who teach in either psychoanalytic or academic institutions. I know that many of them are even involved in training psychoanalysts in universities and that they probably owe a great deal to such institutions and are understandably grateful for the education that they obtained from that experience. Others who are not involved in academia as such may be associated with free-standing psychoanalytic institutes that are nevertheless modeled on academic education and, for that reason, you may feel identified (at least in principle) with the academic model of education.

Though my psychoanalytic training was not at a university, I was educated, like everyone else, at a university in my undergraduate education and, like many, obtained a PhD in psychology at a graduate institute. So my experience is not that alien to yours, though I confess I sometimes wonder if I have lost my memory of having traveled here from another galaxy, when I realize how out-of-step I feel when I have the occasion to teach at a graduate school, which I do now and then, in California. Be that as it may, I believe that psychoanalytic education of some sort belongs in academic institutions, even if I am about to share with you my reservations about conceiving psychoanalytic training along academic lines. …

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