Tuesday, March 7th, 2000

Detoxifying the Toxic Effects of Psychoanalytic Training

presenter: Emanual Berman, Ph.D.
Robert Michels, M.D., and Otto Kernberg, M.D.

The critical evaluation of the traditional psychoanalytic training structure (The "Eitingon Model"), developed most notably by Balint, Bernfeld, Szasz, Zusman, Lussier and Kernberg, raises crucial issues regarding paranoid atmosphere, "toxic" anxiety, infantilization, etc. The present paper extends this critique, emphasizing the role of the widespread utopian fantasy of "the New Person," which often leads to the harassment of actual "flawed" individuals. Our idealized notion of "molding a real analyst" operates in the context of multiple additional idealizations, which must be deconstructed to make change possible. The Israel Psychoanalytic Institute ("The Eitingon Institute") suffered from many of these persecutory attributes, but has been going through a decade of transformation, in which major changes in the structure of training have led to a much improved climate, more conducive to the development of genuine analytic identity. These "detoxifying" changes will be explored.