When speaking of psychoanalysis in the community (in social issues,
the arts, business, politics, neuroscience and the psychology of
everyday life) I have always emphasized not only what we might
provide, but more importantly, what we as psychoanalysts can learn.
How does being “out there” enrich our clinical work, our training, and
Last Friday APsaA member Will Braun and I met with Brother Brian
Carty, the founder of George Jackson Academy (GJA), and De La Salle
Academy in New York. We are attempting to replicate aspects of the
Analytic Service to Adolescents Program (ASAP)
(www.chicagoanalysis.org/asap.php) in Chicago with GJA, a middle
school for severely disadvantaged kids. Many of these students go on
to high school in some of the most prestigious schools in New York and
the east coast.
What makes GJA successful? It’s not just the excellent teachers, the
principal, the support staff, the parents, and the wonderful students.
It’s all the above. “THE ONLY WAY EDUCATION WORKS IS WITH A
COMMUNITY,” Brother Brian underscored. “Our students not only receive
our help, they help each other.” This is someone who has founded three
schools for a troubled student population predicted to fail, and
raised private funds to support them under impossible conditions.
Brother Brian was recently the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of
Honor for community service. If Brother Brian can succeed, why can’t
What is the state of our psychoanalytic community?
Whether through our Council (Board of Directors) or our BOPS, APsaA
must be a “community,” and provide aid and guidance to local institute
communities, and members, while building these structures by example
and support. Currently, our educational standards are interfering
with our local communities in two significant ways.
Our current certification/TA structure interferes with recruitment.
Qualified prospective candidates are going elsewhere for training
because we are not perceived as a welcoming psychoanalytic community.
How could we be when many are asked to leave their analyses that, in
many instances are exactly the experiences that have motivated them to
become analytic candidates? This does not build a psychoanalytic
And, our current TA system creates “have and have not’s”. After
meeting with and hearing from many colleagues over the last three
months, I hear of the resentment and poor morale caused by our current
system. The current TA structure creates a group of analysts seeing
many candidate patients in analysis, while others are not. Either we
create a more viable TA system that facilitates our local
psychoanalytic communities, or we dismantle a system that is proving
destructive in the long run.
Brother Brian distinguishes between “the teacher” and the
“instructor.” The “instructor” imparts knowledge. The “teacher” uses
the relationship to teach, taking into account the whole student. Do
our current educational standards guide curriculum, supervisors,
faculties, and analysts to educate the candidate of 2009?Standards are
about educating and supporting an educative and practice community.
And finally, maybe most importantly, communities must be generative.
Brother Brian describes students graduating, coming back to his
schools and complaining of the hard time they might be having at the
new high school. There is a need for a connection to the old school.
However, these graduates are encouraged and pushed to move forward and
take their education and community experience on to the new school and
re-create it. Everything is about moving forward.
Not being generative is one of our biggest limitations. Do we
encourage people to learn in our analytic communities, and move on to
be more independent and more creative and contributing psychoanalysts?
Or are we creating obstacles with direct or indirect messages of,
“You are not skilled enough….You are not quite doing analysis right
enough…You need yet more experience…Was that really an analytic
alliance or merely a therapeutic one?” Are we obsessively striving to
create “the perfect psychoanalyst” and hurting our communities in the
I fear our current standards are so much the latter. You are not
really “competent” even after 5+ years of analytic practice, until
proven otherwise. This is NOT community building. This creates
And the proof? While co-Chairs of our Committee on Foundations for 11
years, Selma Duckler and I frequently heard institute directors and
foundation boards complain that the faculty and alums of their
institutes were the most difficult from whom to obtain donations to
the institute. As one director once said, “It’s as if they resent the
institute following graduation and it gets worse as time goes on.”
Our most successful universities succeed in raising funds. What is
not working at our institutes, also institutions of higher education?
The average age on the faculty at my institute in Chicago is 72. It
is close to that in APsaA. We have not yet become a generative
Our current BOPS Task force attempting to revise our current standards
must consider what kind of new standards will facilitate educational
and practice oriented communities locally. Nothing less will work.
Finally, it is not what I or any leader could do to move us forward.
It is all of us speaking up and contributing in any way possible to
make these critical changes happen. Only then will we catch up with
Brother Brian in continuing to build our psychoanalytic community.
Again, thanks for your emails. They make this effort absolutely one of
the more meaningful in my career. Please keep writing. And, I will
be in L.A., this Thursday night at the New Center For Psychoanalysis.
I look forward to meeting many of you in person.