Saturday, November 23, 2013

So You Want to be a Psychoanalyst?

I'm not a psychoanalyst and I've never been in analysis.  However, our blogger world friend, PsychPractice, is a psychoanalyst in New York, and she has a post up on what becoming a psychoanalyst entails.  I think the final answer is an enormous amount of time and money.  See her blog post, "The Couch, First Session."

PsychPractice writes:

I interviewed with 2 different analysts, 2 times each. I don't remember for sure, but I think each of the 4 interviews lasted at least an hour, maybe 90 minutes. Or it might have just felt that long. The first interview with each analyst was a get-to-know-me session. The second involved more getting to know me, following up on things I spoke about the first time around. And I also had to present a case, which seems like it would be the hardest part, but it wasn't. It was the easiest.
I bought two suits. I wore one to the first interview with Dr. G, and the other to the first interview with Dr. E. Then I had them dry-cleaned, and I switched off for the second interviews. I also prepared two different therapy cases, each of which reflected certain challenges, and the ways in which I work with patients, and my ability to think analytically.

I had a lot of internal debate about how I wanted to come across. Specifically, just how neurotic did I want to appear. Too much, and they'd think I was unstable. Too little, and they'd know I was lying. I had an intuitive sense that I was about the right amount of neurotic for this kind of training-you don't train to be an analyst if you're not at least a little screwed up-but I wanted to make sure to seem like it.

I discovered pretty quickly that how I wanted to seem was irrelevant. And that discovery made me want to do psychoanalytic training all the more. Because the people I interviewed with did not shy away from asking difficult questions about my family, my motivations, my conflicts. And they did not settle for pat answers. And they pursued important topics. And they did so with kindness and without judgement. And I realized that I wanted to be able to do what they were doing.

Wow, PsychPractice has her suits dry cleaned each time she wears them?!  Does everyone else do that?  Even if nothing gets spilled on them? 

 All kidding aside, I found her post to be interesting and enlightening. 


jesse said...

Dry cleaning and switching the suits was what she did before analysis and she is comfortable enough now to admit it! What she said about the questions the interviewers asked rings true - very to-the-point and perceptive. I think I'll take a look at her blog now... Thanks for posting this, Dinah.

joni said...

I went on her blog. Analysis is 4 to 5 times a week. Whoa. That sounds like way too much therapy for me. I think 2 would be my max, though I have only ever done once a week.

I guess this, at the very least, might maybe help someone work through issues quicker? It does sound really intense. I wonder if certain personalities would take to it more than others. Some people need that kind of intense experience to really get to the heart of things

PsychPractice said...

Okay, let me come "clean", as it were. I started interviewing during the hottest week of the summer, so no way I wasn't gonna get the suits cleaned.

To address what Joni said, analysis does and doesn't help work through issues quicker. I think a short course of weekly therapy can help with an individual issue, some specific anxiety, for instance. So in that sense, analysis is slower. But, for myself at least, I find that that kind of quicker help doesn't, as you say, get to the heart of things, so whatever is causing the anxiety in the first place is still there, and will manifest in some other way, or sometimes the same way. Analysis takes longer, but it does delve deep enough that a lot of things truly resolve.

Thanks for checking out my blog.