The Future of Psychoanalytic Practice 

It could be virtual, though I hope not. It could be a next step in the integration of science and art, as in the neuroscience of unconscious fantasy. Whatever the content, students and early career clinicians are the future of psychoanalytic practice. 

Predicting the future of psychoanalytic practice is often a Rashoman-like affair. Take, for example, two descriptions of the field written approximately 6-8 months apart. In the Summer 2008 issue ofPsychologist-Psychoanalyst, Nancy McWilliams devoted her President's Remarks to the continued declining interest in psychoanalysis among schools. The lack of teaching positions, course-work and general malaise felt by students hoping to offer depth treatment were some of the ideas on which she elaborated. Shift to the Spring 2009 edition of the same publication. Mary Beth Cresci wrote with great optimism about the future of psychoanalysis. Especially buoyed by recent research findings that psychoanalysis is indeed effective, she makes a stand for a renaissance in our field. 

Locally, we see the same varying perspectives towards the future of psychoanalysis. In most masters and doctoral programs, students receive minimal coursework in psychoanalytic theory and technique -- often just one or two explicit courses in a four-year curriculum. However, a quick review of the faculty in these same programs sometimes reveals a number of psychoanalytically oriented instructors, who put a psychoanalytic spin on courses such as "Diagnosis" and "Clinical Technique." 

Students who want more than a heady whiff of psychoanalytic training must seek out internships specializing in hands on psychoanalytically oriented practice. If those students want ongoing education, community and mentoring they can turn to NCSPP. 

The NCSPP Student Paper award is a unique opportunity for students to share their thinking as they develop a psychoanalytic approach to the field. There is a real community of elders, mentors and friends who are interested in students' thoughts. The Student Paper provides a singular chance for someone to present to and publish in a community of analytic clinicians looking to the future. 

Submissions are due November 13th. Click here for more information. 

Warm regards,

Melissa Holub, Ph.D.
NCSPP President