The Analytic Observer

Newsletter of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society

Chicago Psychoanalytic Society | June 1998 Newsletter

Spreading the Psychoanalytic Word:
Student Affiliates

by Prudence Leib, MD

Although many are unaware, The American Psychoanalytic Association has undergone a sea of hange in recent years. Under the leadership of Marvin Margolis, committees have been formed to reach out to psychotherapists, students, academics, new geographic communities and non-American psychoanalytic societies and institutes. The Fellowship Program of the American has been opened up to psychologists and social workers. The current leadership of the American conceives of theorganization as a multidisciplinary specialty mental health organization.

The concept of Student Associates, at both a national and local level, seems especially promising.

About a year ago, the Executive council of the American approved the category of student associates- students in psychiatry, social work and psychology as well as other fields can join the American in this special category for a small annual fee ($25.00). In return, they receive mailings notifying them of scientific meetings, reduced annual meeting registration fees (only $20.00), a subscription to T.A.P., a reduced student rate for J.A.P.A. subscriptions (just $30.00) and a local mentor if possible.

The Committee on Student Associates of the American, headed by Gerry Melchiode, has a double mission. One, to promote and support the national level of affiliation by students outlined above. Two, to help local psychoanalytic communities develop student associations affiliated with their societies.

In Chicago, we already have a potential nucleus for a local student association organization. The Institute has sponsored a very successful local fellowship through its recruitment committee under the leadership of Hank Evans and Barbara Rocah. In its first year, there were 8 fellows, one of whom has already matriculated as a candidate. In its second and current year, there are 10 fellows. These groups have included psychiatry residents and psychology students and interns. At least one of this year’s fellows has joined the American as a student associate. This year alone, seven Chicagoans applied to the Fellowship Program of the American- five social workers, one psychiatry resident and one psychologist. All of these applicants receive a free subscription to T.A.P. for a year and a mentor. This gives us a ready nucleus of 20 to 25 individual who have already demonstrated their interest in psychoanalysis. Without any focused effort, we already have a nascent student affiliates group, only needing organizing, recognition and some publicity to keep it going.

The Society needs to pursue this idea vigorously in the near future. The benefits to us are obvious. These students represent the next generation of candidates and community leaders who can be involved immediately in psychoanalysis as students, supervises and consulatees. They spread the word that psychoanalysis is alive and thriving as a therapeutic model and as a profession. Having been involved over the last few years in fellowship programs both at a local and national level, I am astounded and impressed by the interest in psychoanalysis voiced by young trainees in all the mental health fields and by some of those outside mental health: lawyers, pediatricians, biochemists, etc.

In reading personal statements of applicants to the national fellowship program, one sees a recurrent theme: individuals enter into mental health fields because of a hunger for understanding human behavior and motivation, and find themselves dissatisfied in their training programs, missing the very depth that attracted them to the field. They voice this search for understanding and a profound disappointment with the deficit in the education offered them in their psychiatry, psychology and social work departments.

As psychoanalysts here in Chicago, we can provide the resources to treat this deficit.

Chicago Psychoanalytic Society | June 1998 Newsletter