The Analyst's Analyst Within

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Analytic Press, 2003 - Psychology - 363 pages
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The Analyst's Analyst Within is the most illuminating study to date of how psychoanalysts' experiences with their own analysts affect their lives, their loves, and their evolving professional identities. A gifted interviewer with equally gifted interview subjects, Tessman samples different gender combinations and age ranges in showing how the values typifying different eras of psychoanalytic theorizing enter into the meaning and impact of training analyses.

Tessman's findings are striking, and they do not end with her discovery of startling differences according to the decade during which a training analysis took place. She also found that neither the theoretical orientation of the training analyst nor his or her technical preferences predicted whether, years later, the analysis would be remembered as satisfying or dissatisfying, as growth promoting or thwarting. Rather, it was the quality of affective engagement that became reliably present, with the figure of the training analyst, inscribed in all his or her particularity, accounting for the perceived sense of a truly productive analytic experience.

Tessman's research program, which encompasses her methodology, her skill as an interviewer, and the wisdom and clarity of thought of her participants, lifts this work well beyond the perfunctory debates about psychoanalytic training that recur in the journal literature. The power of The Analyst's Analyst Within resides in compelling individual narratives in which analysts revisit their own treatment past - and the analyst within - with candor, vividness, and often great poignancy. The result is a book that not only supersedes previous studies of the training analysis but also opens a new vista on how and why analysis works when it works and fails when it fails.

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About the author (2003)

Lora Heims Tessman, supervising analyst and faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, is a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and Society and of the Institute for Psychoanalytics Training and Research, New York City.

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