A new reality from the world Today (2006) there is a concern visible to all of us which refer to the dramatic reduction in the number of applicants to study Psychoanalysis. In 1993 the number of applicants that responded to the call for <entrance applications> in our Society in Caracas was fifty applicants. In the year 2004 the number decreased to three applicants. In 2005 we have seven applicants. I understand that in other Psychoanalytical Societies also have significant reductions in the number of applicants. The total number of candidates of the German Society for Psychoanalysis (PDV) diminished from 321 in 1992, to 273 in 2003.
In 1992 there were 112 candidates in first year and in 2003 there are 54 candidates in first year. I understand that in some Institutes of the east coast of USA did not have any candidate at a given moment. In Buenos Aires for the first time in many years, some of the numerous training analysts were without candidates, something completely unusual. Almost all the Institutes of Psychoanalysis in the USA, Europe and in Latin America (including Brazil) report a dramatic decrease in the number of applicants. In the British Society, nowadays there are fewer members than five years ago. That is to say, they have died or they have retired more analysts than those new members that have entered the Society. I wonder which will the reason for this particular situation. In this brief communication I will present some ideas that may be helpful to open a debate of this delicate problem.
The fundamental hypothesis that I outline resides in the fact that the potential candidates to study psychoanalysis < have lost the interest> . The reasons of this < progressive loss of interest > that I present here remains in the realm of the most pure speculation.
2. Changes in social values During forty years,
I mean in the decades of the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies Psychoanalysis was very valued and appreciated in our occidental society. Psychoanalysis prospered because it had < prestige > among the most eager minds and bright university youths. Psychoanalysis offered new theories on the formation of the mind and in the ways of understanding human nature and human behavior based on the unconscious psychic conflict. There were new theories that had < the attractiveness of novelty > and they were understood as a challenge <to the social status quo > of the times. Psychoanalysis was seen as a theoretical offer of novelty and of a possible force for social change. The analytic posture questioning the phenomenological approach of a < conscious psyche > , the psychoanalytical radical proposal of unconscious processes, the novel importance of infantile sexuality, the revelations esteeming from the Oedipus complex, plus the overall insistence in the individual search of the unconscious truth and the clear challenge to the < the impo sture of self> , all these offered a <attractive and novel hook> to the new promotions of young intelligent university graduates. During those years the <effectiveness> of Psychoanalysis was clearly recognize. The individual < slow but solid pr o gress > within the analytic process was accepted as a way to achieve goals.
3. The later decades In the decades of the eighties and nineties the new < instant culture >, the < cu lture of the disposable >, the <culture of the fast and brief, with little e f fort >, was able to subtract prestige to the detailed and laborious work done within the psychoanalytical proposal. Psychoanalysis <stopped be en idea l ize > and began to be less popular. The progressive appearance of <more e f fective methods> like < b eha v ior therapy > in their multiple variations, and the advances in < neuropharmacology > began to claim the interest of the bright young university graduates.
4. The social changes The social changes of the times with the < use of new drugs >, the < grow ing level of global poverty >, the dramatic < population expl osion > and the < fragmentation and disarticulation of the family concept >, the emergence of <new spiritual cures , religious , crystals and palmistry cures >, reveal what began to be call: <the inefficiency of our method >. The efficacy of the intense and detailed technique present in the psychoanalytical method, was put in question. Then appeared <abbreviated alternatives based on psych o analytic principles > mostly in the field of psychotherapy: <family ther apies >, < therapeutic communities >, < brief psych o therapy >, < group therapies >, < other forms of body therapies >. All these quick therapies were focused on the partial solution of one individual problem with satisfactory result. They were placed successfully as < brief and effective >. The psychoanalytical classic cure continues losing ground. These factors made an impact producing certain indifference in the bright universities graduates who began to see psychoanalysis as an old theory <already overcome >. It was seen as something interesting but already out of fashion.
5. The last ten years In the last ten years a new phenomenon arises, it was called: < globalization >, with the < distant immediate presence > through < TV and satellites >. We also have the effects produced on the individual by the presence of <I n ternet >. Simultaneously there are more extraordinary advances in the field of < neuro sciences >, < neuro images > < neuro pharmacology > and in field of < human g enetics >. The new medications offer effectiveness to overcome some psychic distress. But we know as psychoanalysts that this medication will never be able to promote neither to offer < the knowledge of oneself > that Psychoanalysis offers. However this medication may be useful to help < the great mass es > of human beings that are in psychic pain and in need of help. Biological Psychiatry is < more and more a t tractive > for bright young psychiatric student. The International Congress of Psychoanalysis of the IPA in New Orleans in March of the 2004 was attended by some 2.500 Psychoanalysts. The Congress of Psychiatry (American APA) in New York (May of 2004) was attended by some 20.000 professionals. Despite the fact that the majority of them traveled paid by the pharmaceutical industry, the magnitude of the attendance speaks of the level of interest present in young professionals.
6. A hope It is clear to me, that an interest in psychoanalytical theory still exists in different < p ost – graduates > training programs such as Psychiatry, social anthropology and Clinical Psychology. This interest is evidenced in our presence as the students’ analysts, individual and group supervisions, as well as university conferences. This is positive and it gives us some hope. However we have to recognize and it is cause for worries, that in the < pre-graduate level > in Psychology of several universities the presence of university teachers that are Psychoanalysts < is scarce or null >.
7.The teaching of Psychoanalysis in this pre-graduate level is very poor. Often the behaviorist theoretician offers a negative and depreciative view of psychoanalytical theory and practice.An additional problem An additional problem arises in the heart of our own Psychoanalytic Institutes. I am referring to the problem of < rigidity and resistance > within the Psychoanalytic Institution. Training analysts resist the necessary changes to up date and to place psychoanalytical training as a realistic accessible option. We should be aware that it is not only necessary and healthy to frequently up date <the training Programs>, but it is also necessary to bring up to date the <entrance and graduation requirements and procedures>. It is also necessary to evaluate and up date the < length and cost of training > and < the way the courses are dictated > making changes applicable to each region. It is necessary to revise the Eitingon tripod. If, it is difficult or complicated in certain regions to comply with < the simultaneity > of the tripod, then it is necessary to find a way to change, to up date and fulfill the objectives of training without the simultaneity. Today in some cities it may be impractical the issue of simultaneity of the tripod. Let us remember that our training is < long, expensive and with a high level of excellence>. We can up date it so that it becomes < shorter, less expensive and with higher level of exce l lence >. To my understanding < the fundamental issue > in the excellence of our training stand on defending < the spec ificity of the method >. It is not necessary to complicate our training process with useless requirement, it is necessary to review and up date.
The validity of training It is common knowledge here in Caracas and in the rest of the world, that < the Institutes >, that is to say the < analysts of the Institute > resist the up date and < resist > to do the necessary modifications to training procedures. The new proposals that try to bring up to date our procedures are detained and sequestered in the endless and fruitless local and international discussion in different kind of assemblies. This impossibility to < up date > is already bringing
consequences regarding the actuality for a full Psychoanalytic training as a valid option. Clearly aware of the risk involved in up dating training procedures, I am one of those analyst that favor to up date our official psychoanalytic training offered and delivered by our Institutes in the IPA. I clearly do not foster the opening of parallel training, in the way of opening full courses of < psychoanalytical Psych o therapy > as a way to make accessible some psychoanalytic training to some professionals that are interested in psychoanalysis, but can not afford the full training. This strategy of using parallel courses, instead of helping the < p sychoanalytic cause > it contributes to the risk and possibility of losing our most valued asset < psych o analytic specifici ty >. Perhaps it is useful and necessary to clarify that within the psychoanalytic practice I included the possibility that the analyst do (at least) three kind of acts that bears psychoanalytic specificity: There are: analytic, pedagogic and orthopedic act.
9. The Psychoanalyst title To these problems we should add one more element of concern. This new element is present in a dramatic form in the USA and Europe, not so much in Latin America. Here I am referring to the < legal status > of the title of Psychoanalyst. In some places it is called <certification>. We all know that our < professional ide n tity > as psychoanalyst is granted by the IPA at an international level. But it is something done in private, independent of the rule of law of each participating nation. Now a day, in many countries there is an interest to find ways to achieve an important objective: that the titles of Psychoanalyst should be recognized by some University School, opening the way to the creation of a < new profession > accepted by the laws of the nation as such. This new profession would be call < Psy choanalysis > with its corresponding lawful regulation < Law of Profe s sional practice >. Up to now, to my knowledge some partial progress has been achieved in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina. There with different < strategies >, each country has achieved access to the School of Education to graduate <psychoanalyst>. In other they have gain access to the Ministry of Health, to produce an acceptance of the title of Psychoanalyst. In France during the year 2004 for the first time in history a new law that regulates the practice of Psychoanalysis was approved. In the same line, there is a discussion regarding the practice of Psychoanalysis been carried out by the Brazilian Congress. They are discussing a
new Law for the practice of Psychoanalysis that is very much harmful to the analysts of the IPA. In this new Law, not yet approved, the Congress of the Republic will control and will determine the parameters and procedures for <psychoanalytic training>.
10. The private practice If on top of all this problems, we add the current difficulty that exists in the entire world, regarding the decreased earnings from our private practice, we then understand why many specialists and brilliant university youths, that previously have had a serious < interest in psych o analysis >, now look for more lucrative professions.
11.The Positive side of all this But everything in this world has their positive side. This situation of < loss of pre s tige > leaves us a clear benefit: our few applicants make it for < si ncere inte r est and conviction > in the approach and wisdom that psychoanalysis has to offer. 12.
Bibliography: IPA (2003): Information coming from spontaneous conversations with national and international analysts.