Are candidate an endangered species?

1. A new reality from the world

A visible concern to all of us in this 21st century is the dramatic reduction in the number of applicants to study Psychoanalysis. In 1993 the number of applicants that responded to the call of <entrance applications> in our Society was fifty. In the year 2004, the number decreased at three. In 2005 we have seven. I understand that in the other Psychoanalytical Societies close to us, were also 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 USA east coast 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 report a dramatic decrease in the number of applicants, including Brazil. 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 for the reason for this situation to be. 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> will remains in the pure speculation.

2. Changes in social values During forty years, 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 the unconscious psychic conflict. They were theories that had <the attractiveness of novelty> and they were understood as a challenge <to the social status quo>. In that Psychoanalysis was seen then as a theoretical offer of novelty and of change. The analytic posture questioning the phenomenological approach of a ‘conscious psyche’, their radical proposal of unconscious processes, the novel importance of infantile sexuality, the importance of the Oedipus complex, plus the overall insistence in the individual search of the unconscious truth and the clear challenge to the deceit, to the imposture and the lie, 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 slow but solid progress within the analytic process was accepted.

3. The later decades In the decades of the eighties and nineties the progressive appearance of <more effective methods> like behavior therapy in their multiple variations, and neuro pharmacology, began to claim the interest of the young university graduates.

The new <Now culture>, the <culture of the disposable>, the <culture of the fast and brief, with little effort>, was able to subtract prestige to the detailed and laborious work done within the psychoanalytical proposal. Psychoanalysis <stopped been idealize> and began to be less popular.

4. The social changes The social changes of the times, with the <use and abuse of drugs>, the <growing poverty>, the dramatic <population explosion> and the <fragmentation or disarticulation of the family>, the emergence of <you new spiritual, religious and crystals and palmistry cures>, reveal what began to be call: <the inefficiency of our method>, that is to say the inefficiency of the intense and detailed psychoanalytical method. Then appeared <abbreviated alternatives> in the field of the psychotherapy like <family therapies>, <therapeutic communities>, the <brief psychotherapy>, <group therapies>, <other forms of behavior therapies>.

All these quick therapies were focused on the partial solution of the problem, but were placed successfully as <brief and more 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 like an old theory <already overcome>, as something interesting, but already out of fashion.

5. The last ten years In the last ten years a new phenomenon arises, it is called globalization:

The immediate presence through TV and satellites. Also the effects that internet have on the individual. Simultaneously there are more advances in the field of neuro sciences, pharmacology and in human genetics. The new medications offer an effectiveness to overcome some psychic symptoms. 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 masses of human beings that are in psychic pain and in need of help. Biological Psychiatry is more and more attractive for young psychiatric student. The International Congress of Psychoanalysis of the IPA in New Orleans in March of the 2004 was attended by some 2.000 Psychoanalysts. The Congress of Psychiatry (American APA) in New York (May of 2004) was attended by some 20.000 professionals, although the majority of them traveled paid by the pharmaceutical industry.

6. A hope It is clear that an interest still exists in the psychoanalytical theory in different post-graduates training programs, such as Psychiatry, anthropology and Clinical Psychology.

This interest is evidenced in our presence as the students’ Analysts, individual supervisions, as well as university conferences. This is positive and it gives us some hope. However we have to recognize that in the pre-graduate level in ‘Psychology’ of several Universities, the presence of professors that are Psychoanalysts is scarce or null. The teaching of Psychoanalysis in this pre-graduate level is very poor. Even the behaviorist theoretician offers a negative view of psychoanalysis.

7. An additional problem An additional problem arises in the heart of our own Psychoanalytic training institutes.

I am referring to the problem of <rigidity and resistance> in the Institution. They resist the necessary changes to modernize and to place psychoanalytical training as an accessible option. We should be aware that it is necessary and healthy to bring up to date the <Programs>, but also bring up to date the <entrance requirements> and also update the <duration of training> and <the form in that the courses are dictated>. it is necessary to revise the tripod of Eitingon. If the simultaneous three aspect of Eitingon tripod is not possible [in some cases], then we have to update and offer alternatives to a no simultaneous training. Let us remember that our formation is <long, expensive and demanding>. We can modernize it to that is <less long, less expensive and to maintain the excellence level>. To my to understand the fundamental thing is in defending <the specificity of the method> not in complicating the transmission.

8. The validity of the Formation It is common here and in the rest of the world, to find that our Institutes, that is to say the analysts of the Institute, resist actualizations and necessary modifications.

The proposals to up to date training programs encounter endless local and international obstacles in endless assemblies. This has their later consequences in the validity of the training. I am one of those that it is preferable to modernize official training in the Institute, instead of opening and fostering alternatives training courses in <Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy>. This courses are ok as a prelude to formal training, not instead of formal training.

9. The titles of Psychoanalyst To this we should add an element more than concern.

This new element is present in dramatic form in it USA and Europe, not so much in Latin America. I refer to the <legal status> of the title of Psychoanalyst, to the so called <certification>. We all know that our professional identity is granted by the IPA at internalcional level. However many countries are advancing in achieving a recognized local university degree as ‘Psychoanalyst’. This opens the way to the creation of <a new university profession> accepted by the laws of the nation. This new profession would be <Psychoanalysis> with its corresponding <Law of Professional Exercise>. Up to now some advances has been achieved in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina. There with different <models> has been open an access to those Authorize Education or directly with the Ministry of Health.

In France last month (March 2004) it was approved a law for the first time, for the Exercise of Psychoanalysis. In Brazil there is a discussion in the Brazilian Congress, a new ‘Law of Exercise of Psychoanalysis’ that is very harmful to the analysts of the IPA, since it would be the ‘Congress of the Republic’ those that will determines the parameters of training that will offer the Institute. No decision has been achieve yet.

10. The private practice If to all these problems we add the current difficulty that exist in private practice in the entire world to earned a decent living level with our profession, then we understand because many brilliant university youths, that previously would had <interest in dedicating to the psychoanalysis> now they look for other specialties.

11. The Positive thing of all this But everything in this world has their positive side.

This situation of <loss of prestige> leaves us a clearing benefit: our few applicants make it for <sincere interest and conviction> in the special training that our psychoanalytical method has to offer.

12. Bibliography: IPA (2003): Information coming from conversations free with national and international analysts in person and by way of Inter-net.