What Kind of Training Do You Have?

One interesting thing about psychoanalysis is that the training is enormously complicated and long. I went to ACAP: Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in Livingston, New Jersey. It’s almost like when you go to French, total immersion in French class or any language, the first class you take and you’re thinking “what are they talking about?” By the 80th class it starts to sink in. Typically, in order to get a Certificate in Psychoanalysis you have to have a masters’ degree. I happen to have a Masters in Psychoanalysis. The certificate program is 96 graduate credits level credits, and it’s the equivalent of a doctorate. Unfortunately there’s only one place in the country that now gives a doctorate for psychoanalysis and that is in Boston, the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, which has just aligned themselves with ACAP to give a masters. Hopefully they will bring the doctorate down as well.

I did all the work of a doctorate: I have 196 page dissertation over there. I presented it, defended it, but I don’t have the title “doctor.” But I am a Nationally Certified Psychoanalyst. There are only two states that license psychoanalysts currently and they are New York and Vermont. New Jersey just, with lots of lobbying, started state certifying psychoanalysts, which is basically between nothing and a license. They have rules and regulations, they have State Board, and a three hour exam. I’m the 15th person to pass it, so I’m a State Certified Psychoanalyst and a Nationally Certified Psychoanalyst.

The training is really amazing. When you start it, you think why would I spend… it takes the average person 12 to 15 years to get through it. I have the record, at eight and one-half years, for the fastest through. Then again, I’ve been surrounded by it for so long. I was with Dr. Hyman Spotnitz, without knowing who he was. He was the father of the modern movement. You need to spend that kind of time to really understand your own feelings and then understand the knowledge that’s out there. It is the only mental health profession where you’re required to go through it to become one. You can become a psychologist, a counselor, a social worker and never talk a therapist. To become a psychoanalyst, you have to go through psychoanalysis. I think that’s really important. How do you have somebody counseling, who’s never been through counseling themselves? It’s pretty amazing. ~ Rafael Sharón, NCPsyA, SCPsyA, Psychoanalyst in Princeton NJ