What is a Psychoanalyst
A graduate Psychoanalyst is a licensed mental health professional who, in addition to his or her highest level of academic training, has also completed approximately four to five years of additional post-graduate course-work at a certified Training Institute and who has obtained hundreds of hours of continuous supervision from qualified psychoanalysts on multiple training cases.
In addition to this formal clinical program, the psychoanalyst is required to undergo his or her own personal psychoanalysis in order to widen appreciation of internal mental processes and to open up awareness of any blind spots that might hamper understanding of patients who differ in background or motivation.
Psychoanalytic Institutes have rigorous admission standards and some of the most demanding and intensive post graduate training programs available to therapists. They also teach and demand strict protocols of ethics and professional behavior which are enforced by the body to which the Institute belongs.
After obtaining my Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, I completed a three-year Advanced Training Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Instititute, an Affiliate of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the International Psychoanalytic Society.
A few years later, I graduated as a Psychoanalyst from the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, an Affiliate of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society (which is also a Member of the International Psychoanalytic Society).
Because of all these connections and memberships, as well as obvious moral reasons, I am bound by the rules of ethics and confidentiality of all of these groups.
Most psychoanalysts continue to commit to their own personal growth through reading, going to conferences, and even having confidential consultations with peers or more senior analysts during the course of their careers. This is because psychoanalysis as a discipline fosters a deep understanding and interest in the complexities of not only the external situation of each individual , but also the internal emotional world ( for example how each individual uniquely perceives his or her external situation).
Decisions about the frequency of sessions are made jointly between the doctor and patient according to the issues being worked on as well as financial feasability. Psychoanalysis is a way of thinking about something together and is not measured by frequency of sessions.