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  • Becoming a Psychoanalyst in Russia Today
  • Alla Pastorova and Marilyn S. Jacobs

I first learned about psychoanalysis when I was a psychology student at St. Petersburg State University. Along with other major psychological orientations, it was a requirement to study psychoanalysis. I found that I was attracted to the psychoanalytic approach because it was one without manipulations. I was very excited to discover psychoanalysis.

After I completed my university education in 1996, I began training in child psychoanalysis. This instruction was provided by my participation in seminars of the Society of Child Psychoanalysis in St. Petersburg. I have found the psychoanalytic approach to be very useful in understanding babies and their families. This group met on a regular basis to discuss psychoanalytic readings and participate in group supervision. On a regular basis, our group has obtained supervision from visiting psychotherapists. These individuals have included instructors from the Anna Freud Center in London who visited St. Petersburg. During 1999, 1 began participation in a group seminar of IPA affiliated psychoanalysts who visit St. Petersburg once a month.

Also during 1999, 1 began supervision over the Internet with an American psychoanalyst. During these weekly exchanges, I exchanged transcripts of my clinical work with my American supervisor. It was a unique opportunity to discuss my cases and it was very useful for me.

In Russia, training opportunities for psychologists interested in psychoanalysis are very, very limited. Therefore, my colleagues and myself are always interested in opportunities to visit international conferences related to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Some of the psychologists who I know have engaged in "shuttle analysis" in Latvia or Finland where there are IPA affiliated psychoanalysts who offer training. I recently have had two interviews with IPA supervisors about the possibility of engaging in shuttle analysis. However, the cost is very [End Page 69] expensive for most of us and one must prepare for this endeavor by saving money well in advance. Any opportunity to obtain training is met with eager participation by those of us who are interested in the undertaking of becoming a psychoanalytic psychologist in Russia. Both my colleagues and myself need many, many contacts with more qualified psychoanalysts in order to become fully competent in the practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

In Russia today life is very difficult. Many of us remember how we had another life before 1990. Prior to 1990, we had guaranteed work and education and our material comfort was sufficient for our needs. At present, it is a daily challenge to find work to provide for one's needs. There is a lack of jobs and this has caused much suffering. Wanting to be a psychoanalyst becomes more of a challenge in this context. However, I still hold onto the hope that I can develop myself in this way and then use my psychotherapeutic work to help people in our distressed country.

I am very motivated to become a psychoanalyst. I would enjoy the work and the analysis would help me in my life. I want to learn more about therapy so that I can work with more difficult patients. I am inspired to achieve this goal and in spite of the hardships will devote myself to it.



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pp. 69-70
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