‘A Question of Training’ by Chris Oakley

But let us examine some of these insistent requirements, or at least two of them. At least for this evening the issue of supervision, the trainee engaging in a conversation with some other about those who come for analysis, appears eminently sensible, convivial even. On the understanding of course, that by and large, who that other might be, how often or for how long this should go on, would be left entirely to the discretion, in other words to the desire, of the trainee themselves. The only other point that is possibly worth drawing attention to is the shifting vocabulary relating to this aspect of training. Even the term super-vision feels too redolent of a spurious and imaginary mastery but at least is preferable, if only cosmetically, to the manifestly authoritarian stipulation “control analysis” which had been in vogue initially. We shall begin with the issue of one’s own analysis. There is what operates as a blind conviction, in other words is upheld by a nonlooking, that it is inconceivable that anyone might become a psychoanalyst without first undergoing an analysis themselves. This unrelenting consensus seems to operate at a number of simultaneous levels: leaving aside the financial one (and that may be the most significant of all), it appears to provide a sort of security blanket: all are agreed all should have it, no further contestation, no further conflict, we do not have to think any more.

But let us turn to the example of Jacques Derrida…I think that it is possible to sustain a claim that he takes his place amongst a select few who, amidst other interests and concerns, has devoted his philosophical life to an continual reading and re-reading of Freud, a de-constructive reading of course, but few could doubt his intimate, unrivalled even, knowledge of psychoanalysis. However those of us who know and love his initiatives will recall what he himself describes as “heroically” resisting psychoanalysis. In other words he has never been “in analysis” himself, although it may be of mild interest that he is married to an analyst. As he himself stated publically, addressing an audience of some 700 or so, what is this knowledge that is assumed by the title psychoanalyst? Principally it is twofold: a knowledge of ‘the’ unconscious and, remember that audience, so enraptured, so entranced (for the most part), knowledge of the phenomenon of transference…and who would dare to claim that he is without such knowledge? So, were it to be his desire to work as a psychoanalyst (which I emphasise it is not) what is it that the compulsory analysis would provide? Why this Freudian Law that only someone who has been analysed can analyse?