Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for December 8th, 2011

Teaching Psychoanalysis and Child Development: Together Again

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 8, 2011

 I am back to my teaching role, that I posted over a year ago about how sad I was to end my class. Now, I am with five new students to me, although they are second year students, at a psychoanalytic institute in town. This is not the psychoanalytic institute I trained at, so although I have taught there for years, I still feel like a visiting professor. Perhaps that is because I pay dues to the organization that birthed me as a psychoanalyst. Like families, psychoanalytic training is a developmental process where there seems to be undying loyalty to where you started. The personal and professional transformation that takes place as one goes through training is hard to articulate, yet it feels like a major personal growth spurt, with all of the tumult of a second, and maybe for some of us, a first, adolescence.

  Our first two-hour session is a meet and greet along with reviewing three articles that I assigned to them. The meet and greet part is fun and interesting, but of course, I start out a bit nervous, as I enter into an unknown world of a class, like all classes, has a dynamic that I am not familiar with. I don’t know who likes to talk a lot. I don’t know who is shy and reserved. I don’t know if one person likes to dominate another, but I will find all that out in short order.  Meeting these five new folks was inspiring. These are five (three women, two men), hard-working individuals who are devoting a substantial amount of time and money re-tooling themselves to work in their private practice with  psychoanalytic tools. I give them a lot of credit for that, given how hard it is to find the resources to be so focused in this day and age of continual multi-tasking.

  After about twenty minutes, I calmed down internally. We were getting to know each other, and the enthusiasm carried us through the uncertainty of whether we could all work together for the next ten weeks (eight week class with a two week break for the holidays). We then dived into the material; material I love to talk about. We talked about how important childhood is for the development of enjoying leisure time. The “latency” of childhood refers to the only time in one’s life which is free of the sexual pressures of pursuing bodily passions. We discuss how schools influence the childhood sense of morality and how certain schools reinforce the parents’ value system over others. We have a rich interchange involving patients, personal experiences, and raising one’s children. Understanding the developmental train, leading to the formation of personality is fascinating. It is nice to share that fascination with like-minded curious and dedicated folks. Like my blog, my teaching is a labor of love. The romance has begun.

Posted in Child Development, Teaching, Teaching Psychoanalysis | 2 Comments »

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