Trying to understand why so many individuals in APsaA feel alienated and uninvolved with the IPA, I have seeking the opinions of members, who, to my knowledge, have not had much contact with the IPA. I was especially concerned to discover that even Training Directors often feel the IPA is not very relevant to their professional work.
In talking with some who expressed this view, it seemed to me there is significant confusion about the Eitingon model. In a recent survey done by APsaA’s Task Force on the Eitingon model of some 15 societies in Europe, Latin America and US, we found there is wide variation in their training approaches regarding frequency of sessions, gender of control cases, graduation requirements and criteria for career advancement from associate member to full member to training analyst. (To clarify terminology that can be confusing, the word “society” is used generically in IPA parlance to describe institute, center or association and implies a training function).
Here are some of our findings from the survey: APsaA is the only society that requires certification. Everywhere else, graduation from an institute is a sufficient credential to apply to the society. However, some societies have stringent requirements for graduates to advance to full membership. We found that considerable variation exists regarding requirements for frequency and number of training cases.
Although at every Congress the IPA has an afternoon meeting with training directors of societies, among some training directors I spoke with there is a feeling that there is not enough communication between the training directors and the IPA and that there is a general attitude of indifference toward them.
I asked Fernando Weissmann, the chair of the IPA Training and Oversight Committee, to clarify the IPA’s position regarding its role in overseeing training he said the following: “The Eitingon model is an abstraction and there are many variations on the model depending on various circumstances such as the size of the society, political and economical considerations. The model exists only to give an appearance of unity in the IPA. The component societies have complete autonomy.”
A lively argument is going on in North America about what training requirements should be regarding frequency, hours of supervision and whether variations of the Eitingon model are acceptable to the IPA. Some members wish for more definitive guidelines while others prefer more latitude. Those in the latter category resent the feeling that big brother is watching them.
As a result of the increased flexibility the big challenge ahead is in who can analyze candidates. The old rigid tradition-bound rules seem less relevant. Here the IPA could provide tangible help in the form of an online discussion forum where differing views can be discussed. This would be a very timely topic for the directors of training meeting during the IPA Congress.
Another area that needs exploration is the issue of criteria of competence for supervising analysts. What training is necessary? Some societies mandate attendance at supervisory seminars while others have instituted a piggyback system where a new supervisor presents his supervisory work to a trained supervisor.
Again this is another area where the IPA has dropped the ball. I propose that the IPA address these questions and become more proactive in fostering discussions about TA’s and supervising analysts. These should take place in a collegial atmosphere that would encourage brainstorming and finding new solutions, rather than perpetuation of a tradition of gate-keeper type oversight that is no longer appropriate. That would make the IPA more relevant and usable.