Certification continues to be a contentious issue within the Association. Under our current educational standards, certification remains linked to education and, most prominently, linked to training and supervising analyst appointment. Certification attempts to assess clinical functioning. There is a question APsaA has not yet fully addressed: is clinical expertise a predictor of teaching or supervisory skill?
Many members are fully engaged in education of candidates and also education of psychoanalytic psychotherapy students. Although most analysts support the principles of a tripartite system (seminars, supervised cases and personal analysis), it is not clear they support the training analyst system per se. Many feel a personal analysis that is protected from organizational/hierarchical issues is more important to a candidate’s development than an analysis by an APsaA-approved training analyst. The question of how to evaluate any graduate analyst’s ability to do all functions required in the tripartite system deserves broad discussion.
The Association’s defense in the recent lawsuit alleged that training analyst appointment can be highly subjective and vulnerable to political processes at both the national and local levels. In my view, an APsaA member should feel certain that such perceptions/complaints are fully researched by BOPS to insure immunity from politics at all levels and to support quality of candidate education. Additionally, internal appeal processes need to be established and their use by individual members supported.
Some feel the recent suit was not about standards but rather about governance. I think it is about both. All graduates of APsaA institutes are interested in and actively endorse high clinical and ethical standards. The idea that standards are something non-certified members or non-TA’s are less able to think about than training analysts is anachronistic. By tying conversations about standards to certification and TA appointment we risk robbing ourselves of our own valuable resources.