Statement of Philosophy
The purpose of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Center of North Carolina is to introduce psychoanalytic ideas to a wider audience through a one year introductory course; and to enhance the quality of the psychotherapy available to the public by offering to psychotherapists of various clinical disciplines a certificate program in the theory and practice of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy through a two year advanced course.
Inasmuch as it would be impossible to offer in any two year program an in depth exposure to all schools of psychoanalytic thinking, the designers of the Advanced Curriculum have chosen to provide a review, at an advanced level, of the classical principles of psychoanalytic theory and treatment along with an examination of the primary alternative models that have arisen in the on going development of psychoanalytic thinking. We view the psychoanalytic theory building process as on going and unending, as did Sigmund Freud. The authority of any theoretical statement, like the authority of psychoanalytic interpretation, resides not in its comprehensiveness, its adherence to earlier statements, or the repetitiveness with which it may be stated, but rather in its capacity to move a process along by capturing accurately enough in words some salient dynamic experience. So thereby both writer and reader, or speaker and hearer, are enlivened and freed to entertain new thoughts and experiences in both a personally and interpersonally responsible and responsive way.
Like theory, psychoanalytic practice is evolving. It acts as both stimulus and response to evolving theory. What we seek to offer in the Advanced Curriculum is a seminar in which clinical issues and experiences can be thought about by practicing clinicians in an organized way, and in which evenly hovering attention, which characterizes a psychoanalytic state of mind, can be fostered. While we view the published ideas of psychoanalytic practitioners as useful tools in themselves, which can enhance our therapeutic work as well as our communications with each other, we find the primary value of studying these ideas comes from the process of thinking about them, individually and together. This results in increased mental flexibility and deepened intuitive understanding of both ourselves, and those we seek to help.
Our intent is that the Advanced Curriculum might function for its participants, both faculty and students, much as a psychoanalytic essay, as recently described by Christopher Bollas, functions for both its writer and readers:
“...Essays are always flawed because they raise more questions than they answer, and they are open in the sense that they both allude to issues impossible to raise in such a space and, equally, are informed by issues that are too numerous to itemize. Readers of good essays always wander off somewhere amid the reading to have thoughts, ideas, occasional inspirations of their own. When that happens, the essay, in my view, has succeeded.” (Psychoanalytic Dialogues III, 3: 425).
The freedom to let the mind “wander” is one element of a psychoanalytic state of mind, and we hope that the Advanced Curriculum will inspire fruitful wanderings. At the same time, we hope to foster the increased mental security and sense of a therapeutic “home base” that can arise from an intimate knowledge of the essential elements of psychoanalytic practice: the dynamic interplay of conscious and unconscious mind, the operations of transference, resistance, and countertransference, and the efficacy of interpretation in the context of interpersonal relationship to bring about change and healing.
The introductory curriculum serves as an introduction to psychoanalytic ideas. The Advanced Curriculum through its supervisory component, together with the theory and technique seminars, aims to qualify the enrollees to become skillful practitioners of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.