Learning and Feedback

At the Center, we believe that our trainees learn best when we identify as clearly as possible the skills and knowledge we hope they will acquire and then offer frequent, detailed feedback about their progress toward achieving those learning objectives.

We encourage all trainees to read our Learning Objectives for Clinical Psychoanalysis [add pdf]. These objectives are tailored to trainees at three different levels of their education: first-year candidates, intermediate candidates, and senior candidates.

No analyst, no matter how experienced, can meet all of these goals all of the time. Instead, in evaluating our trainees’ work, we are looking for a candidate’s ability to employ a widening repertoire of emerging skills with growing confidence and at increasing frequency.

In reporting on the trainee's progress toward meeting specific learning objectives, the supervisor may choose among five levels of achievement defined as follows:

  • Exceeds goal – The trainee has mastered this aspect of analytic work.
  • Meets goal – The trainee has developed the capacity to perform this skill and employs it most of the time when given an opportunity.
  • Approaching goal – The trainee is developing the capacity to perform this skill and has begun to employ it on occasion.
  • Emergent skill – The trainee has shown early signs of developing this skill.
  • Having difficulty – The trainee has not yet demonstrated the skill in question and may have a special challenge in this area.

Supervisors who do not have enough experience with a trainee to make an informed assessment of a particular goal may mark a sixth option - Cannot assess.

Before a supervisor submits the completed assessment form, he or she will discuss it in depth with the trainee. Often, those discussions result in a modification of the draft report by the supervisor. When a final draft is arrived at, both supervisor and trainee enter their names on the final page, indicating that they have reviewed the completed assessment together.

Following the form's submission, each supervisor will receive the assessments of the trainee's other supervisors. Copies are also emailed to the trainee, the Chair of Training, and kept in the trainee's file.

Determinations of a candidate's achievement of the competency requirement for graduation rest upon these written assessments.