Who is a Psychoanalyst?

The governing principle of psychoanalysis is the ancient wisdom, first ‘know thyself’.

This principle is also the governing principle of psychoanalytic training. The Australian Psychoanalytical Society (APAS), like all member societies of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), requires candidates to undertake a lengthy personal ‘training’ analysis. Psychoanalytic training also involves both extensive supervision of a candidate’s clinical work, and participation in a comprehensive theoretical program. Training with the APAS is only possible in accredited training institutions, which must meet high ethical and professional standards.  

Psychoanalytic training is intended to help psychoanalysts acquire the kind of knowledge about themselves and about interpersonal relationship, that will, in turn, help them to engage in a constructive therapeutic relationship with patients.  Ultimately a psychoanalyst and a patient must be able to work together to build a safe and trusting relationship.

Use of designations such as ‘psychoanalyst’ and ‘psychotherapist’ are not restricted by law. Anyone, even an untrained person, can designate themselves as a ‘psychoanalyst’. For this reason knowledge of a practitioner’s credentials is an important consideration for a person seeking treatment. All members of the Sydney Institute for Psycho-Analysis are qualified psychoanalysts and members of the IPA.

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