A prospective study of career development and analytic practice: The first five years

Sabrina Cherry, Lionel Wininger, Steven P. Roose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


To better understand the professional development of early career analysts, the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research initiated a prospective longitudinal study of its graduates beginning in June 2003. Twenty-six of 29 graduates (90%) have completed confidential baseline questionnaires focusing on four domains: experience in analytic training, current private practice, postgraduate activities, and career goals. Participants are followed longitudinally with annual follow-up questionnaires and interviews. Of the cohort of graduates from 2003-2007, 58% were female, compared to 20% female in the cohort of graduates from 1973-1977. A bimodal distribution emerges wherein half of all graduates continue to sustain immersion of at least three ongoing cases in analysis at a four-times-weekly frequency. The other half do not maintain this immersion in four-times-a-week treatment; they primarily apply their training to psychotherapy practice. The more immersed group indicate significantly stronger interest in pursuing training analyst appointment as a primary career goal. The nonimmersed group conduct psychotherapy, feel positive about their training experience, teach at the institute, and have high morale, yet do not consider being a psychoanalyst their primary career identity. Thus, by five years, two viable and satisfying career paths emerge among our graduates. These data are important for training programs, both in preparing their graduates for future practice and in supporting their postgraduate experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-720
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology


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