Psychoanalysis in Psychology

Marilyn Metzl, PhD, ABPP

American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis


Q. What is your practice like?

I am a psychoanalyst in private practice in Kansas City Missouri. My practice consists of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic treatment of a range of issues and ages. In addition to my interest in and passionate devotion to psychoanalysis, I am also interested in neuropsychology and neuropsychological assessment. Thus, a portion of my week is devoted to assessment of children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attention, and language problems. I am on the teaching faculty of the Kansas City Topeka Psychoanalytic Institute; and in addition, spend a significant amount of time on issues related to Division 39, the division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. I am a former member-at-large of the Board and am currently a member of the APA Council of Representatives. Additionally, I serve as the Federal Advocacy Coordinator for the Division, which is increasing my knowledge of the interface between the government, politics, and the profession of psychoanalysis.

On the local level, I have served as Treasurer and President of the Missouri Psychological Association and editor of the Greater Kansas City Psychological Association Newsletter for thirteen years. I have also served on the Executive Committee of the Greater Kansas City Psychological Association and the Missouri Psychological Association for Continuing Education.


Q. What motivated you to seek board certification in psychoanalysis?

My motivation to seek board certification was to further enhance my knowledge in my field and to allow interaction with an expanded professional community. In addition, I feel strongly that it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate one's commitment to the acquisition of knowledge and to take the necessary steps to ensure that the highest levels of credentialing are met.


Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification (e.g., salary increase, referrals, colleagues, increased self-esteem, learning, something else)?

The most rewarding part of becoming board-certified has been participating in the process. Life seems to unfold hour by hour, day by day, and having the opportunity to stop and reflect on what I had done, where I have come from, the significance of my training, and my dedication to the continuance of my professional development led me to seek the additional certification.


Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in psychoanalysis?

My advice to candidates is to speak with as many people who have been through the process as possible to help shape your thinking about how to proceed. The process of acquiring certification requires much thought, insight, and preparation. Thus, it is important to think about your goals, your path, and about people with whom you would like to collaborate during the process. I cannot stress strongly enough that rather than being frightening, the process was pleasant, friendly, and delightful, and I learned much about myself during the application and examination process.


Q. What would readers be most surprised to learn about you?

I do not think they would be surprised because I talk about it at every available opportunity and truly believe that my career as a psychoanalyst was enhanced by my passion for ballroom dance. During my work with patients, the ballroom adage “your nose follows your toes” is a wonderful direction for people who have lost their way. Find a direction and point yourself there because it takes work to persist in following a course of action and unless you have a goal, how will you know that you have arrived where you were heading? I close my office during the day to renew my body and spirit by dancing the beautiful and energetic Viennese waltz and I truly believe that taking care of myself enhances my ability to care for my patients.


Karol A Marshall, PhD, ABPP

Psychoanalytic Psychology

Practice of Psychology and Psychoanalysis

Seattle, Washington


Q. What is your practice like?

I’m enjoying a stable, half-time practice in a centrally located urban area in Seattle. This neighborhood is populated by young professional people who work in health care, the university, or information-age technology. In recent years my practice web site has attracted people into my office who already know a fair amount about how I think and work.


Currently my practice is balanced between two types of clients. One cluster is made up of people who are in the mental health business themselves, willing to make the sacrifices necessary to come in to see me multiple times a week for psychoanalytic work.

A second cluster is made up of young people who are savvy about the potential of psychotherapy and motivated to use their health insurance to make therapy possible. These clients are often only able to come in for their therapy once weekly, however, they take therapy seriously and tend to experience substantive benefit in their careers, relationships, personal health and well-being. Never before have I had a practice that was so heavily tilted toward once weekly, insurance-reimbursed treatment. Although I am saddened by the low hourly fee the insurance system allows, I appreciate the intelligence, flexibility, and energy of the population that the insurance networks send my way.


Q. What motivated you to seek board certification in psychoanalysis in psychology?

For some time I had been aware of the hard work members of Division 39 had put into making this specialization possible at the board level. I knew this was important for the future of the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis, I knew that I should support the project by seeking board certification, however I had postponed applying because I thought it might be too time consuming. In time, however, one of the leaders of the certification project asked me to apply at a point in my life when I could make completing the application a priority.

Q. What was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of the board certification process?

It was interesting for me to collect the relevant information and documentation to put together my application. Searching through my archives I found things I had lost track of; looking around on the internet I found documentation of panels and talks that I had participated in that I had forgotten. I had thought I had maintained a reasonably well updated CV but when it came to pulling it together there was a lot that had slipped through the cracks. It was gratifying to pull this archive together. I had done more over the years than I had realized!

It was a pleasure to work with the members of the board to assemble and meet my panel. Living and practicing in a community with (at that point) hardly any psychologist/analysts, I found it delightful to step out into the national arena and talk about my clinical work with respected colleagues. The discussions that we had for the certification stay with me to this day.


Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice while doing board certification?

I learned that even though I work on across the country from my evaluators, and even though there are many ways of being a psychoanalytic psychologist, there is a kind of mature perspective on psychoanalytic work that I naturally shared with my evaluators.

Q. Do you see yourself in a different light for having completed the board certification process?

It has been richly satisfying to be board certified in the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis. I am the first in my part of the country to have this certification. I think this helps psychoanalysis feel like a valid part of psychology in the northwest. Psychology here has tended to be defined as “scientific” which somehow has tended to exclude psychoanalysis. With this board certification, psychoanalysis clearly has a place in psychology, and so do I, locally as well as nationally.

Q. Having attained board certification, looking back, what was your greatest misconception about the ABPP or the credentialing process?

I think I mistakenly imagined that the oral exam would be like my general exam or my licensing exam. Instead the experience was more like a mature, respectful conversation among colleagues interested in each other’s perspective on the challenging work that we psychoanalysts do. The topics we discussed were complex and varied, the opinions and strategies also, naturally, complex and varied. There was not a sense of passing or failing, nor of simplistic correct or incorrect answers.

Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in psychoanalysis in psychology?

You can look forward to a positive experience with colleagues with whom you will be pleased to  become acquainted.

Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification (e.g., salary increase, referrals, colleagues, increased self esteem, learning, something else)?

I think the certification has helped me congeal my self esteem as a psychologist-psychoanalyst. Interestingly, I haven’t noticed the certification to have had an effect on my referrals, salary, nor on my local colleagues’ attitude toward me!


Q. What would readers be most surprised to learn about you?

Perhaps they will be surprised to learn that it is possible to attain a great deal in the professional world, while continuing to have a vibrant life in the “real” world of creativity, friendship, and physical activity. Psychoanalysis can be an all consuming vocation, but it doesn’t have to be.

Q. How has your professional life changed since attaining board certification?

In recent years I have been more deliberate about which things I wish to do professionally: which papers, which teaching opportunities, which meetings, which committees, which peer collaborations. This deliberateness about commitments is an aspect of my professional maturity which co-occurred with the certification in the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis.

Q. What is the most interesting/challenging/rewarding/fulfilling aspect of your work as a psychologist?

I love tackling some mystery of human experience with all I can bring to bear, using my understanding of psychology, research, science, theory, statistics, and reason to try to figure what may be a useful way to think or talk about a question. It is deeply satisfying to have the tools of both psychology and psychoanalysis to work with. After studying a topic, I often end up concluding: it’s complex, multifactorial, nuanced, indefinite, in some ways ineffable. Nonetheless I usually find myself satisfied: after my research I think I know something here. This process works with people (patients, colleagues, friends, myself) as well as with more generalized subjects (mourning, loss, gender, sexual desire, relationality). It’s great to have found my way into a world that offers such dynamic areas for study. Challenges and rewards abound!

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