Education and postgraduate education of psychiatrists in the Soviet Union and their integration into a new milieu. A view from the present to the past of former Soviet psychiatrists

Vladimir Lerner, Katherine Frolova, Eliezer Witztum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The article presents the problems and difficulties that psychiatrists from the former Soviet Union (FSU) have to cope with in Israel. Immigration and acculturation in a new milieu is a complex process and even more complicated for those whose specialty is medicine and particularly psychiatry. There is a wide gap between the skills and knowledge that new immigrants brought with them from the FSU and the professional demands in the new country. Psychiatry and psychiatric education in the FSU were determined by the cultural practices and traditions of the region and the organizational principles of the USSR which were very different than those of western society and the State of Israel. In comparison to the West, postgraduate psychiatric training in the USSR was shorter and less rigorous with an emphasis on biological therapy. Soviet "psychotherapy" was more reality oriented and more authoritarian than in the West, stressing "collective" group therapy. We describe the basic principles of Soviet medical education and the radically different social, intellectual and political history of the former Soviet Union. We relate the experiences of psychiatrists in the FSU in learning dynamic psychotherapy and the difficulties connected with this education. Moreover, the process of educating psychiatric residents is described from a supervisor s point of view. This complex process led to some major difficulties. In order to cope with the difficulties the supervisor employed a broad variety of means and techniques: an introductory course and a basic seminar about fundamental cornerstones of psychotherapy were offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Volume44
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Education and postgraduate education of psychiatrists in the Soviet Union and their integration into a new milieu. A view from the present to the past of former Soviet psychiatrists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this