Further info about year 1
The first years always have at least one seminar a week together as a small group. In this seminar, as well as discussing clinical work, issues such as what to put in a box and why, how to write a letter introducing yourself, all the mechanics of beginnings are discussed and thought about in this safe setting where all questions are welcome. Obviously, people come in at very different levels, but we feel strongly that revisiting the basics can be an enriching experience and throw up new ideas even for the seminar leader.
The first year student will also be allocated a "family group", i.e. a group in which there is a mixture of first to fourth years all struggling together to understand clinical material. We have found this to be a very stimulating experience for the beginners and their "naive" questions sometimes take us back to thinking afresh about issues to which we have had a cliche'd response rather than ongoing thought.
Because of the enormous impact of a new working environment, letting go of one's old core profession, of starting a personal analysis and beginning to work with patients, we have found it counterproductive to introduce theory as a discreet study at this juncture. Our experience is that it can be used defensively and as a way of avoiding the struggles of beginnings. This does not mean that students are discouraged from reading and thinking, but rather than the experiential level of learning is the prime focus of the first year.