The challenge of mastering the psychoanalytic method requires a formidable investment of self-examination in the analyst's own analysis and in subsequent continuing self-analysis. In this chapter, the author describes the analyst's role in the free association method. He addresses the major component of analytic education: the role of theory. The author explains how analysts develop a theoretical approach, and how do they modify it. This approach could facilitate the process of learning in two ways. First, it could focus attention on the need for formulation as it arises in the clinical situation, where data accumulate in ever greater quantities that require conceptual organization. Second, it could diminish the need to learn a theory out of context. From the point of view of the clinical situation, it is only theory in context, the personal eclecticism of the analyst applied to the large and varied universe of psychoanalytic formulations, that counts in the analyst's hour of need.