Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM22-PP10: Healthcare, wealthcare or stealthcare? Learning from trauma for organisational renewal

Parallel Papers Session 3
Saturday 2 July 10.15am-11.30am CEST
Paper Code: PP10
CE credits available

Healthcare, wealthcare or stealthcare? Learning from trauma for organisational renewal

Presenter: Ajeet Mathur


There has been a traumatic disruption to life, work, community, governance, logistics and international relations since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Communities the world over have been shocked with a ‘shut in, shut out’ dynamic that affected cross-border movements of people with unprecedented scale of disruptions to services and product- services linkages. The trauma was characterised by distress migration alongside cataclysmic disruptions to education, healthcare and family life alongside the reappearance of national emergencies and international conflicts. Negative externalities and spillovers aroused justifiable apprehensions. There is a need to learn quickly from the Covid-19 trauma for insights not only into what needs attention now but also for how to learn quickly when there are future such trauma. The vast majority of enterprises fail or lose money when their industry transforms under traumatic circumstances. Slick slogans, postures, media campaigns and annual reports turned out to be empty words and theories of social and economic renewal were quickly defenestrated.

This paper presents early findings of three kinds to discuss how the return of the repressed, acceptance of narcissistic injury and the prospect of death, dying and suffering blind us to what may be happening on a planetary scale. First, this paper introduces empirical evidence from what happened to life, healthcare and value-constellations when myths of abundance were exposed by the realities of how anxieties and fears were actually defended. Secondly, the paper presents examples of how healthcare for persons, wealthcare of businesses and stealthcare by governments involved unholy contestations of power and authority and the formation of new alliances with lasting damage to notions of dignity, certain freedoms taken for granted and civil obligations of the State. Also, the veneer of civilized co-existence between countries, and between businesses and governments evaporated in unimaginable ways in the scramble for healthcare, wealthcare and stealthcare largely driven by animal instincts and large group unconscious processes. Thirdly, since traumas bring up an enormously rich research cornucopia of questions awaiting illumination, it is useful to map them. The paper presents a framework for mapping human responses from traumatic emergencies using a socio-analytic framework with attention to covert unconscious processes for deepening the inquiries.

This paper concludes that trauma are neither fatal nor final but leave lasting residues. Greed and despair are both killer motivations. Hubris and inattention to engaging with ‘otherness’ produces dialogues of the deaf that impede renewal when crises arise and safe transformative containment is required. This seems impossibly challenging unless a balance is made possible between imperatives of healthcare, the incentives around wealthcare and the lure of stealthcare. Engaging in the present may involve reappraisal of what can be planned, the courage not to employ the ruse of planning as a defence and acceptance of discontinuities.

Keywords: Orgnisational Renewal, Trauma, Healthcare, Wealthcare, Stealthcare

Biographic Summary

Ajeet Mathur is Professor Emeritus, NDIM, Affiliate Life Member of the Indian Psycho-analytic Society and Director on the Board of ISPSO. He has a post-graduate diploma in counselling and family therapy. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Karma Sannyasin of the Bihar School of Yoga. He has been Professor at IIMs Ahmedabad and Calcutta, EU-Tempus Professor, and held academic appointments in USA and Europe. His publications include 32 books and over 160 papers in scientific journals and he is a recipient of numerous honours and awards.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the session:

  1. Participants will be able to recognize defences around myths of abundance in denial of hopelessness.
  2. Participants will be able to distinguish between unconscious contestations of power and authority.
  3. Participants will be able to describe techniques for containing trauma by dwelling in possibilities with wonder and imagination.
  4. Participants will be able to critique the nature of fear and greed and toxicities crystallised in sticky polarities.
  5. Participants will be able to describe how trauma may be processed through re-discovering the phenomenal nature of human related-ness and how attitudes and behaviour affect each other.