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-PP2: Projection of Influence - A Methodology for Insight

Parallel Papers Session 1
Friday 1 July 10.15am-11.30 CEST
Paper Code: PP2
CE credits available

Projection of Influence - A Methodology for Insight

Presenter: James Walker


Organisational consultants and coaches work with client perceptions of influence. From Freud, Klein and Bion to the present day, various views of projection have developed including effects of actual experience, phantasies, projective identification, projections as defence, identifications, transference and internal projections such as dreams.

This paper addresses influence as perceived by organisational and individual clients, arising from various forms of psychological projection by the client. Expectations by the consultant and client to quantify the sources of influence can often place the client in a defensive position to justify what is really conjecture about relationships with peers, subordinates, management, competitors, home, sports club, and others. It describes approaches for the consultant to effectively gain and use an understanding of client’s projections to assist in development of analysis and strategy for influence management. One approach to assist the client uses an ‘influence map’, on which each source of influence is drawn (physically) by the client.

Case studies of a major national initiative, of a government organisational change, and individual coaching, will provide examples of the techniques to identify, assess and work with clients to unravel their sense of influence. Discussion of an organisation’s apparent ‘system of influence’ will also be presented to illustrate how a project committee as a whole can experience a sense of negative influence from multiple sources.

Learning Objectives

After this session participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the presentation of clients as associated with external influences on them.
  2. Recognize the potential for perceiving influence based on projection.
  3. Distinguish some characteristics of the client’s initial understandings with those developed throughout the analysis process.

Biographic Summary

James Walker is a consultant, coach and psychotherapist in Melbourne Australia. He taught at the University of Southern California medical campus and later at the American University Graduate School of Business in Washington D.C. He has consulted for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and various institutions and corporations in Australia and USA. James is a member of European Mentoring and Coaching Council, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis, and the America Psychological Association (International). He has served on the Coaching Panel of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.