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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM23-PP25: A Practitioner Suggestion for a Tool to Explore the Intersectionality Between Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and Psychoanalytical Thinking and Provide a Bridge to Support the Resurfacing of Soul, Spirituality and Circularity in Organization

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Parallel Papers Session 6

Sunday 2 July 10.00am-11.00 SAST - VENUE 1
Paper Code: PP25

A Practitioner Suggestion for a Tool to Explore the Intersectionality Between Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and Psychoanalytical Thinking and Provide a Bridge to Support the Resurfacing of Soul, Spirituality and Circularity in Organizations

Presenter: Hanna Kotze


  • The paper will introduce a high-level overview of the philosophical differences between IKS and conventional western scientific / capitalist bodies of knowledge and in particular,
  • Explain how the author view the impact of the general absence of IKS on the conference theme, i.e., the generally held view regards notions soul, circularity and spirituality as the antithesis to success in the work place.
  • Whilst a focus on conventional scientific and technological development has provided the world with miraculous success and means to improvements of the human condition, it simultaneously resulted in less desirable outcomes such as the untenable divide between rich and poor, ecological threats and the abuse of power, e.g. in wars by proxy.
  • Thoughts on the suitability of psychoanalytical systems thinking to serve as a bridge between IKS and predominant capitalist bodies of knowledge will be presented.
  • Core tenets of Theory U, an awareness based systems change methodology, is discussed for its contribution to a bridging endeavour. The theoretical framework is concerned with the divides between humanity and the environment, self and others and, self and spirituality and offer practices to address these in strategic thinking in organizations and reflections on system dynamics existing within these.
  • Through emphasis on embodiment techniques such as visual scribing and in particular, various Social Presencing Theatre techniques as a sense making ‘language’, accessing and including an enhanced awareness of the self as part of the system as well as developing an intuitive awareness of the social field / the system and excavating ‘below the surface’ phenomena which exerts an determining influence on systemic outcomes

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the differences between Indigenous Knowledge Systems and conventional Western scientific and capitalist knowledge systems
  2. Apply systems psychodynamic insights to the process of envisioning organisational interventions within a traumatized context.
  3. List potential ways to consciously address social trauma in South Africa on a macro scale.
  4. Offer some critique of the relevance of the paper to its stated objective

Biographical Summary

1976: BA Social Work, University of Stellenbosch
1992: MA (Clin) Soc. Work, University of Port Elizabeth
Thesis: “The Development of a Systemic Epistemology with Social Workers”
Educational Institutions /Conference / Presentations
1994: Leicester Conference, Tavistock Institute, UK
2014: Short Course: Race, Diversity, Social Justice and Transformation in Organizations, Wits University Centre for Diversity Studies
2016: Presencing Foundation Programme, Presencing Institute, CT
2017: Advanced Program in Design & Facilitation of Theory U, Presencing Institute, Berlin, DE
2022-23:Ancestral Healing Journey, Thomas Hübl
2023: The Art of Making the Right Move, Presencing Institute, Online

Work Experience
Listed below is a small selection from the training and consulting work I have done over the past twenty years
• 2001 – 2013: Annual consultant to RIDE (Robben Island Diversity Experience)
• 2013 – 2019: Regular facilitator to institutes of higher education transformation programs; Nelson Mandela University Institutional Cultural Enlivening Process (ICEP), Stellenbosch University SIYAKHULA program, Rhodes University Transformation Processes
• 2020: Pilot programs on Collective and Transgenerational Trauma to various groups of clergy of the Dutch Reformed and Lutheran Church
• 2021: Developed and presented an extensive Collective and Transgenerational Trauma CPD course for clergy of the Dutch Reformed Church.
• 2021: Consultant, TILT GR Conference: Complexity, Role and Connection
• Management team development work, conflict resolution as well as business coaching is undertaken from a systems psychodynamic framework and form a regular part of my practice.