Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM24-PDW12: What stays when everything falls apart?


Professional Development Workshop: PDW 12
Tuesday 2 July 2024
2.30pm to 4.30pm EEST, and
Wednesday 3 July
2.30pm-4.30pm EEST

What stays when everything falls apart?
Using the Social Photo-Matrix to explore and make sense of the disturbing experience of being part of groups, organizations and institutions.

Facilitators: Irina Brazhnikova, Dr. Rose Redding Mersky & Ekaterina Shapovalova.

Over the past few years, we have been facing difficult challenges. For some people these challenges lead to significant forced changes in their lives - change of place of residence, loss of communication with friends and colleagues, changes in work, and for others they are primarily associated with a change in their own perceptions of the world around them and the collapse of internal anchors. That is why we offer for research with the help of the Social Photo Matrix method the theme of finding a resource that can give a sense of inner stability even in very difficult times.

Summary description:
Originally, the Social Photo-Matrix (SPM) is an experiential learning method for understanding organizations in depth. However, during the last years we discovered that SPM could provide containment and support in the times of tumult and uncertainty.

The stated task of the Social Photo-Matrix is to transform our thinking through exploring the meaning of photos taken by the participants. The method is to freely associate to the photos and to amplify them so as to make links, find connections and to discover new thinking and thoughts and thus hidden meanings behind the theme.

We found that it gives a way to re-order, to bring someone closer to a personal tranquility. As our participants told us, it helps to create a story, a line of something going in a certain direction and thus to stabilize the inner state and feel capable to go on.

During the symposium, we will invite our participants to experience the impact of this method and explore the possibilities it offers. We will include in this work our new findings about the method and its application and share with participants the refined approach to run it. Some preparation will be needed from participants several days before the workshop, e.g. to take photos according to the instructions.

Aims and outcomes:
The workshop is designed to achieve two goals: to investigate psychoanalytically the theme and feelings it evokes and to have a learning experience of the Social Photo Matrix, as a potential tool for support of the participants during difficult times within one’s own consulting practice.

Teaching methods: interactive, learning in practice, during two half-day session.

1st half-day: 30 mins theoretical introduction + 1,5 hrs group work
2nd half-day: 1,5 hrs group work + 30 mins reflection

Biographical Summaries:

Irina Brazhnikova
Having more than 20 years of business background and governing of transformational projects, in 2018 Irina started to work with teams and individuals in psychoanalytic approach and researches application of psychoanalytic methods in organizational context. Irina holds degrees in MA Psychology (Higher School of Economics, Moscow, 2020) and Clinical Psychology (Russian University of Social Studies, 2021). Irina is also a supervisor for the students of Master’s Program ‘Psychoanalysis and Business Consulting’. She regularly takes part in Group Relations Conferences since 2020. Irina is a member of ISPSO and a member of Ethics Committee and Certified Professional Business Coach of Association of Psychoanalytic Coaching and Business Consulting based in Moscow.

Rose Mersky
Dr. Rose Redding Mersky has been an organisational development consultant to a wide variety of private, public, non-profit and professional organizations for over thirty years. Her many publications have focused primarily on the practice of consultation and the utilisation of socioanalytic methodologies in both organisational and research practice. She is a Distinguished Member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, and she served as its first female president. She is an honorary professor at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics in Moscow, where she teaches master classes.
Her new book, The Social Dream-Drawing Workshop: A Handbook for Professionals has just been published by Routledge.

Ekaterina Shapovalova
Ekaterina holds degrees in MSc Management (Leeds University Business School, UK, 2006) and MA Psychology (Higher School of Economics, Moscow, 2014) and works as a psychodynamic coach and business consultant with private and corporate clients for over eight years. She is also the managing partner at Subcon Business Solutions – a consulting company specializing in helping business tackle people management issues and enhance top-team performance in the formats of corporate training and education programs, team coaching and retreats. Ekaterina’s previous professional experience includes strategic consulting at PwC and Roland Berger, corporate mergers and acquisitions expertise and own entrepreneurial projects. Ekaterina is also a Senior lecturer for the Master’s Program ‘Psychoanalysis and Business Consulting’ at Higher School of Economics and teaches Psychoanalysis of organizations and Neuropsychoanalysis. She regularly takes part in Group Relations Conferences around the globe as a member and as a consultant since 2019. Ekaterina is a member of ISPSO (International Society of Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations) and Neuropsychoanalysis Association. She is a board member and Certified Professional Business Coach of Association of Psychoanalytic Coaching and Business Consulting based in Moscow.