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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM24-PDW2: Writing with self to engage the other


Professional Development Workshop: PDW2
Monday 1 July and
Tuesday 2 July 2024
9.15am to 5.45pm EEST

Writing with self to engage the other

Martin Ringer, Aaron Nurick & Fiona Martin

In this workshop we explore together how we can mobilize the self of the writer to create engaging and accessible material on socioanalytic topics for a wide range of readers..

Whilst the psychodynamic/socioanalytic knowledge base and socioanalytic techniques are powerful tools, they are not well understood in everyday community life. A part of the purpose of this workshop is to assist participants to create, edit and publish social analytic material that is attractive to and engages with people from broad walks of life.
A second element of the workshop is to explore with participants their own life spring of authorship. That is to become more familiar with, and hopefully friends with, the deeply personal and complex conscious and unconscious patterns that are activated in the process of writing and publishing.
The third element is to build understanding of the practicalities of the publishing process as well as exploring some of the relational emotional and power dynamics that are involved in the engagement with editors and reviewers.

Workshop format
The workshop will be presented in person in Sofia, Bulgaria.
It is intended to be a safe container for writing and thinking together about writing for both psychoanalytic and non-analytic readership.

Workshop outline
Prior to the workshop

  • Pre-reading is distributed to participants: “Writing to engage with the reader, 2nd issue”
  • Good enough Writing (Aaron Nurick)
  • Video recording of a presentation by Fiona Martin and Martin Ringer on the hostile container.
  • A 90 minute on-line pre-workshop introductory session is offered to participants including:
    - Orientation and introductions
    - Identifying core interests and forming pairs
  • Participants send in brief examples of helpful and unhelpful styles from other authors’ published work (A shared on-line repository will be established)
  • Participants submit examples of their writing (max 2pp)

Two-day workshop
This will be largely experiential and interactive. The program will consist of a mix of mini-seminars on key topics, whole-group discussions, small-group practice and reflection sessions, peer reviews in pairs and working alone on writing tasks.

The workshop content and process will be shaped as participant interests emerge, but key topics are likely to include the following:

  • Exploration of participants' passion and authentic voice
  • Getting to know the author within
  • Reader-in-the-mind, publisher-in-the-mind and reviewer-in-the-mind
  • Search for a voice: credible, trustworthy and authentic
  • Developing ideas. The role of thinking alone and thinking with others. The transition to the written word
  • More practicalities such as facing the blank page, working with blocks, topic selection, creating coherent narratives, and structuring text to minimize unnecessary cognitive effort for readers
  • The practicalities of writing to be engaging, accessible, interesting, informative and helpful whilst not losing the depth of the message
  • Tailoring your writing to different channels of communication such as books, academic journals, HBR style publications, Newspapers and on-line media
  • Engaging with the publishing world, including protocols for copyright, citations and referencing
  • There will be space for specialist break-out groups to focus on topics that may not be of interest to the whole workshop group.

Post workshop (on line)
Participants will be invited to join an on-line reflection group that meets monthly to continue conversation related to the themes of the workshop.

Who can apply?
Anyone who is already writing or is planning to write and share his or her thoughts with others.
The workshop is open to ISPSO members and non-members. There are no entry criteria in terms of writing and publishing experience.

Expected benefits of attending

  • An enriched understanding of the conscious and unconscious dynamics that are involved in being an author who communicates with others outside his/her field.
  • Enhanced understanding of the interplay of one’s own personality, passions, fears and interests with the process of writing.
  • An increase in confidence in writing for a lay audience.
  • Increased ability to construct writing that is engaging, accessible, interesting, informative and helpful whilst not losing the depth of the message.
  • The experience of participating in a safe, supporting and dynamic environment with others who share your passion for communicating with the wider world.

Biographical Summaries:

Aaron Nurick is a life-long academic, teacher, and scholar. He is on the Board and a longtime member of ISPSO, The Academy of Management, The American Psychological Association, and The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is co-editor of the Organizational and Social Dynamics journal and has published articles in several professional journals and a book entitled The Good Enough Manager: The Making of a GEM, (Routledge, 2nd edition, 2020). He has conducted research and consulted with several organizations in the areas of interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence and organizational change.

Martin Ringer is an experienced author, presenter and workshop facilitator who has worked extensively in a range of countries and contexts. His work on the dynamics of groups, teams, organizations and communities is widely published. He pays close attention to writing in an accessible and engaging style and seeks to make psychodynamic and socioanalytic ideas accessible to people outside our specialist field. Martin facilitated a PDW on accessible writing as a part of the 2021 Berlin ISPSO AM and co-facilitated similar workshop for the 2022 ISPSO AM.
Martin is lead editor of the recently published book “The collective spark: Igniting thinking in groups, teams and the wider World.” For an overview and the first chapter see

Fiona Martin is an experienced organisational consultant, coach, teacher, and researcher. She is on the Board of Group Relations Australia and Chair of the Journal Management Committee of Socioanalysis, a member of the Editorial Board of Socioanalysis, a member of ISPSO, OPUS and the New York Centre (A K Rice Institute). Fiona is a member of the hosting team of the New York Centre Social Dreaming. She has authored and co-authored academic papers and her consulting and research interest is the impact of disruptive environments including climate change, on management, and group dynamics especially in relation to the capacity of organisations to remain focused on purpose and their ability to learn from their experiences.