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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021


Parallel Papers Session 1
Friday 5 July 1.45pm-3.00 pm, EEST
Paper Code: PP20

CE Credits Available

Communication and the civilising process: A case study from within ISPSO

Presenters: Martin Ringer & András Gelei
Moderator: Mal O'Connor

Communication by means of oral, writen, non-verbal and symbolic – to name a few – is the means by which civilizations are shaped. The way in which voice is taken up in a collective is a key element of this dynamic.

The two presenters have chosen as a case study their lived experience in the professional organization of ISPSO and they explore the way in which the evolving nature of their own sense of authority to ‘speak’ in ISPSO - that is, to ‘find their own voice’, and to lose it sometimes - might illuminate some of the complexity of the dynamics of taking up voice in this organization. Hypotheses emerging from the case study are applied to wider systems in organizations and communities to shed light on organizations and their discontents. The fundamental theoretical underpinning is systems psychodynamics, with additions from related theoretical fields such as system theory and theories of authority and containment. The nature of the presentation is a combination of ‘telling’ through short presentations ‘inquiring’ through facilitated discussion.

Key concepts include:

Authority in the role
Containment, including boundary, authority, role and territory
Psychological safety
Secure, safe, responsive, bounded and purposeful contexts
The process of being authorised by self and others
“Theory of mind”
Communities of thought
Opinion blocks
The hostile container

Mode of presentation

We propose to present the key ideas in a moderated conversation between the two presenters and an invited ‘third’. The function of the third would be to offer a naïve element to the conversation and perhaps to surprise the presenters into discovering something new in the process of presenting. A ‘mind map’ of the key ideas in the writen paper would help to cohere the presentation. Moderation would be conducted as per the document offered by CFAR on moderation of panel presentations.

Biographical Summaries

Martin Ringer, BE (Hons), M.Ed is a member of ISPSO, an honorary member of the International Adventure Therapy Committee, and a member of the board of the Augusta Margaret River Community Mental Health Alliance. For the past 30 years he has applied socioanalytic understanding to his work with groups, organizations and university teaching. He is an author and artist who has a passion for understanding human behaviour in groups, organizations and communities. His work history includes engineering, directing a bi-cultural adventure therapy program in New Zealand and management consulting and coaching, as well as lecturing at a number of different universities in social work, group dynamics, psychodynamics, psychotherapy and experiential learning. Martin’s publications include a book on group dynamics and experiential learning and he is lead editor of a recent edited book “The collective spark: Igniting thinking in groups, teams and the wider World”.

András Gelei, Ph.D. is an associate professor at Corvinus University of Budapest, a senior consultant and executive coach at ICG Integrated Consulting Group and currently he is co- president of the Hungarian Organization Development Society. His fields of expertise include organization development, organizational learning and systems-psychodynamics of organizations. He is a member of ISPSO and OPUS.