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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

I dont know why, but I trust you' Trusting the Consultants in a Paranoid Environment: A case study

Trust is a double-edged sword. It can open opportunities of mutual productive work and at the same time, can be a sophisticated trap, in which the partners of trust are captured. Trust is an example of a third range of psychic phenomena, beliefs or positions, that exist between thoughts and emotions, conscious work and unconscious basic assumptions. These can be conceptualized as thoughts heavily loaded with emotions, and a way to declare something about reality. In this paper, we examine trust between consultee and consultant as a position too often overlooked. To be useful as a working concept, trust has to be studied as it enfolds and develops into a specific situation, between particular actors, not as a personality trait or a characteristic of a whole culture. We choose to explore this through a detailed study of an ongoing consultation in a big Israeli public service, carrying critical functions for the economy. This organization is heavily unionized, with years long tradition of struggles and activism, exacerbated by the unstable policy towards the numerous unions influence. We show that trust/distrust, manipulation/candor issues pervade every single contact with the organization, and that they bring a tremendous load on the consultants in their endeavor with the organization, especially with its manager.