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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Methods of Research into the Unconscious: Applying Psychoanalytic Ideas to Social Sciences

The Social Photo-Matrix (SPM) and Social Dream-Drawing (SDD) are two action research methods designed to access the unconscious thinking in groups and organizations and to make it available for learning. They both make use of the creations of participants (photographs and drawings of dreams) as raw material. In working with these materials, participants and hosts offer free associations and amplifications to make available unconscious thoughts, which are reflected upon in a subsequent session. Rooted in Social Dreaming, which was developed in the 1980's by Gordon Lawrence (1998), these two methods are part of a larger group of socioanalytic approaches, many of which are explored in this book. This chapter begins by outlining the general theoretical underpinnings of these two praxes followed by a more extensive explanation of the theoretical roots characteristic of each one. An example of a stand-alone workshop of each is offered as well. We then describe two cases where their use led to important insights in two very different organizations, i.e. a juvenile prison and a university. We close the chapter with a discussion of issues relating to their use as academic research methodologies and offer our recommendations for such use.