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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

ISPSO AM 2024 Conference

1 JULY - 7 JULY, 2024


Submission of Paper Abstract and PDW proposals has now closed.


Deadline: NOW CLOSED
Papers will be presented at the Symposium 

We have invited papers for the Parallel Paper Sessions that focus on the topic 'Civilizations and their discontents': What does that mean for the psychoanalytic study of and work with organizations? See the AM2024 Theme Statement.

Here are all of the details:
We live in a very difficult and worrying time: the COVID pandemic (still present in different ways), the unsettling changes in the climate, rapid digitalisation (e.g. zoom, teams or A.I.), huge waves of migration, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and war and, more recently, the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and war. Many hotbeds of conflicts around the world have disrupted our lives and our environments. Among other causes, on the one hand, there seems to be a high degree of discontents, destructiveness, frustration, anger and hatred that is manifested through violence, horrors, atrocities, terror and dehumanization. On the other hand, there are different clashes of civilizations on a national scale, within the same country, and at the international level, as a consequence of the increasing migration phenomenon, various global conflicts and widespread suffering. This wider context deeply impacts and contaminates us as individuals and the groups and organisations in which we work, leading to unexpected and unthinkable changes.

This ISPSO AM 2024 will be taking place in South Eastern Europe, a crossroads of civilisations and disruptions through the centuries. This is the right place, space and time for exploring at a conscious and unconscious level the connections and the tensions between civilizations and discontents in groups and organisations and how systems develop in response to them.

As psychoanalytical professionals of different orientations and different professional roles, we are all invited to think together:

  • What are the conscious and unconscious dynamics, connections and tensions between discontents and civilizations in which we are involved and are part of as members of groups and organisations?
  • How can we live with multiple civilizations within groups and organisations without polarisations?
  • How are boundaries managed, when people from conflicting civilizations have to work together in national and international organisations?
  • What types of anxieties underlie the defences that individuals, groups and systems develop, such as sticking solely to one’s own national identification?
  • How are leadership and organisations affected in their structures and processes?
  • Are our approaches to leadership still valid and appropriate today in a world characterised by multiple civilizations and many discontents?
  • How can discontent and clashes among civilizations be contained and worked through?
  • How can our psychoanalytical conceptual frameworks, methods and tools support leaders and other clients to engage assuredly in groups and organisations in the future?

We invite you to send your abstract (max. 500 words) inspired by the topic and thoughts it evokes.
SUBMISSIONS CLOSED  28 January 2024 (midnight CET). 

The Symposium will be a hybrid event, papers can be presented in-person and online.

Please note
that it is expected that authors of proposals that are accepted will complete the application for Continued Education (CE) credits. Details will be provided upon notification of acceptance. If you have any questions about CE credits or the application process, contact Jeff Axelbank at

ISPSO AM 2024 Parallel Paper Selection Committee
Louisa Diana Brunner – Chair Parallel Paper Selection Committee
Antoaneta Mateeva – Co-Chair Annual Meeting
Irena Izotova – ISPSO President
Alexandra Gerny - ISPSO President–Elect
Gerald Fromm – Past-President
Matias Sanfuentes - ISPSO Member
James Walker - ISPSO Member

PRofessional Development Workshops (PROPOSALS CLOSED)

Deadline: 26 January 2024 (NOW CLOSED)
The Professional Development Workshops will be held 1st to 3rd July 2024.

Professional Development Workshops (PDW’s) will be offered during the first three days of the ISPSO’s Annual Meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria. PDW’s are designed to appeal to ISPSO members, and non-members, with an interest in the psychoanalytic study of organizations, regardless of profession. The PDW’s offer:

  • Knowledge, skills and/or practices in psychoanalytic, and systems-psychodynamic thinking as they apply to understanding and working with organizations
  • Opportunities to think and learn about organizations in diverse ways
  • Multiple approaches to psychoanalytically informed organizational work.

The PDW Committee is looking for workshop proposals of high quality that are informed by psychoanalytic thinking, but do not necessarily take an approach that is solely psychoanalytic. Workshop proposals do not have to be directly connected to the theme of the meeting in Sofia – “Civilizations and Their Discontents” – but may be related if you choose to do so. We welcome practitioners (consultants and leaders), academics (teachers and researchers), clinicians and others interested in professional development using psychoanalytic and systems-psychodynamic ideas and approaches.

We will do our best to:

  • Offer a mix of workshops on a variety of topics - some led by those with more experience, some with less and others who may be coming in from another field to make linkages to ISPSO.
  • Include innovative workshops where the content, methodology or approach, has something new to say and teach – and/or where the workshop addresses a “gap” that the committee believes is worth addressing.
  • Offer at least one workshop that is introductory, focusing on ideas that are central to the psychoanalytic study of organizations.

How to Submit a Workshop Proposal

Submission of PDW proposals is now closed !

All PDW’s during the 2024 Annual Meeting will be conducted in person. 
Authors of workshop proposals that are accepted will be asked to complete a form for Continued Education (CE) credits for participants who choose to access them. 

Notifications of acceptance will be made in March, 2024.

Thank you to each of you who have submitted a proposal. We look forward to reviewing them and to seeing you in Sofia.

ISPSO AM 2024 PDW Committee
Mal O’Connor, PhD – Chair
Irena Izotova, MA – ISPSO President
Alexandra Gerny, MA – ISPSO President-Elect
Ajoy Datta, MA
Dragana Vranjes, MA, MBA
Anthony Berendt, MD, MA