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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Aim, Purpose and History


We are the internationally recognized society and exchange platform for high quality “psychoanalytic work and study with organizations” for practitioners (consultants and leaders), academics (teachers and researchers), and clinicians. Sustainability is important to us. 
By psychoanalytic we mean all approaches concerned with unconscious, subconscious or preconscious aspects of humans as individuals and when coming together in groups, teams, organizations and societies. We apply psycho-and sociodynamic perspectives as well as neuropsychoanalytic approaches in our work.


Our purpose is to explore how psychoanalytic thinking can further our understanding of organisations and the wider social influences that impact them. The insights gained are used to promote and support the development of healthier, more humane and better performing organizations.


We want to further our own practice of studying and working with organizations but we also want to bring these insights to the world of organizations and their leaders. We think that with this knowledge organizations will become better places where people can feel emotionally understood and can grow personally whilst performing the main task of the organization.


The International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations was founded in 1983 in New York City by a group of like-minded people who organized the “First Cornell Symposium on the Psychodynamics of Organizational Behavior and Experience”. They developed a format called “Annual Symposium” which have been held ever since.

The first international meeting took place in Montreal in 1990 and the first European meeting was held in London in 1995. Today our international membership consists of consultants, academics, clinicians, coaches, managers, leaders, students and others who are active in applying psycho- and socio dynamic frameworks to inform their work and study. We have over 350 members almost evenly distributed between Europe, Australia and the US.

Our offer

Our society aims to connect members and interested non-members in different formats. Once a year we hold an Annual Meeting where members come together physically (in pre-covid times and hopefully from 2023 onwards) and since 2021 in an online format to meet, discuss, debate,and share their knowledge and new insights. This meeting travels around the world (2017 Copenhagen, 2018 Dublin, 2019 New York City, 2021 Berlin, 2023 South Africa) and consists of a symposium having a specific theme, where we discuss relevant papers, a member’s day and professional development workshops. We also meet regionally in Europe, NYC and Australia at least once a year – these meetings may depend on the COVID 19 situation but we aim to meet physically – if not we find virtual ways for meeting, connecting and exchange.

We offer on a regular basis online meetings for specific purpose or subject and on-line training courses, videos and tutorials. Our members publish regularly in a number of journals, especially in the “Journal of Organisational and Social Dynamics” and “Sociodynamics”. Both journals are included in our member’s fee. You can also find some of our member’s papers in Organizational Behavior, Organization Studies, Organization Science, Academy of Management, Leadership Quarterly and others.


Included in the benefits of membership in the ISPSO are:

  • Discounts to the annual symposium;
  • Attendance to the annual members' meeting and reception;
  • Networking in this growing community;
  • Regional meetings to meet with like-minded people close to you. 
  • Online events on key issues and concepts; and
  • A mentoring program for new writers on developing conference papers (in development)