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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Melbourne Regional Event, October 2018

Publisher Location:

October 3, 2018
Kent Hotel, North Carlton
Melbourne, Australia

Dear Colleagues,

We have made some brief draft notes of the recent ISPSO event held in Melbourne on October 3, including some poetry excerpts provided by Stan Gold.

Workshop session 1

Deb Pascoe presented her research and thinking on the polarity of virtuous betrayal. Participants were then invited to work in small groups to analyse their experience of virtuous betrayal, from both the perspective of initiators and recipients.

This was facilitated through a three-part model which considered the intent (thoughts and feelings), the behaviour (what people say or do, or don’t say or do) and the impact, followed by a plenary discussion of the group’s understanding of virtuous betrayal.

Workshop session 2

Nuala Dent and Rob Ryan convened a panel with Stan Gold and Jim Walker to discuss the ‘P’ in ISPSO. Stan and Jim spoke about their respective journeys, key influences and interest in humans and psychoanalytically informed interventions that lead to change.

This led to a discussion about the importance of psychoanalytic thinking and the need for a requisite variety of membership in ISPSO.

While not everybody can access psychoanalysis (in part due to the time and cost involved), different ways of learning were suggested, such as group relations and working conferences, peer supervision groups and podcasts.

Stan proposed that the main criteria for psychoanalytic thinking is curiosity, and Jim rejoined that we should have some fun with it, maybe a ‘play stream’ in ISPSO. To which end, Stan shared some poetry excerpts from RD Laing’s book Knots (Tavistock, 1970) on the theme of ‘The Divided Self’. They follow below:

Excerpt 1:

‘There is something I don’t know that I am supposed to know
I don’t know what it is I don’t know, and yet am supposed to know,
And I feel I look stupid if I seem both not to know it and not know what it is I don’t know.
Therefore I pretend I know it.
This is nerve wracking since I don’t know what I pretend to know.
Therefore I pretend to know everything…..’

Excerpt 2:

They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are,
I shall break the rules and they shall punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.

We hope that you found the Regional event a valuable experience and we anticipate our next event will be in March/April to allow time for preparation for the 2019 Annual Meeting, to be held in New York at the end of June.

Best wishes

Nuala and Rob

Nuala Dent,

Rob Ryan,


Finances Summary

Income (AUD)

Prior to event via Trybooking portal: $1219
Refunds: $50 +$65 = $115


14 meals @$50 per head = $700
Room hire fee: $100
TOTAL COSTS payable to Kent Hotel: $800

Summary (AUD)

NETT SURPLUS: $304 (27% )
Existing reserves: $202
Remittance to ISPSO: $304