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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Moscow 2022 (online event)

From Trauma to New Engagement with the Future:
Working with Organizations Facing the Challenges of Tomorrow

Publisher Location:

ISPSO 38th Annual Meeting
Online event: 27th June- 3rd July 2022
Organised by Moscow AM Planning Committee.


The theme of 2022 ISPSO Annual Meeting and Symposium “From Trauma to New Engagement with the Future: Working with Organizations Facing the Challenges of Tomorrow” chosen in 2020 feels like an eternity ago.. The impact of Covid-19 on the physical, emotional and intellectual lives of ordinary people and on the wider functioning of organizations globally has turned out to be frighteningly prophetic.

At this point in time, the moments of our collective and individual trauma caused or reactivated by the pandemic have so dramatically extended with the current trauma of unfolding geopolitical crisis of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The program of 2022 AM has been carefully designed to offer high quality Professional Development Workshops, paper presentations, Panel and Key-note by excellent thinkers and practitioners in the field of psychoanalytic studies and organizational consulting.

Participants will have ample opportunities to engage in open and free discussions as well as reflect on the theme and their own experiences in PDWs and paper presentations reflections, end of the day reflections, Reflective Space event, and Social Dreaming Matrix to get the feel of the unconscious dynamics, emerging themes and feelings, and make sense of the current moment.

Participants will be provided with an opportunity to explore the ways of facing and overcoming the traumatic experience both individually and collectively in our organizations, communities and social systems to manage the transition to other possible next stages.

The traumatic impacts our civilization is now facing raise many important questions:

How can we as psychoanalytically oriented consultants help ourselves, people and organizations identify the unconscious dynamics of our malfunctioning and uncover the causes of our suffering so that we can overcome the defensive splits that lead us to see the “the Other” as an enemy?

How can we enable ourselves and others to engage in more productive, benign and constructive, making connections with others, seeking dialogue and accepting differences rather than resisting or cancelling them?
How do we encounter and deal with our own defenses, limitations, restrictions, or vulnerabilities?
How do we learn to deal with the loss and mourning in the more and more polarized modern societies?
How do we deal with the idea of individualization in the face of complex and global challenges as wars, pandemics , climate change, or poverty?
How can the widespread polarization, seen as a defense against anxiety, be understood and addressed?
And many more issues…

The theme does not only include the aspect of the trauma but also the aspect of engaging with the future.
The participants are invited to think about and engage in the “ Engaging with the Future” part of the 2022 SM theme.
This entails the healing side as well as getting prepared for the future.

We also suggest looking at how creative thinking, delving into the future, creating space for innovations can be supported in organisations.
How do we and organisations engage with the future, through which processes?
What defenses are we likely to encounter on this way?
How can creative energy and innovation grow and develop in organisations - from a psycho- and sociodynamic perspective?
What do leaders need to do to create a healing space for the engagment with the future?
Which challenges do we already perceive and which others might show up?
How do we connect past, present and future in organisations in a constructive way?
What do we as psychoanalytically oriented consultants stand for?
What difference can/ should we make?

The 2022 AM will provide a valuable space to make sense of the unfolding geopolitical crisis, to explore the trauma it is causing to so many willingly or unwillingly, and to find ways of engaging with the emerging future.

Warm wishes and hope to meet you at 2022 AM,

Irena Izotova, Co-Chair Ekaterina Shapovalova, Co-Chair The AM Organizing Committee

The ISPSO AM 2022 conference will occur as a virtual/online event.

The conference is organised by our Russian AM 2022 Committee. Originally we had planned our conference to take place in Moscow - which will not be happening for obvious reasons.
Despite the war in the Ukraine we think that our Russian colleagues have been and still are valuable and appreciated members of our community and society. Aiming for humaneness, peace and communion we want to stay connected with the people we know well independent of their national identity. At the same time we think deeply of our Ukrainian colleagues and members and everybody else who is affected by the war in the Ukraine initiated by Russia.