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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

New York 2019

Perspectives on polarities: thinking below the surface

Publisher Location:

ISPSO 36th Annual Meeting
New York (USA) 24th - 30th June 2019

Perspectives on polarities: thinking below the surface
Join us to explore the polarities of today’s organizations and the society in which they are embedded, both on and below the surface.
We live in a world in which ways of thinking and acting, and our identifications with them, are more and more polarized. Possibilities for holding more than one point of view are challenged, encouraging splitting and conformity. Such polarities accentuate the isolation of individuals and accelerate distance between groups, and can result in rigid and intractable group purpose and association, making coexistence more difficult and impeding our ability to navigate in an increasingly complex, connected and interdependent world.
AM2019 Website (archive)
Videos from AM2019


We are thrilled to hold our 36th annual meeting in New York City this year hosted at The Manhattan School of Music!

Our theme is Perspectives on Polarities: Thinking Below the Surface. We have received an amazing collection of paper and workshop proposals and are confident that we will have a stimulating and thought-provoking time together.

This year’s Symposium will feature three interactive panels in place of keynotes addressing some of the most vexing “polarities” we face today: Leadership in polarized times, Structural racism, and Intractable international conflicts

Institute Workshops are offered Monday through Wednesday for a full day, half-day and two-days.

Monday 24 June


Socioanalytic Methods and the Transforming Experience Framework—Day 1 (Long)
How to Understand the Social Handling of Uncertainty in Organizations Facing High Risk and Fast-Paced Change (Preil & Haugen)
Start Exploring the Immunity to Change Method (Goldenberg) (Half Day, ends at 1:00pm)
Consulting to the Current “Mad-Driving” Environment (Morgan-Jones)

Tuesday 25 June


Socioanalytic Methods and the Transforming Experience Framework—Day 2 (Long)
Working with Polarization as a Symptom of Maladaption—Day 1 (Boxer)
Patterns of Connections with Social Dreaming (Wreford-Howard & Manley)
Consulting and Role Taking: A Case Conference (Hirschhorn & Krantz)
Using the Body to Put Whole Intelligence to Work with Conflict in Organizations (Szepansky) (Half Day, ends at 1:00pm)

Wednesday 26 June


Working with Polarization as a Symptom of Maladaption—Day 2 (Boxer)
Finding Common Ground Where You Least Expect It: Getting the Whole System in the Room to Tackle Polarizing Problems (Janoff)
An Exploration of Leadership within the Context of ‘Virtuous Betrayal’ (Krantz & Pascoe)
Overcoming Polarities through Applied Hybrid Systemic Thinking and Acting as an Organizational Change Manager (Van Loo) (Half Day, ends at 1:00pm)

Thursday 27 June

  • Annual General Meeting
  • Members’ Day
  • Close/ Reflection
  • Reception & Distinguished Members Presentation

Friday 28 June

Opening Plenary and Interactive Panel: Leadership in Polarized Times
Jewelnel Davis, University Chaplain and Associate Provost, Columbia University
Matt McCambridge, Co-Founder and CEO, Eden Health
Jon Stokes, Director, Stokes & Jolly, and Associate Fellow, Oxford University Said Business School
Debbie Bing, President and Principal, CFAR

Parallel Paper Session 1

Philip Boxer: Vive la différence: When a choice is not about choosing.
Susan Long/ Christine Owen/ Fiona Martin: The shadow side of learning, leadership and culture in emergency services organisations.
Debra A. Noumair/ Allegra Chen-Carrel/ Abby Johnson/ Stephanie von Numers/ Shana Yearwood/ Sarah J. Brazaitis: Examining polarities in teaching and learning above and below the surface: The development of "X-ray Vision" in change leaders
Barbara Williams: Linking polarities: Relatedness and individuation
Steen Visholm: Networks—Groups—Boundaries: Polarities in network society and new fields to study.

Parallel Paper Session 2

George Bermudez: Specificity theory as inspiration and an organizing principle for psychoanalytic whole systems work.
Susan Campbell/ Linda Lee/ Michael Grace/ Karen Olver: Problems at the Poles: Exploring the dynamics of boundary management in organisations through an action research case study.
Carrie Duncan: Reconnecting Polarities: Interpreting organizational identity in the change process.
James Krantz: Institutional Integrity, Containment and Polarization
Michelle Morrison/ Brigid Nossal: Returning to the future: Using psychoanalytic processes to facilitate integrative responses to paradox within a global professional services firm.

Parallel Paper Session 3

Gabriela Barrial: Polarities in Public Health: Containing the ‘unwanted’ in the emergency departments of the city of Buenos Aires.
Ekaterina Belokoskova-Mikhaylova / Natalya Kochergina: Billions: Polarities of money, power and feelings.
Ajeet Mathur: Institutional Toxicity in Sticky Polarities: The intractable inter-generational residues of fragile identities in South Asia.
Peliwe Mnguni: Nelson Mandela the Saint, Winnie Madikizela Mandela the Shrew: Can intersubjectivity help us transcend the polarities that are holding us captive?
Violetta Shatilova: Can women have it all? Gender identifications and leadership.

Couch, Organization, Society—Psychoanalysis and Politics
: A dialogue between ISPSO President Dr. Simon Western, the founders of Room: Sketchbook for Analytic Action, Dr. Hattie Myers and Mafe Izaguirre, and the audience.

Saturday 29 June

Interactive Panel: Structural Racism
Candice Crawford-Zakian, Leadership Coach and Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Millie Banerjee, Chair of National Health Services Blood and Transplant (UK)
Leslie Brissett, Director of the Group Relations Programme, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations
Stanley Gold, Member of the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal (Australia)
Barbara Williams, Director of Bureau Kensington and Coordinator of Insight for Community Impact

Parallel Paper Session 4

Kate Dempsey: Sorry Business: A Kleinian perspective on apology and reparation.
Thomas Hoffman: Wombmates: Identity and polarity in twins—lessons on how to manage for the rest of us.
Petros Oratis:Polarization and the Breakdown of Lateral Collaboration: Where can containment and authorization be found in contemporary organizations?
Hannah Piterman:Can we talk about gender in the post “metoo” world?: Polarisation, populism and paralysis?
Biljana Stefanovic :The Unbearable Lightness of Being Ethical.

Parallel Paper Session 5

Reka Czegledi-Brown: Possibility of the Impossible: Exploring economic and social exclusion of foreign domestic workers in the context of mainstream banking.
Seth Harkins/ Xiaohua Lu/ Jeffrey Roth/ Ms. Rui Lu/ Xumei Wang: Group Relations in China: A cross-cultural study of organizational Development, 2014–2019
Larry Hirschhorn/ Chatham Sullivan:
The Developmental Project: A case study of an advertising agency.
Brian Melaugh/ Bernie McDonnell: The Journey from Love to Hate: An object relations perspective on the decline of the Catholic Church in Ireland between the papal visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis.
Marina Mojovic: Reflective Citizens Engaging with Psycho-social Polarities.

Parallel Paper Session 6

Miranda Alcock: Shining light into the shadow.
Kenneth Eisold : Money is Magic.
Jack Marmorstein/ Jeff de Klein/ Simon Western: Poles of Technology: The competing dynamics of monopoly and decentralization.
Marcela Murarova:Corporate Social Responsibility and Emotions from Fantasy to Reality: The case of banking industry.
Moritz Senarclens de Grancy/ Rebekka Haug : Suicide and the Workplace: How psychoanalytic coaching and executive training can help.

The Polarities Party (Gala)—Dinner, Dancing and Live Music

Sunday 30 June

Interactive Panel: Intractable International Conflicts
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, Director of International Relations, Shorashim/Judur/Roots
Shadi Abu Awwad, Founder, Youth Program of Shorashim/Judur/Roots
Hugh O’Doherty, Adjunct Faculty, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government
Nyoun Suzy Sebit, Founder and Executive Director, National Alliance for Women Lawyers (South Sudan) and Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Gerard Fromm, Ph.D., President, International Dialogue Initiative and Distinguished Faculty, Erikson Institute, Austen Riggs Center
Parallel Papers Session 7

Nick Bartlett: “Translation as Dangerous Work”: Exploring movement between languages and group unconscious dynamics in a China-based group relations conference.
Victoria Grady/ James Grady/ Gry Osnes: The Application of Modern Attachment Theory as a Valuable Tool to Support the Transition of Change Resistance into a Competitive Edge
Heidi Rose/ Steen Visholm:Development through Polarization and Integration: A presentation of a model and an organization for providing training and organizational development for milieu-therapeutic organizations.
Peter Szabo : Recovering Human Inheritance in Organizations and Society: An exploration of David Armstrong’s “Ethical Imagination”.

Closing Plenary