When we talk about a psychoanalytic approach to organizations, we mean that we focus on relationships and emotions in the workplace and within organisations. An organization in our sense could be a work group, a team, a corporation, an association or a society as such. Taking a psychoanalytic perspective is a beneath-the-surface approach to understand the hidden world of organisations – exploring undercurrents and tides, pulls and pushes, unconscious forces and defences. These occurences can be helpful for individuals and organization since they protect us from uncomfortable emotions but they can also be detrimental and dysfunctional for the fullfilment of task and purpose of the organization.
Our approach examines these partly conscious but also unconscious processes and behaviours. It seeks to understand the what is unspoken, unthought, denied, repressed, forgotten, fantasised or even dreamt by organizational members. It’s a deep dive into our inner world as human beings and organizational members wanting to become more aware of the choices and repeated patterns of individuals, teams or the whole organization.
Looking at what we might have "swept under the carpet" as an attempt to understand the unconscious was work started by Freud, Jung, Adler, and other psychoanalysts at the beginning of the 20th century. However, interpretation of the unconscious has a far longer tradition in poetry, literature, art, religion and traditional healing methods. After the 2nd world war object-relations- and attachment theory, the Tavistock School in the UK and many more institutions and people developed the psychoanalytic approach further.
You might also know famous thinkers like Peter Senge, Paul Watzlawick or Chris Argyris all having a background in psychoanalysis. Today we rather use the broader terms psychodynamics and sociodynamics to indicate the multitude of thinkers having contributed to that field of work and study. Contemporary neuroscientific and neuropsychoanalytic research builds on this seemingly intuitive and observational approach with studies on how different brain areas act, interact and react.
In general, ISPSO’s members study or work with work groups or organisations, their leaders and leadership teams in times of crisis, cultural change and development. Our basic aim
is to look at and understand what happens beneath the surface of organizations and corporate or organizational life. Organizations invariably have complex psychological and systemic
underpinnings. These can be positive and nurturing but also detrimental.
Our members reflect on and support leaders and teams work through complex, uncomfortable, ambivalent emotions which may affect performance. We help them explore dysfunctional relationships and conflict in the workplace.
Our practitioners encourage their clients to be curious about irrational or difficult behaviours elicited by their staff, their stakeholders or even themselves. The psycho- and sociodynamic
approach endeavours to take a playful even sometimes humorous stance in trying to solve a tricky situation.
Their experience ranges from transformation, humanity in the workplace, or entire systemic shift at speed and scale in a post-pandemic world as well as in the changes stemming from the fourth industrial revolution caused by digitization.
The aim is to help create healthier organizations and support thriving, flourishing individuals, teams and organizations.
On the academic side the psychoanalytic approach aims to create lasting theoretical insights which can be applied to organisations of all kinds and all sizes. From governments to NGOs, from
the commercial to the public or third sector, even to societies.
Our members offer academic expert knowledge in organizational development, organizational change, organizational behavior, crisis and emergency management as well as in designing strategic initiatives.