A professional development workshop to explore authoritarian thinking and behaviour in us and in them, through the consulting experience.     

Richard Morgan-Jones
1-day Professional Development Workshop: PDW5

The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard – Claudia Rankine – Citizen

The purpose of consultation in our field is to tunnel beneath the surface of the way we get stuck or over-excited by an apparently authoritarian or its converse in an anti-authority client system. Change can occur through discovering our own walled up defences and conflicts. This can expose what is going on in both us and the others who consult us. Argentine based psychoanalyst Willy Barranger described these impasses not just as walls, but as “Bastions”, mutually fortified protections, defended on all sides, and reflected in the dynamics of both ourselves and of others. “Tunnelling” under these walls reveals a mirror reflecting that our enemy carries a version of our unwanted self.

Authoritarian and lax thinking and behaviour are both seductive and unconsciously infectious. They are attended by conscious and manipulative attempts at propaganda using ideologies to subvert organisations from their primary task. They seek to instil a survival basic assumption of coercive dependency or absent inter-dependency and are shaped by fear, anxiety and trauma. Such propaganda takes place politically, commercially and societally. In organisations, it makes use of ideologically informed actions and policies designed to persuade by forcing staff into compromised roles that result in unwilling collusion and profound insincerity. Power plays are rife.

Key concepts will be provided to assist in discriminating between the mind-blowing, psychotic aspects of totalitarian mind-sets and ways of creating a space for breathing and thinking. These will explore three meeting points of psychodynamics:

  • person/role,
  • role/group & system dynamics
  • system/context.

These three “boundary skins” for enquiry shape a “Trilogy” approach that seeks to explore the relationships between these fundamental aspects of systems psychodynamics, consulting and coaching. There will be a particular search for the distinctions and slippages between authority and power. A key focus will be on how our attempts to use our tools of the trade in consulting and group relations may be understood as manipulations and far from the freedom that is being sought through consultancy and learning. This workshop is a continuation of work done in last year’s Annual Meeting PDW on “consulting in the current mad-driving” environment.

Richard Morgan-Jones: Group Relations, Organizational Consulting and Executive Coaching. Supervising and Training Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist with British Psychotherapy Foundation and British Psychoanalytic, Author. Board member of ISPSO. Mentor and member of the AK Rice Institute (USA) and member of the Organization for Promoting the Understanding of Society (OPUS). Visiting faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, India and the Higher Education College Moscow, Russia. Associate consultant of Work Lab, New York. Director of Work Force Health: Consulting and Research. Author of: The Body of the Organisation and its Health, London: Karnac/Routledge.