Gould Center presents: What lies beneath resilience

During times of severe crisis and turmoil, as experienced globally in the last few years, leadership is a critical resource in staying connected with social and organizational reality. This presentation will first describe how the 33 Chilean miners, trapped almost two-thousand feet below ground for 69 days, shared forms of leadership that activated group resilience. Qualitative data reveals how the miners as a group engaged in shared agency. A sophisticated work capacity and a constructive relational dynamic evolved, helping them absorb severe strain and anxiety. Their distribution of leadership was essential for promoting collective sense-making and emotional containment. There will also be an opportunity to think together about how some of what has been learned from this paradigmatic case might be applied to contemporary organizations within their complex and shifting reality.

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The implicit teacher

Perlitz (2019) sets forth the implicit qualities of an analyst (i.e. “the analyst acting and reacting based on her storehouse of relational, procedural memory”, p. 429) that make a difference in how the relationship between the analyst and the patient unfolds. They are both transformed by the implicit relational process that they co-construct. Given this hoped for outcome, the subjectivity of the analyst plays a critical role in helping the patient. In other words, we bring our whole selves to the analytic endeavor, as analyst and as patient. Holding this idea in concert with the compelling evidence that the therapeutic alliance trumps technique in promoting insight and change, it’s not far to the conclusion that who the analyst is must be more important than what the analyst does.

Perlitz notes “Although the general importance of the analyst's personality has been noted, there has been little attempt to delineate specific (italics in original) qualities of the analyst's personality that may be conducive to psychotherapy” (p. 429). Reading teaching through this lens we might ask ourselves – who must the teacher be in order to produce the student? Beyond that, who must the teacher be to produce a learner?

Join us for a discussion of the psychoanalytic approach to teaching at our 3rd biennial workshop entitled: "New Engagement with the Future: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Anxieties and Defenses in Teaching and Learning (about Management and Organizations)". The workshop will be presented online as part of the annual symposium of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations on June 29, 2022 at 6:30am CST.

For more information and to sign up visit: https://am2022.ispso.org/AM22-Workshops

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Poetry as method

“Poetry, at its best, condenses into relatively few words, metaphors, and images – what conventional social science narratives would take much longer to articulate. Where poetry often hints and alludes, narrative seeks to spell out, expound, and complete. Where poetry leaves much mental space for the listener or reader to fill in with one’s imagination, narrative fills in the spaces with rich detail” (Stein & Allcorn, 2020).

Applied poetry is “an evocative approach to sensing, knowing, and understanding workplace experience.” As such, it is a unique way of gaining access to “what it’s like to work here”, especially when read in the context of workplace stories and interpreted through the lens of psychoanalysis.

Howard Stein and Seth Allcorn explain how and why to take such an approach in their recent book The Psychodynamics of Toxic Organizations: Applied Poems, Stories and Analysis. According to the authors, “The use of complementary psychodynamic theories, like all theories, is a way of trying to account for what we have found and experienced and in particular why it happened.” This is an important book for qualitative researchers interested in making sense of both their own and research participants’ subjectivity in the research process. The organizational poems throughout the book grip the heart and the application of theory captures the mind as the authors carefully show us how the processes of data generation (through writing poetry) and analysis (through examining self-experience) can unfold in the context of the stories (thoughts, feelings, and reactions) we record in our minds and write in our fieldnotes.

Tune in to the next edition of Anthropological Inquiries (April 8, 2022, 2pm) to hear Howard Stein discuss how he has used poetry in the field to build connections with people and as a method for anthropology (live stream).

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