Observing Organisations

Observing Organisations led by Andrew Briggs - New course dates 5th Oct - 7th Dec 2023


Group Administrators

Emma Higgs
Jenny Sprince
Andrew Briggs

Group Info

The aim of this series is to help participants become sensitised to their role within the organisations where they work. The sensitisation is not so much to their role as it appears on their job description, as it is to their unconscious role created by the unconscious dynamics of their workplace. The series will help its participants recognise the distinction between these two roles.

To achieve this capacity to observe oneself and one's organisation is to understand the role of the psychoanalytic participant observer. Until the 1970s a great deal of social science research was based upon positivist observational methodologies. Since then research has moved away from these attempts reify social life. The methodologies from anthropology began to take account of the observer's subjectivity in much the way that psychoanalytic practice recognises that object and subject are in a relationship. Further, that this relationship in itself delivers nearly all the information needed to understand the research setting. To access this information requires the observer to be self- observing and introspective as much of what he or she experiences lies outside conscious awareness.  Access to this information might be through recognising the observer's internal conflicts stirred by the observation, as these may be indicative of something within the observation that is outside conscious awareness. This form of observation is based upon that developed by Esther Bick (1964) as infant observation, and incorporated into many Tavistock and other psychoanalytic trainings. As a training method Bick's infant observation had two main aims: To enable trainees to sharpen their intuitive sensitivity not simply to the mother-infant setting but to wider experiences and situations, and to enable the participant observer to establish a psychoanalytic position in relation to the observed, and thus remain in role despite the potential influence of external and internal pressures.

The infant observation method is at the basis of this 10 week series which aims to help those who attend develop their sensitivity to the organisation's culture and dynamics without acting on external and internal pressures.  The overall perspective taken is derived from that of Freud (1921) given in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego and Bion (1961) in Experiences in Groups. In a nutshell we are looking to see how we as individuals are within the groups we belong to, and how these groups are within us.

The 10 week webinars will run on Thursday evenings at 8pm - 9.15pm from 5th October - 7th December 2023 at a cost of £250 for the series. 


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