In this talk, I shall describe the typical struggle that organisations go through in moving from an entrepreneurial stage to a managed hierarchy. This is a move that typically forces itself upon any business that has started as someone’s ‘good idea’ and developed into a successful enterprise. I shall explain the differences between these two states and the usual expression of resistance to change. Then I shall argue that psychoanalytic organisations have found this change extremely difficult and I shall describe two reasons that make this so difficult for our systems, linking to the foundation of the first psychoanalytic organisation in Vienna in 1912. I shall argue that one of the standard symptoms of organisational dysfunction, that the system turns its focus inward and becomes preoccupied with personalities, is a trap for us, because this is the area of our expertise. In addition, a coincidence by which it fell upon psychoanalytic institutions to provide psychoanalytic training, has become an over-valued idea that blocks change and development.
Philip Stokoe is a Psychoanalyst (Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Training Analyst with the British Psychotherapy Foundation) in private practice working with adults and couples, and an Organisational Consultant, providing consultation to a wide range of organisations. He worked as a Consultant Social Worker and Senior Lecturer in the Adult Department of the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust from 1994 to 2012 finishing as Clinical Director. He writes and teaches on a wide range of topics including Psychoanalytic understanding of society and politics.