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2010 Programs

Exploring the Power of Consultant Presence: Consulting in the Now

12 – 14 May, 2010

64 Carlton Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053

Issues

“Outcomes” as a Defence against the Anxiety of the Present. A Reflection by Alastair Bain, Program Consultant.

As Consultants we are familiar with being asked “Well what are the outcomes?” or if engaged on a project the Consultant is there “to deliver the outcomes”. Somehow the intermediate step from the present to the future is missing, as is the uncertainty of any human endeavour. The future is “magically” brought into the present and it’s the Consultant’s responsibility to deliver. Note the word deliver – it’s as though you already have it in your hands – there’s no need for any experience, just the outcomes please!

In this vignette which is a day to day experience of consultants and managers the present moment is denied and replaced with a magical wish for a present moment in the future which is overflowing with outcomes. How does one get there?

I am not sure one does. There is nowhere to get to, for actually all we have is the present. A projected future in the form of desired “outcomes” is supposedly better than the present or one wouldn’t want them. But what is the present like? What actually is going on at the moment for the people who would be involved in the outcomes? Is it so bad that we have to leap to the future and the outcomes for fear of exploring the present? What is so frightening about the present?

Part of the fear, I think, is the dimly perceived anxiety that to work in the present is to be open to transformation, and uncertainty as to what that will bring. The “certainty” of the outcomes, however much fantasy, is preferred.

As Consultants we are seduced into an acceptance of the outcomes approach. A worry about losing work is behind some of it, but I think more fundamentally there is a collusion of our own time valencies to work in the past or the future with the Client’ s fantasies about a known desired future.

Raison d’être

The Workshop explores how to establish a practice based in the present or now and the powerful opportunities for growth and transformation available to individuals, teams and whole organisations when we do so. Participants will experience what happens when we focus on what is occurring in the moment in a group and why it is difficult to stay in the here and now, what we fear and what new insight emerges when we do stay focused on the present rather than fleeing to the past or future. It will explore opportunities for using one’s own reactions and feelings – how one is being made to feel as a consultant in the moment – as a powerful source of insight and understanding of the dynamics of what is happening “in the moment” with an individual or group.

The Workshop draws on ideas and experiences from Group Relations work where groups and a Consultant often have the task: “To study the behaviour of the group in the here and now”. The anxiety that is aroused through an invitation to work in the present in a study group, and the defences against this anxiety, are explored in propositions at the end of this note. Group Relations Conferences are frequently regarded as transformational by participants and this is perhaps due to establishing a culture of being in the present, which is embodied in the presence of the Consultant.

Wilfred Bion, whose studies of group behaviour led to this way of studying groups and Group Relations Conferences devoted to this, later wrote in “Attention and Interpretation” about the need for the psychoanalyst to eschew memory (past), desire (future), and be “O” which is the present (and which he identified with Ultimate Reality).

The transformational power of being that arises from a flow of awareness in the present, the Now as Eckhart Tolle puts it, is fundamental to the mystic side of most religions: Advaita Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Christianity, and Sufism.

The Workshop is based on the hypothesis that the consultant, through abiding in the present creates a field of awareness and energy that is potentially transforming for his client or group (and self). The potentiality becomes actuality through consultant and client, or group, continuing to abide in the present in the work they do.

Workshop Primary Task

To establish a practice – consultancy, managerial, or professional – based in the present.

Membership

Most managers and professionals have a consultancy aspect to their roles. The Program is for consultants, managers, and professionals e.g. accountants, doctors, teachers, lawyers, HR specialists who wish to strengthen their capacity to work in the present.

While some members may wish to have training in socio-analysis, and use this learning in their practice, we are assuming there are others who don’t wish to train as socio-analysts but who wish for professional development to complement their professional knowledge. This Program is for both groups.

It is limited to 10 members.

Click here to download brochure

Click here to download application form

 

Second Online Bion Reading Group and Dreaming Matrix

Wonder and the Scientific, Aesthetic, and Religious Realms

Starts 29 April 2010
15 weekly sessions
Concludes 12 August 12 2010

Raison d’être

While Bion doesn’t say so directly there are indications that he believed that the scientific, aesthetic , and religious development of the psycho-analyst was important for practice. One of his gifts to us was his appreciation of these three vertices – scientific, aesthetic, and religious – and his being open to the experience of all three , and the truth that may be revealed through all three. Often the development and appreciation of one is “shut down” by another. Thus today, typically, the “scientific” vertex is used to shut down the “religious” vertex, so that the “religious” part of the self (which Bion regarded as at least as significant as sex) remains cut off, stunted or withered. Similarly the “religious” vertex may be used to shut down the “scientific” vertex, or to shut down the “aesthetic” vertex etc.

What is this “shutting down” process, and what does it mean to remain open to the truth inherent in all three? These would seem to be primary socio-analytic questions.

Aim of Program

To explore the scientific, religious, and aesthetic as they emerge in a Dream Matrix, through reading Bion, in one’s practice at work, and in one’s life.

Click here to download brochure

 

Dreaming for the Unborn Child

You are invited to be part of a Social Dreaming Matrix. The task of this dreaming matrix is to offer and share dreams that relate to the ‘unborn child’ and to make connections and associations to the dreams of others.

unborn child

The Social Dreaming Matrix is a methodology which enables people to come together and explore dreams around a topic of mutual interest.

The intention of this Social Dreaming Matrix is explore and connect with deeper, richer and intuitive understandings of the wonder and mystery associated with the unborn child.

This methodology was developed by Gordon Lawrence and colleagues at the Tavistock Institute of the UK in the early 1980’s. It has been used in a variety of countries including Australia, Germany, Canada, Israel, Sweden, the UK and the US to explore and make connections between people around issues of interest at a deeper and richer level than is usually possible through more conventional discussions. The topic for this dream matrix was inspired by Jacquiline Sirota who is a consultant in the UK.

Sara Taylor and Jane Lowther will be working as consultants to this dreaming matrix. The role of the consultants will be to make connections and associations with the dreams. No previous experience is necessary for participants to the Dream Matrix. All that is required is a willingness to explore and be open to one’s own and other’s dreams.

Those who may be interested include:

  • Expectant parents and couples
  • Parents and couples trying to conceive
  • People who have a strong sense of a child waiting to be born

The Social Dreaming Matrix will be conducted through the Centre for Socio Analysis. More details on the Centre for Socio Analysis and a number of readings on Dream Matrixes can be found on their website at www.acsa.net.au

The Dream Matrix will commence on Sunday April 18 with a four hour workshop from 5.30 – 9.30 pm in which participants will be introduced to the concepts and methodology of the dream matrix. The matrix will continue for six sessions on Monday evenings from 7.00 – 9.00 pm.

The dates for the evening sessions will be:

  • 26 April
  • 10 May
  • 24 May
  • 7 June
  • 21 June
  • 5 July

Sessions will be held at: 99 McCracken St. Kensington, Melbourne.

The cost for attending the Matrix will be:

Couples $350.00
Individuals $250.00

(Concession rates will be available for students and those experiencing financial difficulty.)

For more information call or email the consultants to the matrix:

Sara Taylor Email: sara@holisticpsychotherapy.com.au Mobile 0401858834
Jane Lowther Email: J.Lowther@kteams.com.au Mobile 0419492329

Click here to download brochure

 

“Authority, Leadership and Role” Workshop

10 – 12 February, 2010

64 Carlton Street, Carlton 3053

In our work roles we are required to take up authority and leadership appropriate for task. But what does this “taking up authority and leadership” mean? And what is authority? Where does it derive from – position in a hierarchy, knowledge, capacity, group, community? And what is leadership and how does it relate to groups?

The socio-analytic study of authority, leadership and group dynamics has its origins in the two Northfield Experiments during the Second World War. The first Experiment was carried out by Bion and Rickman, and the second is associated with the pioneering work of Main and Bridger. Further studies of group dynamics were carried out by Bion at the Tavistock Clinic after the War, and these ideas were incorporated in the first Tavistock “Leicester” Conference in 1957 with its explicit focus on the experiential study of authority, leadership and group dynamics.

Since 1957 the experiential study of authority, leadership and group dynamics has been taken up in Europe, the United States, South America, India, Israel, South Africa, and Australia,

This Workshop is located within this tradition. The first 3 day Workshop of this kind was run by the Centre for Socio-Analysis, 1 -3 September, 2009.We were encouraged by the learning that was gained, and the interest from people who were not able to take part to offer this Workshop in February, 2010.

The Workshop

The Workshop will provide opportunities to explore critical aspects of authority and leadership in one’s role at work, and through the roles one takes up in the Workshop Events. The mode of learning is experiential and didactic, combining as it does explorations of authority and leadership as they arise in a Study Group, in Work Role Drawings and Role Consultation Groups, with more didactic learning from a Seminar on Authority and Leadership, and Plenaries.

Members will have the opportunity to explore how experiences in their Family of Origin and at School influence the templates of authority they act out of in their adult work role, and how personal Time Valencies for the Past, Present and Future affect the leadership one can offer.

There is also space for Personal and Group Reflection.

Aims

  1. To explore how I take up authority and leadership in my role at work and in the Workshop.
  2. To explore group issues that arise when authority and leadership are taken up within the group.


Click here to download brochure

Click here to download application form

Click here to make an enquiry

 

Bion Reading Group and Dreaming Matrix 2010

Wonder and the Scientific, Aesthetic, and Religious Realms

10 sessions: Wednesdays, 5.00 – 7.30pm
January 27
February 3, 17, 24
March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
April 7

64 Carlton Street, Carlton 3053

Raison d’être

While Bion doesn’t say so directly there are indications that he believed that the scientific, aesthetic , and religious development of the psycho-analyst was important for practice. One of his gifts to us was his appreciation of these three vertices – scientific, aesthetic, and religious – and his being open to the experience of all three , and the truth that may be revealed through all three. Often the development and appreciation of one is “shut down” by another. Thus today, typically, the “scientific” vertex is used to shut down the “religious” vertex, so that the “religious” part of the self (which Bion regarded as at least as significant as sex) remains cut off, stunted or withered. Similarly the “religious” vertex may be used to shut down the “scientific” vertex, or to shut down the “aesthetic” vertex etc.

What is this “shutting down” process, and what does it mean to remain open to the truth inherent in all three? These would seem to be primary socio-analytic questions.

Wilfred Bion

Bion is regarded as the father of socio-analysis. First, because of his contribution to, and conceptualisation, of the first Northfield Experiment in 1943; secondly, his explorations of small group behaviour after the Second World War at the Tavistock Clinic, which culminated in the seminal Experiences in Groups; and thirdly, the use of his ideas in the design of the first Tavistock “Leicester Conference” in 1957, and the subsequent development of Group Relations Conferences around the world.

It is significant in the emergence of socio-analysis, that Bion was both a psychoanalyst, in particular a Kleinian analyst, and in hindsight, the first socio-analyst. He bridged both worlds, and while he gave up active involvement with group study in the late 1940s to concentrate on psychoanalysis, his later ideas, e.g. in Attention and Interpretation, apply to both the individual and the group. He made fundamental discoveries in psychoanalysis and in socio-analysis, through being attentive to “What else is there?” . His stance of always pointing to the unknown, whether with a patient or with a group or in himself, was the realization of his genius.

An aspect of his genius was to encourage “stray thoughts” in the group, which may not fit within the usual boundaries of the discipline, and through the use of “imaginative conjecture” explore ideas from the vertices of the aesthetic, the scientific and religious in the service of furthering psychoanalytic practice. For the aesthetic Bion draws particularly on poetry, plays, literature, and art. For the scientific he frequently draws on the disciplines of mathematics, astronomy, physical sciences, physiology and medicine. In the exploration of the religious vertex Bion draws attention to the lives and formulations of Christian and Jewish mystics – Jesus, Isaac Luria, Meister Eckhart, and Hindu scriptures, in particular, the Bhagavad Gita.

The Program will encourage us to give voice to “stray thoughts” and develop our capacities for “imaginative conjecture” in our socio-analytic practice or other work, and in our life through remaining open to the aesthetic, scientific and religious.

Aim of Program

To explore the scientific, religious, and aesthetic as they emerge in a Dream Matrix, through reading Bion, in one’s practice at work, and in one’s life.

Click here to download brochure

Click here to download application form

Click here to make an enquiry

 

“Heart of Dreaming” Conference

16 – 20 September 2009
Utopia, Northern Territory

Click here to download brochure

 

 
© Centre for Socio-Analysis 2007