Enhancing Our Individual and Group Life

Continuing Education (CE)
2021-22 — Mondays, 7:30-9:00pm
Ann De Lancey, PhD


As we engage in groups and organizations in our work and personal lives, we encounter challenges and dilemmas in our individual organizational roles, and we experience varying degrees of organizational dysfunction. An analytic institute raises even more complicated issues having to do the pair culture, organizational dynamics, intergenerational conflict, our tiered approach to learning, and our relationship with the community and society. The times we live in have raised critical issues around democracy, the environment, and all elements of diversity such as race, culture, class, age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation problems. Understanding and applying systems psychodynamics derived from psychoanalysis, group relations, and open systems theory can help us:

  • Enhance satisfaction, creativity, effectiveness, and authority in our individual roles
  • Develop more satisfying links with the institutional mission
  • Improve our leadership skills
  • Contribute to improved organizational functioning

Why Group Relations?


This mini course is open to students, clinical associates, faculty, and board members. The initial offering will be four sampler sessions, which hopefully will whet appetite for more. For those interested, further seminars will be offered focusing on leadership, social defenses, consultation, and systemic problems such as racism, environment, health disparities.


The first part of each meeting will be a discussion of the articles and our reactions, self-reflections, associations, fantasies, memories. I am not an expert. As I am conceiving of it, I see this as a horizontal learning experience where we all learn together. We will all take turns leading the discussion. The end of each meeting will be an experiential learning where we talk about our feelings that came up in the initial segment of the meeting. I am open to discussing the format when we meet.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This presentation also meets the requirements of WAC 246-924-240 (Definition of Category of Creditable CPE).

“This program has been approved for 6 CEUs by the NASW Washington State Chapter.” Licensed Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors are eligible. Provider number is #1975-144.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to

  1. Define the difference between role and role-relatedness
  2. Describe the relevance of the systems psychodynamic perspective to the challenges of leadership
  3. Name core social defenses that derail a work group and contribute to the three main basic assumption groups
  4. Describe one result of the pair culture on yourself and group functioning
  5. Compare models of organizational dysfunction or optimal functioning: Tavistock, open systems, and Hirschhorn

October 25, 2021 — Role, Role Relatedness, Task, Responsible Citizenship, Membership, and Leadership

I am beginning with these readings rather than classical or heavy-duty articles because I think they are more personally involving and start one thinking about oneself as a member of a group from the very beginning.


  • Begin to develop a sense of yourself as a member of a group, including define one attribute of yourself as a responsible citizen
  • Define the difference between role and role-relatedness
  • Enumerate one or two qualities of a leader

Shapiro, E.R. (2020). Chapters 1-4 in Finding a Place to Stand: Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders, and Citizens., pp.i-25

Part 1: Joining

  • Chapter 1: How are they right? pp 3-10.
  • Chapter 2: Containment and communication, pp. 11-18
  • Chapter 3: Making sense of organizational dynamics, pp 19-26
  • Chapter 4: The interpretive stance, pp. 27-35
  • Total pages 29

Optional Reading

Shapiro, E. R. (2021). “Why do I have to do this? Institutions, integrity, and citizenship.” OFEK Guest Lecture —June 6, 2021

November 22, 2021 — Systems Psychodynamics and the Challenges of Leadership

[39 pages]

These articles are important. They describe the conceptual origins of the systems psychodynamic perspective and its relevance to the challenges of leadership. They are a heavier read than the Shapiro, but especially the Petriglieris’ article is a comprehensive review of the field.


  • Describe the conceptual origins of the systems psychodynamic perspective
  • What is its relevance to the challenges of leadership?

Petriglieri, G. & Petriglieri, J.L. (2020). The return of the oppressed: A systems psychodynamic approach to organization studies. Academy of Management Annals, 14, pp411-449.

Total pages: 29.

Not a light read, but comprehensive.

Optional Reading

Obholzer, A. (2001). Ch9, "The leader, the unconscious, and the management of the organization". In The Systems Psychodynamics of Organizations (Gould, L.J.; Stapley, L.; Stein, M.; Eds.), Karnac: London, pp197-216

January 24, 2022 — Basic Assumptions and Unconscious Processes in Groups

[25 pages]

The Rioch and Bion are classic papers. Rioch can be a beautiful writer. Her paper, “All we like sheep – (Isaiah 53:6): Followers and leaders, Psychiatry, 34, 258-273 is one of my all-time favorite articles. I have chosen the Rioch paper on Bion because of her ability to riff on his ideas about basic assumption groups. The Long paper focuses on the concept of social defenses.


  • Explain what Bion means by the terms work group and basic assumption group and their connections to the depressive and paranoid-schizoid positions.
  • Name several social defenses and begin to think about your own unconscious social defenses

Rioch, M.J. (1975). The work of Wilfred Bion on groups. In Colman, A.D.; Bexton, W.H. (Eds.), Group Relations Reader (1st ed., pp21-33). Portland: A.K. Rice Institute.

Long, S. (2019). The unconscious won’t go away – especially in organizations. Organisational & Social Dynamics 19(2) pp218-229.

Total pages: 23

Optional Reading

Bion, W.R. (1975). Selections from experiences in groups. In Colman, A.D. & Bexton, W.H. (Eds.), Group relations reader(1st ed., pp. 11-20). Portland: A. K. Rice Institute.

February 28, 2022 — Conscious and Unconscious Processes in Psychoanalytic Institutions

[39 pages]

These readings, particularly the Lundgren, try to focus our attention on the complexities of functioning as individuals, group members, and a group in analytic training institutes. The Hirschhorn extends the Tavistock model of anxiety in a group to other dimensions.


  • Describe one result of the pair culture on yourself and group functioning
  • Describe an example of how a social system functions as a defense against collective anxieties
  • Compare models of organizational dysfunction or optimal functioning: Tavistock, open systems, and Hirschhorn
  • Describe how desire, danger, dread, and excitement amplify the original model of anxiety triggering psychosocial experiences in organizations.

Lundgren, J. (2019). Intervention into an institute at a crossroads: A methodology and rationale. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 100, 674-692. Online version pp 1-19.

Hirschhorn, L. (2021), Extending the Tavistock model: bringing desire, danger, dread, and excitement into a theory of organisational process. Organisational & Social Dynamics, 21, 114-133.

Total pages: 38 (but 5+ pages are flow charts of various stages of group functioning)

March 28, 2022

April 4, 2022