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COURSE SEVEN – Psychoanalytic Understanding of Work Groups, Organizational Dynamics, and Leadership

COURSE SEVEN - Psychoanalytic Understanding of Work Groups, Organizational Dynamics, and Leadership

Course Coordinator: Kas Tuters

Course Leaders: Howard Book, Barbara Williams

Postponed Until the 2019/2020 Academic Year

Fees: $360

Preregistration is required.

Optimal number of participants is 8. (Prior to the commencement of this course, the applicant will be briefly interviewed for suitability for the specific course.)

This course offers participants an opportunity to explore the ‘under-the-surface’ and unconscious processes that interfere with leadership, team and organizational functioning, and to provide the participants with new ways of addressing those aspects in their own group settings that otherwise effect or limit task completion and optimal interaction.

The primary task of this course is to introduce participants to a psychoanalytic perspective on our workplaces, be they organizations, departments, or teams on which they serve. These all have “known,” conscious, overt, and rational aspects to how they function, and simultaneously are also under the sway of powerful “unknown,” unconscious, quirky, and irrational forces and dynamics. These unconscious elements can provide creative possibilities for work life. But if left unrecognized and unacknowledged, they can erode the organization’s capacity for focusing on its objectives and goal achievement, preventing us from achieving our professional goals, promoting the emergence of a toxic culture, and encouraging ineffectual decision making. When explored and addressed these unconscious dynamics can provide organizations a space for creative and innovative encounters and outputs.

Each session will be divided into two parts: the first hour will be didactic and interactive, and will explore concepts from selected readings (e.g. Klein, Bion, Menzies, and others). The second part of the evening will be experiential and make use of the ‘small study group’ format in the Tavistock tradition. This will provide the participants a direct opportunity to experience the group process ‘from within’ rather than intellectually ‘from outside’.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the course the participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the interplay between “work-groups” and “basic assumption groups”.
  2. List two common social defenses against anxiety in the workplace.
  3. Describe the central importance of “self-as-container” in transforming “beta elements” into “alpha elements” in the workplace.
  4. Experience the central importance of the aforementioned unconscious processes in a small group.
Kaspars Tuters, MD, FRCP(C)

Kaspars Tuters, MD, FRCP(C), Psychoanalyst in Private Practice. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society. Faculty TPS&I.

Howard Book, MD, FRCP(C)

Howard Book, MD, FRCP(C), Private Practice in Psychoanalytic Organizational Consulting. Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Guest Faculty, INSEAD School of Management, Fontainebleau, France & Singapore; Past Board Member, International Society for the Study of Organizations; Editorial Board, Journal of Organizational and Social Dynamics. Guest of the TPS.

Barbara Williams, EdD

Barbara Williams, EdD, Director of Bureau Kensington, a psychoanalytically oriented organizational consulting practice; holds a Doctorate in Education from University of Toronto; Member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, and Organization for Promoting Understanding of Organizations; Advisory Editor for the Journal of Organizational and Social Dynamics. Guest of the TPS.

The Extension Courses are eligible for Section 1 CME credits (0.5 credits/hour).

Full-time students in universities and colleges, and mental-health trainees are eligible for a 25% reduction in course fees. Proof of 2018/2019 status needs to be provided. Please contact the tps&i directly to register at a discount. Refunds must be requested in writing two weeks prior to the beginning of a course. A handling fee of $30 will be retained. After these two weeks, fees cannot be returned.

For more information about and for registration in the tps&i Extension Programs, Scientific Meetings, Training Programs, Study and Supervision groups and Special Presentations, please visit our website: or email

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