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COURSE TWO – Understanding of Work Groups Through the Psychoanalytic Lens

Understanding of Work Groups Through the Psychoanalytic Lens

Course Coordinator: Kas Tuters

Course Leader: Barbara Williams

Postponed until Fall 2022

Purpose of the course: The Toronto Psychoanalytic Society has been promoting the psychoanalytic study of leadership, teams, and organization for many years. TPS is one of the few psychoanalytic societies to offer these courses. This course in 2021 will continue to be offered online globally (depending on time-zone constraints) and will provide participants an opportunity to explore the ‘under-the-surface’ and unconscious processes that affect leadership and team and organizational functioning, in order to use this insight to improve task completion and the capacity for effective teamwork.

To participate, all participants should have:

  • a stable internet connection which supports video connectivity.
  • the zoom application downloaded onto whatever device is used to connect.
  • a (mostly) private uninterrupted space for the 2 1/2-hour class for video contact.

Each participant will have a short interview with the course instructor.

Each session will be divided into three parts: The first portion will provide opportunities for participants to review their workplace context and challenges and will explore concepts from selected readings in relation to these contexts. All the readings will be available in a link. The task is to review and discuss the readings as these apply to the work situation.

The second portion will be experiential, making use of the ‘small study group’ (SSG) 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’. The task is to study what is going on in the group in the ‘here and now’. The third portion will be used to review the SSG dynamics, connections and implications for the readings and ways to apply the learnings.

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 some common social defences against anxiety in the workplace.
  3. Describe the central importance of “self-as-container” of anxiety in transforming “beta elements” into “alpha elements” in relationships and work.
  4. Experience some of the afore-mentioned unconscious processes in a small group.
Kaspars Tuters, MD, FRCP(C)

Psychoanalyst in Private Practice. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society. Faculty TPS&I.

Barbara Williams, EdD

Director of Bureau Kensington Consulting, a psychoanalytically oriented organizational consulting practice; 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.

This event is eligible for Section 1 CME credits (0.5 credits/hour). This event is an accredited group learning activity (section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certificate Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, approved by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA). The specific opinions and content of this event are not necessarily those of the CPA, and are the responsibility of the organizer(s) alone. As per the Royal College standard, each presentation provides a minimum of 25% interactive learning.

Full-time students in universities and colleges, and mental-health trainees are eligible for a 25% reduction in course fees. Proof of 2021/2022 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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