Group Relations @ Columbia University, NY
Come and join a 3-day Group Relations conference in New York at Teachers College, Columbia University, from Friday to Sunday, 17 – 20 November, directed by Eliat Aram, our CEO. Have a look at the brochure.
Authority, Role & Boundaries:
Navigating the Unconscious and The Complexities of the “Back to Normal”
The first boundary we experience, from birth, is the boundary of our skin. Our skin silhouettes us to know, experientially and pre-verbally, where our bodies begin and end, what makes ‘me’ and what is therefore ‘not me’. The skin is semi-permeable. It helps us manage what comes through it and what does not. For example, it allows sunlight and warmth in, it allows touch. It can get hurt and bruised but is there to provide a line of defence too. As we grow and move around in our world, we encounter various systems and their boundaries. Some are too rigid, and some are too fluid.
These last couple of years have challenged our senses and boundary management in new ways. Whilst contact, warmth of the other, and touch were removed, the digital has provided a new way to cross, and to bridge, physical boundaries. We have developed new ways to find intimacy, and to navigate the world, and, just as we thought we mastered a “new normal”, we found ourselves called “back to” the old/other “normal.” How do we navigate the fluidity of transitions back and forth, and what is normal anyway?!
In a Group Relations Conference (GRC) the boundaries of Time, Territory and Task (also known as the three Ts) provide us with the conference skin. Within this we can explore – members and staff together – in different roles, the complexities of being, and living in our new context. How do we take up our roles and find our authority in a world which often feels almost too fluid to navigate?
The longing for contact, warmth, and in-person connection, which we had to suppress can now be also overwhelming, and we might also long for the days when we didn’t have to run around so much, navigating traffic jams, and being with people in 3D, where we may not have the screen protecting us from each other.
Within the safe skin of the GRC, we can study together what change means, what impact we have on others and they on us. We can get in touch with our unconscious behaviors and motivations and find our compassion for them. We can learn to reconnect with ourselves, and with our colleagues, in re-freshed ways, where we can articulate our authority- and become the authors of our own – and shared – narratives.
This event is co-sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University & The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.