Organisational Consultancy Working with the Dynamics

Organisational Consultancy Working with the Dynamics

A Reflective Group for Consultants and Change Agents: Starting on 21st January 2019


24 December 2018

A Reflective Group for Consultants and Change Agents: Starting on 21st January 2019

System Psychodynamic approaches to the practice of organisational consultation.

We are still accepting applications for this programme

This programme will help provide the necessary skills, methods, aims and working practices of systems psychodynamics approaches of organisational consultancy and will include:

  • Developing the capacity for reflection;
  • Understanding the emotional experience of task-related work so that these can be better understood and mastered;
  • Examining how individuals and teams debate, communicate and behave, sometimes unconsciously, in ways that help or hinder the work of the organisation;
  • Paying attention to how your organisation behaves as a whole system in its environment. 

Some Theory

In our programme, we hope to help participants make appropriate use of these ideas to help them work with and understand the dilemmas they face as consultants.

Menzies Lyth contributed the theory of social defences. Social defences are equivalent to individual defences. Interventions based on this perspective typically involve understanding, interpreting, and working through such collective defences, which hopefully result in enlarging the organization’s capacity to develop more task appropriate adaptions. A central feature of social defence theory is the notion that even the most seemingly instrumental, efficient, and reasonable patterns of work and division of labour may have social defence properties. These social defences we argue require a particular form of action research and organisational consultation, involving a collaborative engagement between consultants and clients to jointly explore the nature of their problems, to generate ideas for change, to test those ideas in practice, and to evaluate the results. Furthermore, because many of the issues involve challenging both individual and social defences, institutional change ‘inevitably involves a slow gradual and often painful evolutionary process’.  

The programme will focus on a wide spectrum of consultation practice encompassed by the systems psychodynamic perspective, including analysis of:

  1. Roles and role configurations
  2. Structures and organisational design
  3. Work culture and group processes

The programme will assist participants in their work with practical task workgroups and increase their capacities to interpret group and inter-group process. Consultants will be helped to be alert to and interpret the covert and dynamic aspects of the client’s organization and the work groups that comprise it.

Working on the principles of distributed authority and how it is exercised and enacted, will include a consideration of:

  1. Patterns of relationships and collaboration
  2. Attitudes
  3. Beliefs
  4. Phantasies
  5. Core Anxieties
  6. Social Defences

The programme will help consultants focus on how unwanted feelings and experiences are split off and projected onto particular individuals and groups that carry them – i.e. their process roles as distinct from their formally sanctioned roles – on behalf of the organization. This focus will be combined with attention on how people take up their formal work roles, including assessment and intervention methods of:

  1. Projective or semi-projective measures;
  2. The production and analysis of ‘mental maps’;
  3. Dream material and fantasies stimulated by the social surround of the organization;
  4. Support and interpretation

The programme will offer ideas and time for reflection on the application of these ideas to your consultative practice.


You can apply online and pay the deposit of £390 (inc VAT).  If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of the Directors, please contact Anabel Navarro: a.navarro@tavinstitute.org

Closing date: 14 January 2019

Download brochure

All applicants will be interviewed by telephone prior to joining. The purpose of this pre-group conversation with one of the group facilitators is for them to hear more about you; for you to hear more about the group, and together to decide whether this is the right group for you at this time.


£3,900 (+ VAT) plus the delegate package of £260 (+ VAT) for the residential.
A non-refundable deposit of £325 (+ VAT) is required on submission of application.

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The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations | 63 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RS
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