Covid-19 adds focus to a great debate and a long tradition.
Arguments in politics are hardly new, but since Covid-19 erupted on the world stage, we have seen a mega-squabble across disciplines: government, science, academia, and the public services. Scientists have been arguing amongst themselves with a fervour we associate with economists, and it has become increasingly clear to lay people that science is not exact….and may be particularly maladroit when it steps into unfamiliar areas such as society and the individual. This mirrors a debate which has been going on since at least the time of the Enlightenment, and the Counter-Enlightenment of Hamann and Vico, who questioned hard science’s capacity to enter the hermeneutic (interpretive) domain.
The Cartesian divide between the subjective and objective has become blurred, as models are revealed to incorporate a number of all-too-human and sometimes questionable assumptions and hypotheses. And we notice how cultural and historical factors play a great part in a nation’s success or failure in dealing with a pandemic. It turns out to no one’s surprise that societies that privilege risk aversion, organisation, hierarchy and obedience such as Germany and South Korea appear to have been better prepared for a pandemic, while others were less so.
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations has always danced across the divide between the sciences and the hermeneutic disciplines, including that additional layer known as the sub- or un-conscious where behaviours are influenced by levels of anxiety and phantasy that shape the behaviours we then experience as incomprehensible and irrational such as the rush to stock on toilet paper, which appears to have been humanly universal in this pandemic.
This is particularly evident in the programme on Supervision for Coaching and Consultancy, where the interpretive thrust of psychoanalysis and culture is applied to understand psychodynamics across the whole system of supervisor-coach/consultant-client. The Institute realised far back in the last century that technology has a societal dimension: changes in technology shape social relationships, and how they function, and thus the culture of organisations.
This year the technological dimension has been incorporated into the course itself which goes online for its first module. Delivered in this hybrid way, there is a neat parallel with the increasing use of Zoom, Skype and other technologies in supervision, coaching and consultancy – a movement likely to continue post Covid-19. The new paradigm shapes delivery, understanding, interactions and feelings and provides advantages and challenges. We are excited about taking this internationally known programme into a new mode and exploring the potential with you.
James Mackay and Eliat Aram
The Certificate in Supervision for Coaching & Consultancy is now full for 2020. However, if you wish to go on the waiting list please contact Emily Kyte.
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