From the organization-in-the-mind to the organization as subject: conceptual maps for psychoanalytic consultancy in institutions


Organizational consultancy has been using methods and approaches of psychoanalytic origin for several decades now, especially when the problems involved seem to imply significant emotional and inter-personal aspects, that leaders, key figures and often the involved subjects themselves appear mostly unaware of or visibly unwilling to know.
A considerable amount of literature is now available so that those who are interested in this subject can study it in further depth in its various aspects and its multiple applications. The aim of this article is rather an attempt to better specify the “object” of these professional practises, providing some conceptual maps and tools for guidance that can help consultants (but managers as well) from an analytical or psychotherapeutic background not to get lost in a mare magnum of theories and techniques where a number of specific risks are present alongside questionable improvisations and  methodologies for every season. I am not referring so much to the various possible forms of narcissistic seduction or omnipotent vocations which can drag a consultant into disaster or into perverse collusion with a client, but rather to the danger of losing sight of the object of one’s own work, simplifying its complex nature, dealing more with the people than the processes (or vice versa), reifying the organization or anthropomorphizing it, losing the capacity to distinguish between fantasy and concrete reality; all this is a setting which  the consultant Read more


Psychoanalytic supervision and consultancy: promoting containment and support in institutions


In conjunction with personal analysis and theory/technique seminars, clinical supervision represents one of the three pillars of psychoanalytic training. Since several years, however, ‘supervision’ is also a term which describes consulting for staff groups in health and social institutions, a practice standing at the crossroad between training and consultancy, offered to teams more and more heterogeneous and involved in an often confused  network of  related services. The Authors developed their hypotheses by reflecting about their work as consultants/supervisors providing staff support systems within various institutions. The first part of the paper focuses on similarities and differences between individual and institutional supervision, with particular attention to clinical supervision, experiential team building, organizational development, and the issues involved in the relationship, overlapping and conflict among training, support and administrative functions. The second part examines the notion of  institutional container, word which has become a magical passepartout in healthcare organizations. The AA explore the functions implied by such notion in the light of: Winnicott’s concept of ‘holding’; Pichon-Rivière and Bleger’s concepts of ‘deposit’ and ‘context’; Bion’s theory of container/contained; Abadi’s paper on paradigmatic shift from the boundary to the network. The last part discusses how the so called ‘managed care’ has indeed created new institutional scenarios. The AA look at the analysis of Read more