please join us for the next ITAA/EATA webinar on 22nd November entitled “Beneath the surface: unconscious processes in self and systems. A group relations approach”
A characteristic of unconscious processes is their almost involuntarily “pull” towards a pattern or habitual way of doing and being. We may act upon assumptions that are left unexamined for their current relevance, take up roles that we don’t question, hold beliefs about the world and have embedded self-concepts of which we are not consciously aware. It is agreed that these unconscious patterns are set in place early in our lives, and some dysfunctional, continue to be defended, a process we are unaware of!
Groups and systems have unconscious processes or dynamics of their own. This is evident when groups we are part of don’t behave according to ‘plan’, leading to frustration, emotional turbulence, complexity, and delays or even sabotage in task accomplishment.
Akin to our reluctance to learn about individual unconscious processes, we are reluctant to acknowledge unconscious processes at play at the level of the group. This is likely because surfacing these may confront us with a set of realities and questions that we prefer not to know, notwithstanding the cost of this to ourselves and to systems we belong to. Encountering them may lead us to uncomfortable questions like “how am I behaving in the group and what is going on here? Do I understand how the group is affecting me in taking up roles as member/leader? How can I understand my role in the system and work in a manner that enables the group to focus on task?
The tradition of work on the unconscious called Group Relations is influenced by pioneers in the psychoanalytic tradition such as Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Carl Jung, and Wilfred Bion. Other streams such as systems thinking, socio-technical systems, (Eric Trist and A K Rice) as well as socio-analysis (Gordon Lawrence and Alastair Bain). The lineage of work on the unconscious and recognition of its impact can be seen in the philosophy in the Indian sub-continent in the pre-vedic era, the Upanishads, Buddhist and Jain philosophy, and in ancient literature on Yoga,
This webinar aims to introduce the group relations framework of sense making of unconscious processes in groups and systems. We will make a brief presentation and offer adequate space and time for reflections and connections, including what may emerge from the ‘here and now’ as food for thought and further insights.
The presenters Rosemary Viswanath and Ganesh Anantharaman are practitioners actively shaping group relations work in India for some decades now. www.grouprelationsindia.org
Ganesh Anantharaman is a consultant in Leadership Development and an Executive Coach. He studied Political Science at Mumbai University. He switched career when he started his training with the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Science (ISABS) where he developed expertise in “T group” methodology of interpersonal growth. He has worked with groups and systems using the Group Relations methodology that originated from the Tavistock Clinic in the UK. He has been on the staff of and also directed many programs and interventions using this methodology, including regular workshops for INSEAD.
Rosemary Viswanath began her career in the software industry in the Human Resources function and then moved on to work largely with the development (non-profit) sector in India and internationally, consulting on long term change processes for large networks, movements and federations that work on environmental sustainability, social justice, human rights and accountable governance. She has a serious commitment to the study of Buddhism, and in making connections between behavioural science approaches and Buddhist thought and practice in transforming one’s mind.