Chateau de Bossey, Geneva March 15 to March 17, 2019



Saturday, March 16, 2019 12:00-1.00 pm & 2:00-3:00 pm

Exploring Neutrality and Engagement - Small Group Reflections

Participants will explore their own experiences of managing the tension between neutrality and engagement in small groups led by panelists presenting five different perspectives.

Presenter: Gerry Fromm – Bringing the Clinical to Consulting
One source of the term ·neutrality’ is clinical psychoanalysis. In 1912, Freud recommended adopting a stance of “evenly suspended attention” as the “counterpart” to the patient’s effort at free association. What sorts of engagement follow this unusual partnership? How do we understand that engagement? Members· case examples will be used to examine how clinical psychoanalysis, which includes neutrality, finds its way into consultative work.

Presenter: Larry Hirschhorn – Neutrality or Engagement: Personal aims and organizational goals in forming strategy
The pursuit of one’s own self – interest in an organizational context is often seen as illegitimate. The presumption is that executives in various roles should shed their interests “at the door” and commit to pursuing the organization’s goals. It is also evident that this stance is unrealistic, and when it becomes a cultural norm, drives interests underground where they are pursued covertly and behind the scenes. People appear to be neutral – without a personal agenda – while creating coalitions for achieving their personal aims. I would like to explore an alternative conception where under conditions of strategy formation, and in the face of a primary risk, self -interest become a vehicle for exploring the organization’s alternative futures. To engage fully with the organization’s prospects people must make their own personal interests manifest. Participants in this seminar should be prepared to talk about how they have experienced the expression of self-interest in organizational settings, whether as organizational actors, observers or consultants, and when this expression was either developmental or regressive. The facilitators will present a brief framework for examining this issue. We will conclude by asking what organization development techniques can help articulate the link and productive tension between personal aims and organizational interests.

Presenter: Richard Morgan-Jones – The search for an engaged position in a turbulent world
This workshop will explore the search for a value based position of engagement, in situations in working with organisations, where emotional experience and systems dynamics are invaded by contextual dynamics that are divisive.
There will be a brief introductory presentation to set the scene and outline the dynamics of “Schizmogenesis” (=Creation of splits). This idea is drawn from anthropology (Gregory Bateson) and illustrated by situations where competition for limited resources goes unregulated or where media propaganda sets one group against another exacerbating aggression. It is also illustrated by the propaganda technique of “gaslighting” where lies are used to drive people out of their hold on reality and towards being coercively controlled.
Participants will have the chance to understand how these ideas and dynamics are reflected in their own experience in organisations. The workshop will provide members the chance to work on consulting and role dilemmas where finding a values based engaged position is vital to effective work.

Presenter: Arianna Rondos – Refugee crisis: what does it mean to be “neutral” and “engaged”?
The current refugee crisis is revealing a complex set of issues affecting the world at large, and Western Europe in particular. What is the responsibility of democratic countries in this crisis? Is there a way for the Western world to do better, or to do anything at all? Should it engage or, on the contrary, let History follow its course? 
If the answers to these questions were merely pragmatic, they would be simple. But the refugee crisis stirs archaic unconscious fears of destruction and invasion and can inspire manifestations of guilt in the Westerner feeling suddenly obliged to fix the woes of the world. These emotions influence our reflections and our capacity for action, as well as our defensive reactions. Based on these considerations, what is neutrality, and what is engagement? Can we find solutions at the interface between well-tempered neutrality and a responsible engagement? And how, as practitioners working with the chronic insecurity of the refugee client experience, is it possible to remain engaged in their psychological support whilst neutral to the chaos of their life in Europe.

Presenter: Gabrielle Rifkind – Is there any such thing as neutrality?

Gabrielle Rifkind will explore with the group whether there is any such thing as neutrality? She will draw on the experience and knowledge of the group, her background as a group analyst, psychotherapist and art therapist and working in conflict resolution in the Middle East for the past 20 years.

Saturday, March 16, 2019 3:30-5:00 pm

Experiential Workshops

Presenter: Mark Argent  – Exploring through creativity
Balancing the primarily-verbal experiences of the rest of the day, this workshop will create space to explore where the process of the weekend is sitting for people. Creativity offers a rich way to be with with things coming into words or not yet ready to be be articulated, drawing on the visual and the sensual, on what is held in the body, on daydreams, thoughts-in-the-making and on the spark of what has the potential to be brought into being. We’ll use resources brought from outside the event and things from within to explore in a way that works for people used to attending to their inner journey through art and creativity and those to whom this is less familiar.

Presenter:  Willem de Lannoy & Susanna Hietbrink – Space Lab
This workshop will focus on the Body-Mind connection, providing a space to experience and express our many dimensions as human beings. As participants, we are co-creating the conference, and throughout this process experiencing multitudinous sensations. Thinking, smelling, dreaming and moving are examples of some of these varied states, both conscious and, unconscious. By using various techniques from different disciplines,  we will encourage the ‘unconscious’ to surface, to be seen, felt and heard. Therein expanding our awareness of the conference as a whole and supporting the individual process of internalizing the impact of participation.

Presenter:  Samia Elisabeth Dayer – Walk and Talk approach
Every day we make different trips on foot. From point A to point B, our goal is to arrive.  But, what happens between these two points ?
The purpose of the workshop will be to focus on this journey. To look further than the automated ‘goal’ and to become aware of the polarities which emerge. And, to ask, how do we remain neutral in the face of external realities requiring our inner reality to engage? Participants will be divided into dyads to live these two positions out, playing between listening and speaking to experience the paradox between neutrality and commitment/engagement.

Presenter: Ysé Coulondre – Balint Psychodrama
Experiencing neutrality and engagement in the context of a clinical case offered by a participant, as replayed in a Balint psychodrama. Developed by Anne Cain, a French psychoanalyst and psychodramatist, Balint psychodrama is an extension of the spirit of Michael Balint. It is differentiated by the use of the psycho-dramatic game, which asks the caregiver not only to tell but also to find and stage moments of his meetings with his patient. With the help of the facilitators and the work of the group, the reunion with a reminisced professional scene will allow exploration of related emotions in a new way, those both conscious and unconscious, which pose a problem to the caregiver and lead him to question his professional identity.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Balint Groups

Hosts:  Andras Gelei, Annemette Hasselager, Richard Morgan-Jones, Claudia Nagel and Simon Western
Balint’s groups: a well- known and popular methodology for professional reflections. It offers a safe confidential space where participants can explore their own work related cases, dilemmas and feelings within a group of professional colleagues. Each session may accommodate a few presentations. Lead by an experienced consultant the work of the group could be a source of insights and deeper understanding for the presenter of the case, whilst also benefiting those who offer feedback to the presenter about the dynamics of the presented material.