Psychodynamic Systems


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Instructor: Abstract:

Edward R. Shapiro, MD, is the former Medical Director of Austen Riggs.This three-lecture course is an introduction to psychodynamic systems theory. The first lecture focuses on basic principles, beginning with the recognition that the individual is an open system linked to others through the communication of affects, both consciously and unconsciously. With a review of projective identification, we move from the study of the dynamics of the individual to the couple, the family, the group and the organization. I will offer an outline of an interpretive stance and the potential development of an organizational culture that can provide increased access to understanding and using organizational irrationality. The lecture ends with an example of psychodynamic systems thinking about an organization, focusing on psychoanalytic institutes.

In lectures two and three, we explore the family as an organization, using excerpts from family and individual treatment to deepen the understanding of organizational task, regression, shared unconscious assumptions, the co-creation of irrational roles, and the use of interpretation. We conclude with excerpts that illustrate the family’s recovery from shared irrationality and the re-establishment of competent organizational functioning.

Format: Videocast or Audio Podcast

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to identify the underlying interpersonal dynamics and unconscious mechanisms that contribute to family and organizational irrationality.
Participants will be able to construct an approach to interpreting collective irrationality that clarifies its link to the task of an organization.
Participants will be able to explain the difference between rational and irrational roles and the processes that lead to organizational regression.

System Requirements

The Austen Riggs Center Continuing Medical Education and Online Courses system is offered to users who are able to access these courses with systems and devices meeting the following requirements:

  • Internet Explorer 11 or 10
  • Latest Versions of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome
  • Apple iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 7 or iOS 8
  • Android 4.4.x-capable devices
  • No pop-up blockers or browser extensions that interfere with multimedia rendering of content installed or enabled.