Consultation to Organizations

The health and success of a group or organization of any size depends on many psychological factors:

  • Competent and self-aware members and leaders who understand and attend to group dynamics and to the quality of experience for members of the group
  • Consensus about vision and purpose
  • Effective communication channels and skills within and across layers of the organization
  • Welcoming of member’s and sub-group’s capabilities, differences and concerns
  • Interpersonal respect and trust
  • Flexibly defined role definitions and responsibilities
  • Tolerance for self-evaluation and constructive self-criticism
  • Adaptability in redefining goals and methods when necessary

I offer consultation services for:

  • organizations that are proactively trying to strengthen their psychological awareness and group dynamics to optimize functioning
  • organizations that have problems with one or more of these psychological factors, and are experiencing some type of group dysfunction, which might include:
    • interpersonal or sub-group conflict
    • scape-goating or isolation of members or sub-groups
    • employee or leadership dissatisfaction or attrition
    • diminished productivity or failure to achieve goals
    • problematic relationships with other organizations

My perspective is that an organization is an evolving system that has important dynamics that are not merely the sum of its parts.

  • Each organization, based on its unique history and membership, has its own unconscious personality, with a robust character, identity, internal conflicts, and defenses against knowing about and tampering with those conflicts.
  • Problems that occur within an organization may be unfairly attributed to a single member or subgroup of members, but the problems often stem from issues that the group is unaware of, or unable to comfortably address.
  • Issues are best resolved when the entrenched beliefs and behaviors that caused them are brought to light within a larger context which incorporates the group’s unconscious efforts to maintain homeostasis and avoid dealing with difficult issues.
  • Organizations function best when members develop shared self-reflective capacities that foster curiosity about group dynamics and vulnerabilities, and promote openness to ongoing learning and improved collaboration.
  • Growth of this nature can help the group avoid blaming and shaming of members or subgroups, allow for conflict resolution, and welcome differentiation among members. This can improve group cohesion and communication skills, allowing for healthier organizational functioning and maturation.

My approach is based on an eclectic integration of Jungian theory, Systems-Centered theory, the Tavistock model, and Bion’s theory about groups.

Consultation services are customized to suit the needs of the organization, are intended to be thought-provoking and educational at each stage, and may include:

  • Assessment interviews with individual leaders and/or members
  • Assessment meetings with significant sub-groups, or the entire organization (depending on size)
  • Survey instruments, questionnaires, or psychological tests, as appropriate
  • Facilitated small or large group process meetings and communication exercises, to raise awareness, work through concerns, and implement improved ways of relating
  • Summary reports or recommendations
  • Periodic follow-up meetings to implement and consolidate changes

Consultation to organizations generally occurs on-site, but may involve meetings in my San Francisco or Berkeley offices.