Master’s Information Session 2021

Master’s Information Session 2021

Master's Information Sessions

These information sessions aim to illuminate what you can gain from the master’s course.  They are also an opportunity for prospective students to meet others who might study with them.

Master's Information Sessions

Monday 11 January, Wednesday 27 January, Monday 8 February

live interactive online via zoom

Dr Wendy Harding, Director of Academic Programs at NIODA, is offering an information session for those who want to learn more about what can be gained by studying a Master of Leadership and Management (Organisation Dynamics).  It is also an opportunity for prospective students to meet others who might study with them. 

Participants will have questions answered such as:

– What are the foundational ideas of the course?
– How can the learning assist me in my workplace challenges?
– What are the time and other commitments required?
– What are the administrative details of application and enrolment?

Current students/alumni will be available to talk through their experience of the course and how it has helped them in their professional lives.

Masters Information Session

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Master’s Information Sessions

Monday 11 January, Wednesday 27 January, Monday 8 February live, interactive online

5 – 6 pm  Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra/Hobart
4.30 – 5.30 pm Adelaide
4 – 5 pm Brisbane
3.30 – 4.30 pm Darwin
2 – 3 pm Perth

 

When & Where

Master’s Information Sessions

📆  DateS

Monday 11 January, Wednesday 27 January, Monday 8 February 2021

⏰ Session Time

5 – 6 pm  Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra/Hobart
4.30 – 5.30 pm Adelaide
4 – 5 pm Brisbane
3.30 – 4.30 pm Darwin
2 – 3 pm Perth

💡 Details

These information sessions aim to illuminate what you can gain from the master’s course.  They are also an opportunity for prospective students to meet others who might study with you.

👩🏻‍💻 Location

Live interactive online sessions via Zoom

About NIODA

The National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia (NIODA) offers internationally renowned post-graduate education and research, and decades of experience consulting with Australian organisations. 

The study of organisation dynamics brings together socio-technical and psychoanalytic disciplines to explore the unconscious dynamics that exist in every group, team or organisation. Learning more about these theories, and reflecting on the experience of them, can support leaders and managers to unlock great potential in their organisations; tackling issues through a whole new light.

Get In Touch

12 + 2 =

PO box 287, Collins Street West  Melbourne  8007  Australia
+61 414 529 867
info@nioda.org.au

Time – For every purpose

Time – For every purpose

Time

For every purpose

Time – For every purpose

I have had reason recently, as perhaps many of us have had, to think about time. Tick, tock – the seconds pass. Less tick, tock nowadays; more a visual passing on the screen of a mobile electronic device. The division of time into equal parts – seconds, minutes and hours, nowadays by atomic clocks, has a history dating back to the use of our relations to the sun, the stars and the seasons (see https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/devlin_12_99.html). It is a mathematical device for understanding our place in the physical universe – useful at a practical level for human communication: getting to a meeting on time; establishing the flow of events; marking the years of our lives.

But our experience of time is a different thing. Henri Bergson, a late nineteenth and early twentieth century French philosopher, argued that the experience of time was not equal to that of physical time. He talks of lived time or ‘duration’ compared to the time given by the physicists’ instruments (Bergson 1889). Psychological time is not simply a series of equal measurable bits. A moment cannot be measured as if a physical element in space. So, what is a moment?

In psychoanalytic thinking time has a fluidity and a fixedness. Just as the physicists’ have told us that light has both wave and particle properties, so the psychological experience of time has both continuous and discontinuous properties. Consciously, we imagine that we go through time in one continuous progression from past to present to future. We tell ourselves that story. But as Freud argues, the unconscious does not have such an image of time. Events and moments stay locked in and may emerge into consciousness or find a vehicle for expression at any – time. Understanding an event or moment may come long after the event and may change the memory of that event retroactively. Do we have then, a psychological time machine that can change the past? (See Freud’s account of the Wolf Man for examples of this – but I’m sure you have your own).

Jaques Lacan talks of moments in intersubjective time that are psychological not physical in the narrow sense of the word. In any occurrence there is an ‘instant of seeing’ (that is, a time for recognition), a time for understanding and a moment of concluding. This is experienced in short moments such as recognising say, that the countryside around me is not what I expected; to understanding that this is the case and that I have taken a wrong turn during my drive; to concluding that the action I must and do take is to turn back to where I know where I am. But importantly, these moments occur through a long process (perhaps in an analysis or through reflection) of recognising a pattern in my behaviour, thoughts or feelings; to understanding why this occurs; to transforming my actions thoughts and feeling through such understanding. Freud referred to this process as ‘working through’: a process much more extensive that simply a recognition of a problem through an initial interpretation. Time is seen as a discrete process of movement from one state or structure to another. Meaning in time is both retroactive and anticipatory.

 

So how are we experiencing time during Covid-19?

At NIODA we have had a weekly reflective space for people to talk about their thoughts and feelings, from the perspectives of person, role, system, context and source (the transforming experience framework used as a guide). Many themes and issues have emerged. Amongst these, is what gets described as a ‘hankering after the old days.’ There are feelings of loss and grief; yes, for those infected and dying from the disease, but also for the way the world was in the past. This includes the loss of freedoms during lockdowns, missing close relatives and other interactions, feeling isolated and lonely for those living alone (even though for some the lockdowns have been peaceful and productive times). Perhaps these discussions about what has been lost not just due to COVID, but due also to globalisation, social media expansion, global warming and the contraction of the humanities in higher education, are defences against change and a retroactive, redefinition of the past? Equally the space to mourn such changes in our organisations may have been missing and the mourning now is upon us more fully in the current moment. Sometimes reflections move to the future: what shape it might have and how it might be better than the past; how might we do things differently following the Covid experience? How might such anticipations shape our futures or might we just sink into defensive and thoughtless repetitions?

Is time itself experienced differently in such conditions? The instant of seeing has been different for different communities and different individuals. What is being recognised? That there is such a virus as covid-19? That it is deadly? That it can affect us in many ways that we might never have expected? When have governments recognised its existence and implications? Does such recognition come in an instant or slowly grow, or be recognised only retroactively, when health systems become overwhelmed? Or when the population becomes disaffected?

It seems we are each within a time for understanding (despite that there are those who deny the existence of the virus and their instant of recognition is for other issues bound up in conspiracy theories). Scientists are trying to develop vaccines. Politicians are trying to work out implications for coming elections or (it might be hoped) for their communities, health-wise and economically. Families struggling with implications and trying to live within new restrictions and circumstances. The time for understanding seems extensive and painful; almost endless as perhaps wave after wave may be anticipated and a hoped-for vaccine a distant possibility. In this we are not near the moment of concluding, even though some people anticipate the new future, whether it be the return to ‘normal’ or a hopeful transformation.

Time, it seems, is a ‘wibbily, wobbily thing’ to quote the prime character in the British Dr Who television series. We talk of using time to do things, of passing time, of wasting time or creating time as if it is a commodity. Time is given to us as part of our life, and time, psychologically for humans, is intrinsically linked to purpose. As said in Ecclesiastes 3 – there is a time for every purpose. It is purpose and meaning that create moments that are anticipated, experienced and remembered. Without purpose, time is lost. On one side, infinity without time may be gained – the unconscious everywhere: nirvana and ego-lessness, perhaps psychosis. But for daily life, for the sake of life and the planet, good, contained, creative purpose is central.

Edward Shapiro in his latest book ‘Finding a Place to Stand: Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders and Citizens’ follows the paths through which we move from family to institutional life and how through the complexities and chaos of our multiple roles, we might find a voice for the future of our institutions, not as rigid entities caught in unconscious unworked dilemmas that imprison us but, as vital social systems where our living moments might find fruitful purpose, meaning and expression.

Time during COVID may be the birthplace for such transformations.

Professor Susan Long
Director of Research & Scholarship, NIODA

23 September 2020

Time – For every purpose

References:

Bergson, H. (1989) Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness (https://philosophynow.org/issues/48/Henri_Bergson_and_the_Perception_of_Time)

Lacan Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English [trans. Bruce Fink], New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006. Includes 1945, Lacan, J. “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism”

Shapiro, E. (2019) Finding a Place to Stand: Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders and Citizens’ London: Phoenix Publishing

ps Are you a leader or manager and would like to learn more about reflective practice techniques? Have a look at the NIODA Master of Leadership and Management (Organisation Dynamics) course.

Time – For every purpose by Prof Susan Long

Tara Nolan’s The Game of Teams: A Conversation with Dr. Brigid Nossal

Tara Nolan’s The Game of Teams: A Conversation with Dr. Brigid Nossal

.

In this episode of Game of Teams with Tara Nolan, Brigid explains what is meant by Applied Systems Psychodynamics and her approach with clients and especially teams. She shared an important framework that is readily available online by The Grubb institute called the Transforming Experience Framework. Essentially what presents as an issue on teams is really a symptom masking important other considerations such as context, the system and an individual’s experience of their role.  Brigid talked about structural defences, anxiety, role clarity and what might be unconscious to a team.

Listen on Apple Podcasts here

‘An unexplored continent’: What can dreams tell us about society?

‘An unexplored continent’: What can dreams tell us about society?

'An unexplored continent': What can dreams tell us about society?

ILLUSTRATION: DIONNE GAIN

‘An unexplored continent’: What can dreams tell us about society?

This article: ‘An unexplored continent’: What can was originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald, June 5 2020, by Felicity Lewis: https://www.smh.com.au/national/an-unexplored-continent-what-can-dreams-tell-us-about-society-20200604-p54zcs.html 

Many of us have had vivid dreams during this pandemic. What are we dreaming about? What subterranean zeitgeists might they reveal? And what is the point of knowing?

It was January in the northern Italian city of Turin and Franca Fubini, a psychotherapist and organisational consultant, was unsettled. She had been engaged in a long-running project where people share their dreams – a practice called social dreaming. But this group had spoken of nightmares: an asteroid hurtling towards Earth; a truck falling from the sky; people jumping from the balconies of a skyscraper …

“In January we didn’t know yet,” says Fubini of the coronavirus pandemic. “It was moving in the Far East, it would not touch us. But the dreams were all talking of losing control, of unexpected disaster of major magnitude.”

By February, when the Italian government had declared a state of emergency, the social dreaming group was a different mix of people but “that thread, which started to be woven [in January], was there”, says Fubini.

In the following months, with Italy in lockdown and COVID-19 sweeping the country’s north, other dream themes emerged: genetically modified insects, alien attacks, disconnected body parts, locked-up eyes and legs, dreamers unable to recognise themselves in mirrors – white-haired or unkempt, all dressed up but in ill-fitting clothes.

“They take a life of their own,” says Fubini of the dreams, “and we are no longer in control, [in the same way that] we are not during the pandemic.”

Since ancient times, cultures have tuned into dreams as messages from the gods, nature or their souls; since last century, dreams have been viewed as a coded language of the psyche; and today, some doctors, scientists and citizens also collect people’s dreams as data on, among other things, how we share responses to significant events and widespread crises such as this pandemic.

Trump dreams are a genre. Brexit dreams have been documented. And, in recent months, COVID dreams have become virtual-watercooler fodder. You only have to look on Twitter to see a sample of postcards from the land of nod (#CovidDreams), or you can add your own to citizen dream collection project idreamofcovid.com.

What does it all mean? How is dreaming a social activity? What glimpses of subterranean zeitgeists might a group’s dreams offer? And what would be the point of knowing?

ILLUSTRATION: DIONNE GAIN

What is social dreaming?

It’s a Sunday evening in Australia and 65 (mostly) strangers from Europe, South Africa, the US and Asia are gazing out of their little square computer screens for a meeting on Zoom. After a brief introduction, participants turn off their video cameras. There is a sea of black squares. “The matrix is now open,” says a woman’s voice. “And what will be the first dream?”

In the dystopian science-fiction film The Matrix, humans unwittingly exist in a simulated reality. In this matrix, humans are well aware they may be in the dark about the desires and impulses that move cultures and the systems in which they operate – but, through creating a network of associations about one another’s dreams, they can start to see a bigger picture.

One social dreaming expert likens this network to mycelium, the delicate filaments that underpin fungi and transmit nutrients and information across vast forests. Another adds that “we’re talking about deep, subterranean, murky, in-the-mud sort of stuff.”

What will be revealed tonight?

Over the course of this hour-long matrix, the Roosevelts appear twice (New Deal or new normal?); a dreamer is annoyed to discover she is married to pop singer Ed Sheeran (intimacy can be problematic during a lockdown); another dreamer is in the ocean trapped in a plastic bag full of water (a bit like a goldfish for sale, a bit like all of us during this pandemic, blinking out from our self-contained little worlds).

One of these goldfish is Mannie Sher, an executive coach and change consultant with the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. The London institute has been at the cutting edge of research into group dynamics since World War II when it helped the British Army improve relations between officers and soldiers in the lower ranks. Central to its thinking is that a group, as well as an individual, has a life of its own.

“Social dreaming is like a megaphone from another world and we ought to listen to it,” says Sher. “It’s not miraculous, it’s not mysterious. The unconscious is an unexplored continent and there are links and connections that float around, looking for dreamers.”

Sher, who trained as a social scientist and psychotherapist, has used social dreaming as “a diagnostic tool” for years, including in boardrooms and at conferences to loosen minds – after all, the focus is on the dreams and not the dreamers.

“If the matrix is run skilfully, you’ll find that it’s not just the dreaming that gets freed up … the organisation too somehow gets freed up to think new thoughts. And that’s what we’re after.”

Now he and colleagues in social dreaming around the world, including in the Social Dreaming International Network, are watching for patterns in dream matrices as this pandemic makes “social trauma” a “global trait”.

At first blush, the dreams and the associations from matrices run by the Tavistock Institute read as a jumble of signs and symbols: tigers and Tiger Kings; an exploding Brooklyn Bridge and every fifth person evacuated from Manhattan Island; a lieutenant on the Western Front with “Trump-like red hair that looks fake”, and, in June, a house that looks beautiful on the outside but has no “bone structure” within – just a rear room wall-papered all over with the face of George Floyd, the man whose death at the hands of police has sparked riots across the United States.

Over time, the dreams begin to kaleidoscope into a chronicle of the milieu in which they were dreamt. “Dreams can mean many, many things,” says Sher, and in social dreaming, a group’s free associations about the dreams are as important as the dreams themselves. “What we’re looking for is the drift. What direction is it going? What’s emerging out of the associations – rather than saying ‘your dream means this or that’.

“People don’t come to social dreaming because they’re having bad dreams or difficult lives,” he says. “They’re invited to join what you might call a social experiment – namely, what are our dreams able to tell us about the society we’re in?”

ILLUSTRATION: DIONNE GAIN

So, what are our dreams able to tell us about the society we’re in?

This was the question for Scottish sociologist, organisational consultant and educator Gordon Lawrence when he developed social dreaming as a tool of organisational dynamics in the early ’80s after reading the work of Jewish journalist Charlotte Beradt, whose book The Third Reich of Dreams made his “skin tingle”.

Beradt covertly collected 300 dreams from Berliners from 1933, when the Nazis came to power, until she fled Europe in 1939, and details some of them in her book. A factory owner, for example, dreams he is visited by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels; as he lifts his arm in the Nazi salute, his back breaks. Another man sees only rectangles, triangles and octagons in his dreams because dreaming itself is “forbidden”.

It was not personal issues that fuelled these dreams, Beradt contends, so much as “conflicts into which these people had been driven by a public realm in which half-truths, vague notions and a combination of fact, rumour and conjecture had produced a general feeling of uncertainty and unrest”. The dreams, collected before war had broken out, offered the warning “that totalitarian tendencies must be recognised before they become overt”. Beradt’s book, now out of print, has quite possibly been referenced more in the past few months in discussing COVID dreams than at any time since it was first published in the 60s.

Both Fubini and Sher worked with Lawrence. Over the years, Sher and his colleagues have collected dreams during a range of major events: from tent dwellers during the London Occupy Movement (“murder, cutting up bodies, rotting bodies – awful stuff”); at public sessions in a library during Brexit (“parents divorcing, chaos, the piling up of rubbish”) and after the election of Donald Trump (“triumph of the win, not binding together, insulting a woman”).

But while the pandemic has focused attention on dreaming en masse, dreams can also shed light on smaller group dynamics – including in the workplace.

ILLUSTRATION: DIONNE GAIN

What happens when you take dreams to work?

Dame Ruth Silver had been the principal of Lewisham College, in London’s south-east, for several years when she offered social dreaming sessions to staff at the start and end of each term. A trained psychologist (twice honoured for her services to further education), she regards dreams as data that offer “the opportunity, among other things, to construct an agenda for change”.

“The challenge for me, as the principal, was to say, ‘How do I keep on supporting the staff to be creative in raising students’ success?’”, says Silver. “We had dreams of … lost staff looking for students, students looking for staff, people not getting the right textbooks. 

“There was a whole system of dreams that talked about, actually, we need to do more, forward. There were also things going on in society – black kids getting beaten up, the Stephen Lawrence murder [in south-east London in 1993]. What we were doing was terrific curriculum learning but actually it didn’t help them deal with the issues in their housing estates so colleagues encouraged and legitimised social justice work from students, not just to them. 

“So it’s how the dreams are made meaning of by the institution – and that wasn’t for me alone to do, it was for all of us, saying, ‘What do you think that’s about?’ and, ‘If it is about that, what could we try?’ So, to authorise teachers to be free experimenters, not just experts.” 

After the dream conversations, the college set up a sector first: a “quality unit” with a data analyst, researcher and head of learning and development for all staff. Out of that came a confidential teacher’s help desk that was “off system” so staff could flag issues without fear of their appraisals being affected. “They had a place to go that was for increasing and sharing their expertise because that helped the students,” says Silver. “We prototyped a lot of new structures that are still around.” 

Silver, who now runs a think tank and sits on the board of the Jamie Oliver Foundation, has advised prime ministers on further education but stopped short of conducting a dream matrix at No. 10. “[Tony] Blair had a curiosity about it but he didn’t manage to do it,” she laughs.

 

ILLUSTRATION: DIONNE GAIN

What’s next?

It seems the US riots are now looming in our nocturnal visions. And dreams of (second) waves, and of nature, are emerging in local and international social dreaming matrices, says Susan Long, research director of the National Institute of Organisation Dynamics. Whether in Italy, Israel, England or the US, says Long (who also co-edited Social Dreaming: Philosophy, Research, Theory and Practice), group’s dreams are showing that they have not forgotten the plight of the natural environment even as the pandemic has eclipsed talk of it.

If dreams can act as stealthy reminders of our abiding concerns, Long also contends they can be “memoirs of the future” – not in a psychic way but in the sense that they help us to imagine what’s next. “In our daily lives we constantly anticipate what we will do in the future, whether in the next hour or the next year,” she says. “Our dreams do this also but they do it from an unconscious level. Social dreaming brings together the unconscious anticipations of all the participants and allows thoughts that we individually would not dare to think in our waking lives because they seem weird, risky or dangerous – but are there in the back of our minds.

“The associations of others turn the oblique and dissociated ideas in the dreams into comprehensible narratives, linked to everyday experiences.”

In London, Sher says talking about dreaming together enables new things to happen, even if, in organisations, these are mostly in the form of “baby steps”.

But it seems that making sense of our COVID dreams, or of any dreams for that matter, will take time; there’s a slow-burn aspect to the epiphanies they offer.

“You go to a matrix, you hear these dreams, and you can’t make sense of them,” says Sher. “That’s a state of mind that you have to accept, that sometimes you just don’t know what’s happening. Later on, you may find out, oh, we did know something – but we refused to acknowledge it.”

Kate Dempsey Sorry Business Seminar

Kate Dempsey Sorry Business Seminar

Sorry Business Seminar: Dr Kate Dempsey

Sorry Business: A Kleinian perspective on Apology and Reparation seminar

‘Sorry business’ is a term used by First Nation People’s of Australia to encompass the rituals and ceremonies associated with death and grieving. But Australia has a sorry business, left unattended and unacknowledged. Colonisation in Australia (as elsewhere) has left a legacy of inequality, trauma, shame, guilt, and exploitation. In Requiem for a Nun, Faulkner writes the famous line that ‘the past is never dead. It’s not even past.’

In this paper, I argue that the past is still with us all (whether colonist/settler, migrant, dispossessed, white or black) and that lack of apology and reparation means wounds of the past do not heal. As a white Australian, I can’t say how, when or why apology is acceptable but I want to explore why apology is complex in a social context and how cultural forgetfulness negatively impacts on reparation.

I look at attempts to say sorry, from a Kleinian perspective, incorporating her idea of reparation and I use restorative justice principles – most often employed in the criminal justice system – as a guide to enacting apology. Klein deals with personal relationships, not whole societies or cultures and not with formal apologies given by governments or organisations on behalf of large groups for the deeds of those who came before. But perhaps illumination can occur by examining her ideas. She notes that the move to a depressive position comes first from the one who has done wrong, realising this truth, mourning loss and wanting to repair.

But if apology has an unspoken aim to triumph over a past, or has a sentiment of grievance, anger, or guilt at its heart, it is ‘manic reparation’ (Klein 1935). This is the fantasy desire that the division being experienced should go away. It is the belief that by simply apologising we can return to a place of oneness, to have the other stop complaining or have the feeling of guilt for damage done, assuaged. It is fantasy and therefore manic because the damage has in fact been done and the prior state can never return. Relationship with the other is damaged by past events and apology is only true when this brokenness is acknowledged and responsibility accepted.

 

Seminar, recorded via Zoom

Reparation is an embodied, enacted and relational process. Without reparation, we cannot move as individuals or as a nation to a mature (depressive) position. The task is to find the liminal space so that growth can occur, rather than all parties feeling either overwhelmed by what we cannot fix or defensively assuming all will be well following apology.

Finally, I discuss the term Dadirri (Ungunmerr 1988) from the Daly River People (the Ngangikurungkurr) as a way for white settler descendants to begin to come to a place of remembering and mourning that offers both an internal maturing in the depressive position, but also an outward enactment of reparation. It is a term that has no comparable meaning in English. But it points the way to quiet listening and deep understanding of the other, which is a good place to start.

Klein, M. (1935/1975) ‘A Contribution to the Psychogenesis of Manic-Depressive States’ Writings Vol 1. Free Press (Macmillan) NY. Available at https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-
library/Klein_Contribution.pdf

Ungunmerr, MR. (1988) Dadirri: Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness accessed 2.02.2019 from www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au

 

Dr Kate Dempsey

Dr Kate Dempsey (PhD) is an organisational consultant who has successfully operated her own business, Kate Dempsey & Associates, for more than two decades. She assists businesses with change management and organisational review.

Prior to her consulting work, Kate held a number of positions in the public sector and throughout her career, she has been involved in many Boards and Committees – either appointed or elected to represent constituents.

In addition to her consulting work, Kate is an academic who has taught Leadership and Managing Change to Masters level students at Monash University and Latrobe University and also to Bachelor of Business students at Swinburne University since 2006. She has a PhD in the psychology of leadership.

Dr Dempsey is a member of the NIODA Academic Board of Governance.

About NIODA

The National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia (NIODA) offers internationally renowned post-graduate education and research, and decades of experience consulting with Australian organisations.

The study of organisation dynamics brings together socio-technical and psychoanalytic disciplines to explore the unconscious dynamics that exist in every group, team or organisation. Learning more about these theories, and reflecting on the experience of them, can support leaders and managers to unlock great potential in their organisations, tackling issues through a whole new light.

Get In Touch

PO box 287, Collins Street West,
Melbourne  8007  Australia
+61 414 529 867
info@nioda.org.au

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The Authority to Profess

The Authority to Profess

The Authority to Profess

The recent appointment of Susan Long to the rank of Professor at NIODA follows her more than 50 years of rigorous scholarship as she has grown her own distinctive practice as a thinker, author, teacher and action researcher.

The authority to profess Susan Long

The shorter Oxford dictionary defines a Professor as a public teacher of the highest rank in a specific faculty or branch of learning. The title designates one who is accorded the authority to profess their thoughts, understanding and sentiments to a public that should be willing to listen and be influenced by the Professor’s erudition.

The recent appointment of Susan Long to the rank of Professor at NIODA surely accords with this definition following as it does her more than 50 years of rigorous scholarship in the fields of psychology, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, clinical practice, group relations, social dreaming and education, each discipline informing the other, as she has grown her own distinctive practice as a thinker, author, teacher and action researcher. Her curiosity about, and respect for, the ‘unconscious’ has led her to explore it from many angles including the historical, the here and now, and the prospective. Her recently conceptualised differentiation of the ‘associative unconscious’ from Freud’s notion of the repressed unconscious is breathing new possibilities into our understanding of creativity as social process. She is a restless inquirer.

Students of Organisation Dynamics learn that the concept of ‘authority’, whilst essential to the process of reliable organising, regulating and acting, has many vicissitudes.

In society today there is much concern about whether our authorities can be trusted. And as long ago as the 17th century the philosopher John Locke so wisely warned that every error known to mankind has had its professor. In this case, we can rely on the fact that Susan Long has previously held professorial appointments at two universities, Swinburne and RMIT, has many peer-reviewed publications and research grants, and has been elected, by her peers, as President of both local and international professional associations. Her ‘top-down’ authority is assured. But what about her ‘bottom-up’ authorisation? Are students and clients still willing to listen? Well, her supervision to completion of 22 PhD students, so far, helps answer that question. As does the number of requests for her service as an examiner and consultant, along with the ‘sold out’ status of her writing workshops, the repeated invitations she receives to work on the staff of group relations conferences in Australia and overseas, and the applause from many current and past students at the news of her NIODA appointment. The key to this respect, I think, is Susan’s profound understanding that authority which cannot be questioned is just power. She always invites others, students, colleagues and clients alike, to question their experience, including their experience of her, in order to think together about how emotional currents are shaping their views of reality, the possibility of collaborating, and the ethics that will guide their behaviour.

NIODA is honoured and enriched by Susan’s appointment and her continuance in the role of Director, Research and Scholarship. Long may she continue to profess and to guide NIODA’s students in the making of good authority for an uncertain world.

John Newton

Prof John Newton
Chair Academic Board of Governance, NIODA

1 May 2020

The Authority to Profess – Susan Long

ps Are you a leader or manager and would like to learn more about making good authority? Have a look at the NIODA Master of Leadership and Management (Organisation Dynamics) course.

The Authority to Profess by Prof John Newton

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