Systemisch-psychodynamische Organisationsberatung book cover and co-editors

New book co-edited by Tavistock and Portman alumni

Co-editor, Martin Lüdemann, describes the ground-breaking publication as “a big thank you for having the privilege to learn and grow at the Tavistock and Portman”.

Systemisch-psychodynamische Organisationsberatung, or Systemic-psychodynamic consultancy to organisations, was published in June 2024 by Psychosozial-Verlag, a German publisher specialising in psychological and social science books and magazines.

The first text produced on this subject in German, it was co-edited by Tavistock and Portman alumni, Martin Lüdemann, who graduated from our professional doctorate in Advanced practice and research: consultation and the organisation (D10D), and Celina Rodriguez Drescher, graduate of our Master’s degree in Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10), together with Markus Feil.

We asked Martin to share the story of the book’s inception and development:

“We, as a team, realised that the systems-psychodynamic approach is hardly known in the consultancy world in Germany and we, therefore, were constantly having problems discussing our perceptions and interventions with our colleagues in the field. They were not able to understand concepts such as “defence mechanism” or the “unconscious of organisations”. 

This is why we thought that compiling a book about the essentials of the systems-psychodynamic approach would be a good idea. There was a long journey between having the idea and the printing of the book with some surprises, some good and some more challenging. We were astonished by how difficult it was to find German words for something we had learned and practised in English. Instead of a simple translation process, it was a question of relearning the concepts, theories and ideas in our own language.

We wanted to offer a book with the core concepts of the systems-psychodynamic approach. Before the book “An introduction of systems psychodynamics” by Sher and Lawler was published, we noticed that there was no collection of the core concepts (in book form) and we wanted to bring them together in our German edition. We wrote about: Bion’s group psychology, group relations, socio-technical systems, boundaries, tasks and roles, defence mechanisms, containment and holding, the unconsciousness of groups and organisations, transference and projective identification, group-as-a-whole and organisation-in-the-mind. Furthermore, we included our own chapter on the history and development of the approach, mentioning all the diverse thinkers and writers who had contributed to it.

As editors of the book, we delivered three papers and invited our English friends in the field and lecturers to add their views on the systems-psychodynamic approach. Martin Ringer, Susan Long, Vega Zagier Roberts and Chris Scanlon sent us their papers which are now part of our collection. Olya Khaleelee, Renate Bugge and Anton Obholzer wrote short forewords to support our concept.

The roots of our systems-psychodynamic experiences and knowledge were developed at the Tavistock and Portman in the courses D10D and D10. Here we discovered the systems-psychodynamic approach and learned how to apply it in our consulting.

The book can be seen as a “big thank you” for having the privilege to learn and grow at the Tavistock and Portman. We hope that our gratitude will be noticed in London despite the fact that the book is written in German and is aimed at the German reader.”

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