Side Effects

Annette has an excellent post about psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and his new book Side Effects. Here’s a little bit of Annette’s analysis:

Phillips’ suggests that you can only be distracted if you have a plan and in attending to the distractions our plans (ones we may not even be aware of) are revealed. So when people ask me “how I work” and “what I do” I refer them to Phillips because his accessible interpretation of psychoanalysis (and indeed, pscychodynamic approaches to working in general) make sense of the ways in which my interest is captured by “oddness” and incidents and issues that somehow “don’t fit in”. Working below the surface of organisations and with people, means drawing clients attention to their plans – the ones that are unspoken and unconscious. Very often those unconscious plans derail the conscious ones and getting to the heart of that difference (very often exposing it for the first time) is the key to unlocking blockages in the system.

Yeah, that makes some sense to me. When I’m coaching, I’m often fascinated by the unfinished sentences, little incongruences – mine and other people’s. Often, following up on these can be fascinating.

Annette, I’m slightly wary of the phrase “unlocking blockages in the system” because I’m not sure we should be too confident about what’s a blockage and what’s a system. And I suspect that’s what you’re saying too…

I also think this links in some way with thoughts about non-linearity in meetings. What looks like wandering off the point is actually part of getting the point.

1 thought on “Side Effects

  1. annette

    Good point Johnnie – I should have used “inverted commas” because I think very often what we consider to be the “problem” is in fact the “solution” and it isn’t always clear where the “system” begins and ends etc…but you’ve captured the spirit of what I was trying to get at!


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