The Heart of Organisational Psychotherapy

The Heart of Organisational Psychotherapy

My organisational psychotherapy practice draws inspiration from a number of individual psychotherapy schools and traditions. But none more so than Carl Rogers and Client Centred Therapy – more recently also known as Person Centred Therapy.

At the heart of my approach, drawing on Rogers, is seeing the focus of Organisational Therapy as creating a facilitative, empathic environment wherein the client organisation, collectively, can discover its answers for itself.

Answers

Actually, “answers” is just a bit misleading, given that clients may not be seeking answers, per se. Recent experiences in my current assignment lead me to choose a slightly different perspective. My current focus is on creating, or more accurately contributing to, an environment wherein the client organisation can come to know itself better.

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”

~ Lao Tzu

Self-knowledge

The title of Tom Shadyac’s movie “I Am” is drawn from the rhetorical question “What’s wrong with this world we live in?” (And what can we do to make it better?) He concludes that the best thing we can do to make the world a better place is to know ourselves better (and thereby each make ourself a better person).

”We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.”

~ Carl Rogers

I believe this sentiment holds as true for organisations and their collective psyche, as for Rogers’ individual clients.

– Bob

Further Reading

A Therapists’s Guide to Heart Centred Therapy ~ William P Ryan PhD (video)

2 comments
  1. Jon said:

    I love this article Bob, such great advice. Organisational (and personal) self awareness is a truly valuable commodity. You’ve opened my eyes once again. Thank you, Jon

  2. Paul Beckford said:

    Hi Bob,

    “My current focus is on creating, or more accurately contributing to, an environment wherein the client organisation can come to know itself better.”

    This is laudable work. It will be interesting to hear how it goes.

    Transparency and truth; most organisations espouse both, but is this born out by what they actually do? Their theory in use?

    For me, I have come to accept that what organisations espouse as their raison d’etre (in the service of customers, workers and society at large), is very different from what is revealed by their actual actions (in service of senior managers themselves and shareholders).

    This self deception fits with the work of Chris Argyris, which I’m sure you are familiar with:

    http://www.aral.com.au/resources/argyris.html

    It also ties in with the work of social psychologists. Social psychology chooses to focus on the (implicit) social contract at work and what it means. It also advocates that the social contract should be made explicit following negotiations and agreement by all parties (workers and employers). I’ve mentioned this body of knowledge before and you were curious to find out more. Since then I’ve come across this resource that you may find useful:

    http://www.businessballs.com/psychological-contracts-theory.htm

    As always, interested in your thoughts and experiences.

    Paul.

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