Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC)
GROUP WORK IN A PSYCHOANALTIC INSTITUTE: 15 YEARS ON
Angela Sowa PsyD MFT Personal and Supervising Analyst Group process consultant
A psychoanalytic organization is indeed complex -- a weaveof training analysts, supervisors, faculty, candidates, graduates, and other community members.Each of these positions holds levels of responsibility not just toward individuals, but toward the group-as-a-whole, wherein ‘care for the other’ should not be taken for granted, but explicitly nourished.
In 2005, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California incorporated experiential group process into its four-year seminar training. Since then, candidates became analysts and analysts became leaders of an institute that valued awareness of group dynamics. Eventually, this led to tectonic shifts in the way the institute handled the aftermath of two serious ethics violations by senior analysts.
The paper is in two parts: Part I summarizes the development of the first experiential group process sequence within a psychoanalytic training program. The four-year sequence follows a Tavistock model with modifications for inclusion in an ongoing training program. The author will also speculate why – despite its success - pockets of resistance to group study persist within individual members and isolated groups.
Part II describes a several year effort that attended to members and to groups within the institute in the aftermath of ethical violations. This included interventions for specific groups, and at times, facilitation from senior AKRI consultants. The project’s intent was to systematically debrief members and then to repair fractured group relations within and among various groups and constituencies. The raw data from the de-briefing interviews offered a window into the specific dynamics that deeply disturb group functioning. The author will explore the most important conclusion of the study: a violation of one is a violation of many. Abrogation of the ‘ethics of care’ by a member(s) reverberates out concentrically seriously disturbing group relations and functioning.