Ethics, Organizational Trauma, and Hope


one-bad-apple-spoils.jpgI had lunch last week with Dr. Dale Godby who, like me, is concerned about how the ethical misdeeds of one part of a group impacts the whole group. How does one bad apple spoil the batch? Dr. Earl Hopper and Meg Sharpe have been researching this issue in London for years. They are coming to Dallas on March 30, 2007 to lead a workshop that will address these issues that we are faced with frequently, but that we don’t often think through extensively. A few examples of the relevance of this topic are the pastor’s involvement with pornography (my last post), the Catholic priests’ involvement with child abuse, and the Enron debacle. None of these are isolated events that we are insulated from. Here’s the announcement about the event that will be cosponsored by CAPS, which I represent, and DSPP & DGAP, which Dale represents.

Dallas Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology and Dallas Group Analytic Practice

Saturday March 3, 2007

On Saturday, March 3, Earl Hopper, Ph.D., and Meg Sharpe, BA (Hons), two psychoanalysts and group analysts from London, will present a program on trauma in organizations, with special reference to violations of Codes of Ethics and the recovery of morale and hope.

What happens to organizations when they are broken, wounded or ‘traumatized’? In the case of Enron, trauma and moral corruption were closely linked, and these processes were fatal. In the case of the Church, the cardinal virtues were threatened. Closer to home psychoanalytical organizations have experienced strain, cumulative and catastrophic trauma, involving the loss of hegemony over training mental health professionals, drastic reductions in economic and status rewards, and the apparently widespread failed dependency on leaders who violated boundaries with patients and colleagues. Will these recursive traumas prove fatal for psychoanalysis and related forms of therapy? Can our professional organizations and colleagues rediscover their faith in psychoanalytical values and clinical principles?

Earl Hopper will present his theory of incohesion in the unconscious life of traumatized social systems, and Meg Sharpe will discuss the loneliness of those involved in boundary violations, and the ways in which they personify the roles that emerge in traumatized organizations. Both speakers are concerned with the development of realistic hope and task-appropriate levels of morale as antidotes to the spread of moral corruption that follows failed dependency on our leaders.



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