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Healy, K. (2008). Organization in the Mind: Psychoanalysis, Group Relations and Organizational Consultancy, by David Armstrong, Edited by Robert French from The Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac Books, London, 2005, 167 pp., $35.00. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 36(2):399-401.
(2008). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 36(2):399-401
Organization in the Mind: Psychoanalysis, Group Relations and Organizational Consultancy, by David Armstrong, Edited by Robert French from The Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac Books, London, 2005, 167 pp., $35.00
Review by: Kevin Healy
I have known Armstrong, and his work, directly since 1997 when I first met with him for organizational consultancy in relation to my job as Clinical Director of the Cassel Hospital, a therapeutic community run on psychoanalytic principles in London that treats children, adolescents, adults, and families suffering the impact of personality disorders. I have worked with Armstrong through some very difficult times, and some very exciting times. I am pleased to review this collection of Armstrong's occasional papers, written between 1989 and 2003. The book is rooted in what is now generally known as the Tavistock approach, or the Tavistock tradition. In this David Armstrong seeks to inform the practice of organizational consultancy with ‘the insights and methods of psychoanalytic and group relations, but with its own distinctive integrity as a field of observation.’ This is the leading edge of a long established Tavistock commitment to pioneering the theory and practice of working with groups and institutions.
In his Foreward, Anton Obholzer, former Chief Executive of the Tavistock, states that through his work at the Grubb Institute, and with Tavistock Consultancy Service, Armstrong has inspired a generation of young entrants into the field of organizational consultancy. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of underlying emotional factors in the life of organizations. These emotional dimensions of institutional functioning are now recognized to be a key factor in the life, and death for that matter, of organizations. Unlike many present day gurus, Armstrong's writing is never prescriptive.
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