What do we mean when we say “Community Psychoanalysis”? Joy Kassett, the co-chair of the WBCP Community Psychoanalysis study group, wrote out these principles to get the conversation started.
1. Meet Everyone Where They Are
This tenet may be the most important principle in community work. The idea that we should accept people’s realities, no matter what they are feeling or how they are reacting is central to community consultation. “
2. Working Alliances
Developing a working alliance takes time and can only be built if the analyst/therapist engages mutually in the work, recognizing that, first and foremost, the expertise lies with the professionals working within the community setting.
Central importance is placed on the relationship between analyst/therapist and the individuals and groups in the community organization as well as relationships within the community setting itself.
4. Facilitating Environment
Community work requires a safe space, and a sense of trust, whereby both analyst/therapist and community staff can engage in open communication so mutual growth can take place for the analyst/therapist and the individuals and groups with whom they are working.
5. Therapeutic Frame
Finding a frame for the community work, provides holding and containment; the frame in a community setting is different from the frame in a private practice setting.
6. Analytic Listening and Understanding
Analytic listening and understanding includes the analyst’s/therapist’s interest and curiosity about both the internal “mind” of an organization and its members as well as environmental and cultural and racial factors influencing and impacting the individuals and groups within any community setting.
7. Reflective Practice
Reflective practice includes fostering the understanding that what we all do and what we say has meaning and that what others do and say has meaning as well; that is, “Behavior Has Meaning.”
8. Close Observation
Close observation embraces and appreciates a “stop, look, listen and reflect” approach.
9. Working Through
The process of working through is always evolving and takes time. Working through requires understanding of and respect for the role of the unconscious, defenses and resistances, the repetition compulsion, transference and countertransference, to name a few.
10. Group Process
A process-oriented approach focuses on working with individuals and groups in community settings. Working with groups increases the exponential value of what can be offered and what can be learned and provides a “sense of agency, mastery and sustainability” within community programs, agencies, and organizations. A good outcome of any community involvement involves a focus on process first.
To see how these work in action, read “NAME”