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Psychoanalytic Business Coaching

Psychoanalytical coaching – for sustainable change in the company

Agility, flexibility and willingness to change characterize a good manager in postmodern companies. But how do sustainable changes succeed?

The question of personal flexibility

Changes are a complex and often difficult matter in all areas of life and those who initiate changes, experience how processes can come to a standstill. The challenges of global and regional companies are enormous – new team dynamics with flat hierarchies, structural changes due to digitalization and the increasing use of social media require a high degree of flexibility of all employees.

So far, this is nothing new. Same with flexibility, which poses one of the greatest challenges for most managers. It is no surprise that concepts of agile leadership have recently gained enormous popularity in organizational theory and management practice. Change processes of all kind motivate entrepreneurs to seek support in coaching.

In search of efficient answers in coaching

There seem to be many answers to the question of more flexibility and advice on successful changes. Most companies are under enormous pressure and so it is not surprising that approaches that promise to be efficient have been dominating the coaching market for quite some time. Systemic and behavior-oriented coaching adapt to the conditions of the market, they provide coachees with tools. Both approaches are well operationalizable in the sense of evidence-based research, which means that changes and progress can be measured.
Psychoanalysis also knows the answers to the question of the success of change. But the glory of old times, in which it held a superior role as the science of the psyche, seemed to has faded a long time ago. Psychoanalysis seemed to have fallen into a kind of “sleeping-beauty-sleep”. For a long time, there were only very few studies on effectiveness, and psychoanalysts, therapists and coaches had controversial discussions. Could and should psychoanalytic methods and approaches be measured at all? How could psychoanalysis survive in today’s world in which growth, evidence-based research and rapid success are central parameters of research?

The Resurrection of Psychoanalysis

Questions such as these have challenged the field of psychoanalysis and, more recently, there has been an increasing number of studies demonstrating the efficacy of psychodynamic therapies. They showed that psychoanalysis was not only as effective as behavioural approaches, but also that these changes were much more sustainable and long-lastig.
The framework of psychoanalysis was also shaken – and it became clear that it does not always have to be the overall psychoanalysis package. For more compact and focused psychodynamic approaches, concepts such as free association, interpretation (German: “Deutung”) or the concept of unconscious conflicts were taken from the pool of psychoanalysis. And it worked. “Repeating”, “remembering” and “working through” in psychoanalysis is still the method of choice for profound structural personality changes. But it is possible to make relevant changes without years of treatment lying on the couch. It seems to be the analysts’ deep understanding, their knowledge of the unconscious and of inner psychic resistances, that accompanies and makes it possible to integrate change.

“Psychoanalysis is too valuable to be reserved for the sick alone”.

What Freud understood a long time ago becomes socially acceptable again: Psychoanalysis is, and has always been, more than a therapy for mental disorders. It is the science of the unconscious. In the USA, psychoanalytical approaches have been used successfully in coaching for quite some time. But here, too, entrepreneurs are increasingly beginning to understand the relevance of sustainable change. Understanding the world psychodynamically makes it possible, even in a smaller format, to better understand the world around us, to solve conflicts and to understand dynamics in oneself, in relationships, in teams, in institutions or in companies. And those who understand more can react more flexibly, expand their room for action and adapt their leadership style to the respective situation. The value-free attitude of psychoanalysis allows an interested attitude in change processes and thereby also integration of difficulties. Surely such an approach requires more patience than a tool-oriented approach. But it is an opportunity for every company in challenging times.


More to “The Unconscious”