What does a psychodynamic advisor do

Review by Dr. Christopher Rauen

Beate West-Leuer & Claudia Sies (2003)

Coaching - A course book for psychodynamic counseling. Stuttgart: Pfeiffer at ...

For some counselors (and not just them), psychoanalysis and coaching seem to be opposites
- if only because of the presumed duration of psychoanalytic treatments. Beyond such prejudices, Dr. Beate West-Leuer and Dr. Claudia Sies (and the contributions of other psychoanalytic organizational consultants) that psychoanalytic models can also be used in coaching.
First of all, starting with the question of how the unconscious works in organizations, the relationship dynamics between employees and the effect of unconscious values ​​on the employees of an organization are examined. The approach to constructivism is interesting: "It is more about discovering visible and hidden patterns of perceptions, actions and ways of being and examining them for their usefulness in dealing with the work tasks and goals of an organization" (p. 29). The consultant does not remain an "abstinent" observer, but interacts in dialogue with the client. To understand unconscious mechanisms of action, it is not only language that serves, but also the consideration of symbols (e.g. the company building, logo, murals, clothing, gestures, facial expressions, furniture, brochures, etc.), dreams or transference and countertransference phenomena.
Fortunately, these considerations are illustrated in the book with numerous practical examples, which significantly improves the practical classification of the explanations. The description of the possible course of psychodynamic coaching provides important groundwork for this consulting approach. In a total of 14 chapters, not only the activities of the psychoanalytic coach, but also those of psychoanalytically oriented organizational consultants are presented and the specific approaches of the approach are illustrated in different scenarios.
Conclusion: The strength of the book is the description of psychoanalytic approaches in the counseling context - especially in the field of coaching, little of the corresponding books have been published so far. However, the work requires the reader to have prior psychological or psychoanalytic knowledge.