ISPSO Admin


Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Philip Boxer 4 Apr 2013, 22:47

Martin, I agree that it is useful to have a place where threads are consolidated… I have set up a blog space where you can do this by creating a page and pasting in the material as you like. Let me know how it works for you – we are all still learning how to use this environment!

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 5 Apr 2013, 13:26

Thanks Phillip,
The blog is now up and running. I guess the next step is to send out a message on the list server and on the Linkedin forum to let members know about this forum and about the blog.
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Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin RingerMartin Ringer 13 Apr 2013, 11:23

A quick reflection on this forum as a thinking space. It’s been open for more than a week without any further posts. Whilst this does not mean that there has been no thinking associated with or stimulated by this site, if there has, it’s not visible.
My hypothesis is that most members don’t know about this forum, so I’ll send out a post on the list server now.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Angela Eden 14 Apr 2013, 14:48

I think the paucity of response is the reluctance to go to another portal . It took me 15 mins to find my way in , and I am moderately tech-happy . It takes time to scan all my virtual networks and the ‘ magnet ‘ needs to be very strong .
Let’s wait and see , it’s all good data .A

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 17 Apr 2013, 05:36

Angela and Martin,

For me it was not reluctance so much as I had trouble getting on this portal (thank you to David Patman for helping me gain access) and I had trouble finding the time to do so. Now with the time that has past since Martin first introduced the idea of this discussion, I find my motivation has lessened and other things have filled up my free time. Life sort of moves on. However, the magnet of this topic did bring me back and help me to persist with gaining access.

I had an interesting & frustrating experience yesterday that for me relates to this topic. I was involved in a phone conference call with several people. An agenda was pre-set and the call started. Right way the company president took over the “air time” and filled it with his ideas while ignoring the agenda. This conference call became an interesting example (for me) of how a thinking space was not created. It was interesting to me that by part way through the call I lost motivation for the conference call and lost motivation to even try and create a thinking space (or at least my idea of what that is). After the call was over I realized how the lack of a mutual thinking space was demoralizing to me and I wondered about the impact it had on others. I had a chance to speak with one of the other participants and I learned it did not bother them. They seemed content to just have the president take over the meeting.

This then lead me to wondering about why thinking spaces are important to me and how important they are or are not for other people I work with. That is far as I got on this, for now.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 17 Apr 2013, 11:02

Gilbert, a couple of responses:

I also experienced two disincentives to this forum; firstly that it feels ‘hidden away’ from the main ISPSO membership and secondly the initial challenge of getting connected. Philip Boxer was my guardian angel.

However, the semi-private nature of the forum now feels like an advantage because I’d not post a ‘chatty’ response like this to the main list server. This forum feels like a place where we can sit in easy chairs and have a quiet chat while lots is going on around us.

In relation to your colleagues, I’m wondering what their expectations are in relation to thinking spaces. I untuit from what you say that they are resigned to a situation where their participation as innovators or contributors is very diminished.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 17 Apr 2013, 12:03

As for my colleagues, I am pretty sure my use of the term “thinking space” with them was the first time they heard it. Hopefully, it is a term that sticks in their minds and generates some reflective wondering about what it might mean for them.

Based on my experience, their expectations (if this is not just my projection) do seem to be of a diminished nature. I certainly felt that mood take over me during yesterday’s experience, which was my first time within that setting.

On different note, I was noticed a small number of emails over the weekend that were expressing, I think, a form of “after the fact” protest about this forum being created. I wondered about that “after the fact” protesting.

I am not speaking about the content of their concerns. In fact, I agreed with many of the points shared.

I was more struck by the “after the fact” timing. It reminded me of the ERM and the election e-dialogue exchanges. There seemed to be a similar type of “after the fact” protesting going on in those exchanges as well.

In my sense of things, I got the impression that some of the messages had a mood of “what the (insert exclamation)” behind the clear-headed rationale and elegant writing. This left me wondering about what is really not being shared/expressed, if anything. I wondered if those writers had been more emotionally expressive and maybe even less polite would a different e-dialogue have take place.

Another way for me to say this is I personally felt an energetic/emotional response to some of the emails yet feared responding to them at that level in case things got out of hand. Thus, I withheld engaging in parts of the dialogue. When I watched those dialogues quickly wind down I wondered if that was part of the quick end to them – in other words, had we missed opportunities for having a meaningful enough dialogue. Was there a lack of thinking space made available for potentially getting to more of the underlying issues or did we get to them and have a natural closure?
I wonder if you are Angela having any thoughts on this?

Those are my thoughts for this evening. Now I need to do a little exercise and then wrap up my day. Cheers.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
David Patman 18 Apr 2013, 10:30

It does take work to access this forum – both in terms of navigating the technical challenges and keeping its existence in mind. But, as long as it’s not beyond the capacity of those who want to participate, I prefer it to listserv discussions. I find at least 80% of listserv emails I receive to be of no interest or relevance to me. At least this way you get to choose whether you want to be a party to a discussion, and have some confidence that others who are here will be interested in the topic. So I’m very glad to that Martin has taken the initiative and persisted with the technology to establish this forum.

Having said that, though, I’m curious about what kind of ‘thinking’ can be done here. It seems more difficult to make the kind of associative links that characterise ‘right brain’ thinking, for example. This is perhaps due to the hierarchically-structured format of the forum, the time lag between posts, and of course the fact that we’re working with text rather than speech. It feels like a more linear, mechanical form of communication. Still, the poets made it work…

electric poesy to speak?
it’s as easy
as falling
off a
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Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenryGilHenry 18 Apr 2013, 12:31

Your entry got me reflecting on what my strategy is: how I engage in the dialogue.

In general, I think I have slightly different approaches / outcomes depending on my emotional need and state of mind at the time.

One thing that does seem consistent is that as I read the text I imagine or try to find where I am located within it. Maybe it would be clearer to say, as I read the text I try to observe how I resonate with it and what understanding than arises for me.

Sometimes I respond from a thinking mind place and at other times a feeling intuitive place. Ultimately, I try (hope) to experience something fresh that I have come to understand.

For me (if I do not have my head up you know where) it seems this allows me to be less linear even if the text is presented in a linear manner. The trick then is how to link what my response is to the current dialogue so it makes some sense to others. I am not so good with this last piece and find I delete as much or more then I actually share. However, at my end, I have usually reached some sort of new or fresh understanding.
I hope this makes some sense.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
David Patman 19 Apr 2013, 12:10

This does make sense. I also enjoy more unedited, associative, image-based, musical forms of communication – thoughts that don’t necessarily make sense, but do strike a chord. I wonder whether that kind of thinking is possible here?

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 19 Apr 2013, 12:31

I’m curious about how our mental representations of a ‘thinking space’ like this forum influence what we think, feel and disclose. And I don’t find words linear. Some of my favourite books are ones where I can be reading along happily and then catch myself realising that I’ve not been seeing the words for a while – I’ve been off in a reverie that was triggered by something further back in the text. So I approach this forum as a source of triggers for associations; a place into which we place our musings, somewhat like tossing a pebble into a pond. The ripples touch different people in different ways. It may not be important that each posting follows logically from previous postings because associative processes are not logical. But over time we might see patterns forming into streams and hence some coherence emerge. I don’t know.

Claudio neri writes about associative chains…

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 19 Apr 2013, 12:54


I like what your asking about. I wonder if this is something we can experiment within this setting. I am reminded of a book I read some time ago that was both fascinating and totally confusing at the same time. It had very strong messages within the text yet did not make sense in any normal way.

What I personally like about the type of communication I think you are referring is it catches me off guard and seems to stop my mind, which is a nice change of pace. Plus, the sudden halting in my usual “mind chatter” tends to allow for a different perspective / different thinking to surface.

Because it is,
For what or why is happiness then,
Do I return from here,
I am but not bothered to be,
Have fun.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 20 Apr 2013, 04:48


One thing I would add to you last post is a personal desire to learn more about “thinking spaces” – to learn what other understand these to be and how they foster them and to become clearer about my own understanding.

Martin, you seem to be well versed on this topic and I have appreciated your input as I find it helps me clarify and understand my own thinking.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
David Patman 21 Apr 2013, 21:52

Certainly words have their place (particularly when used in a poetic form), but I find images tend to stimulate thinking and feeling at a more visceral level, and capture an emotional experience in a more immediate way., e.g. these from the last few days remind me how terror, through the associated media coverage, can literally invade our homes.
tumblr_mlitakIWrw1qznvi3o2_r1_1280.jpg tumblr_mlitakIWrw1qznvi3o1_1280.jpg

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 21 Apr 2013, 23:22


Yikes – not even sure how to respond to this. Although my opening “yikes’ probably says it all. As you mentioned a visceral response.


Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 30 Apr 2013, 11:02


I often struggle with insomnia and the other night was one of those nights. As I lay awake listening to a middle of the night talk show, I listened to a program that was reviewing the experience of residents who had these armed men (referring to your two pictures) coming through their neighbourhoods and homes. It was an interesting mix of stories. In general news articles that were shared during the radio program expressed a sense of people feeling stressed and violated by having armed personnel invading their space. However, individual persons interviewed shared a different stories – ones of being grateful and welcoming the presence of these armed protectors.


Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
David Patman 13 May 2013, 21:56

Many ambiguities which often get lost in the media coverage.

It felt strange to many of us in Australia seeing the cheers of Boston residents as the second suspect was captured, as though this was some kind of ‘victory’. Of course it was understandable as a response to the fact that the fear was over, but for us it seemed to echo a simplistic group mentality of ‘good guys versus the bad guys’ (BaF I s’pose Bion would call it). In some ways it’s that mentality which feels more violent and frightening than the terrorist bombs.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 28 Apr 2013, 05:28

This space has been quiet this past week. I wonder if something has occurred that prompted a lack of interest and / if other life pre-ocupations have crowded out the time for this space.

I get the sense there is not much interest from many within the ISPSO membership to stray off the listserve for dialogues. Maybe we need to move this back onto the listserve? I am not advocating this – just raising it as an question as I wonder about how to have more participation from others on this topic. Originally, during a dialogue back in March I got the impression that others (i.e., more then us 4) were interested in this topic.


Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 30 Apr 2013, 10:55

I am currently doing some work for a virtually based company that has staff spread across North America – mostly engineers and technicians. It is not my role to develop a thinking space for them. However, that thought is on my mind. I am noticing how “siloed” they are in their thinking. And, there seems to be a tremendous amount of projection happening as each person seems to believe that he/she is the better person with the better ideas, etc., while the others seem to represent their “bad” parts – less trustworthy, less competent, the ones to blame for things not going right, etc.

I then got to wondering if this same sort of dynamic(s) is at play within the ISPSO on-line dialogues.

Not looking for any solution – just sharing a few thoughts as I ponder them.


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
Martin Ringer 30 Apr 2013, 11:50

Some responses to Gil’s recent posts:

About the relative quietness or low level of activity on this site; I’m not concerned because in my view this forum is a long-haul project that anyone can post to over a period of years. If that is the case I would expect there to be periods of silence and periods of intense activity – depending on the stimuli that are around. My own observation of productive thinking spaces is that they are characterised by an irregular movement between periods of relative stillness and periods of busyness. It may be that the stillness provides time for associative processes (i.e. ‘processing’) to occur at an unconscious level and/or at an individual level.

On cyber-collaboration: From memory there’s some good stuff in the ISPSO library on that. I’m wondering too if the mental representation of a group in cyberspace amplify the projective tendencies/valences of each participant. i.e. those who have paranoid tendencies project paranoia more into cybergroups than do they into face-to-face groups; those with narcissitic tendencies have an exaggerated sense of the cybergroup as an adoring crowd…? But then what about those with ‘secure attachment patterns’ ? (That’s a great mixing of psychological models! )

Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 1 May 2013, 01:21


After reading your response, I find myself wondering about the impact that projection / projective identification has on the creation of thinking spaces. Do you are the others know if this has ever been examined and if so where I might find such articles/information?


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
Philip Boxer 1 May 2013, 03:11

I’d be interested in your take on this chapter I wrote on the ‘Twitter Revolution’. It is about the heretical nature of the affective networks that social media make it so easy to establish… my thought is that it is possible to make sense of some of this shared thinking in terms of Freud’s third identification.

The dynamic that interests me in this regard is the dynamic of ‘expulsion’ – how ‘the other’ responds to thinking that feels indigestible from within their frame of reference – which can just as easily work the other way! My own experience of working in cross-disciplinary ways is that it is my prejudices about what I can ‘eat’ that can get in the way of discovering new ways of thinking…

My hope is that while a thought might first be provoked by a listserve interaction, this space might be better suited to a dialogue that can incubate a thought along the lines Martin is suggesting. But as an organization we are at the very beginning of learning how we might use these different platforms!

Here is a link to that paper.


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 2 May 2013, 01:19


I will be happy to read this and to share my thoughts – I am rather busy the next 3 days so it may be the weekend before I have a chance to do so.

In the mean time, maybe others have some thoughts to share as well.


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 7 May 2013, 13:45


Just an FYI – I have still not had the free time and will not have the free time to read and respond to your article until after this coming weekend. I have unexpectedly got overloaded with work.


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 11 May 2013, 09:06


I finally read your paper. This an impressive bit of thinking and writing, and beyond my knowledge & level of experience. I feel intimated about sharing a response. I will need to sit with this for a few days to see what “percolates” up for me.

In the mean time, your comment about “working in cross-disciplinary ways is that it is my prejudices about what I can ‘eat’ that can get in the way of discovering new ways of thinking…” was something I resonated with – I am struggling with this acutely lately as I adapt to a new work environment and ways of doing & thinking about daily business operations. And, as I read your paper I noticed a similar struggle as I am not a big fan of twitter. My limited experience with twitter left me with conclusion that it is mostly a marketing tool and an on-line environment that promotes a type of manic pseudo socializing between participants.

I will see what I can share after sitting with your written thoughts for a few days.

Again, great job on the paper.


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
David Patman 13 May 2013, 21:49

Ah yes, sorry I dropped off this map. Have been tending to my other social networks (Facebook, tumblr, etc) and also ‘physics life’ matters, as they say in Second Life. This forum has been out of my conscious mind – maybe I need to set up a reminder so I’m alerted when there’s a new post. But I also like the surprise of dipping in to see what’s been happening.

Still not quite sure what a ‘thinking space’ is, or what the spatial metaphor implies – what if thoughts are forces, or networks, or edges, or waves, or dreams. If some of these latter, how to ‘communicate’ them in an electronic medium? My personal view is that the instantaneous nature electronic media – no lag – makes them potentially a good vehicle for associative thinking. But how?

The speed of light
affords new insight
as we grope our way
though the dreaming night
Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 14 May 2013, 06:19

Was listening to a radio talk show last night – focused on a new book titled Present Shock – see: http://www.rushkoff.com
Interesting perspective on social networks like twitter, etc.

Just sharing above – not trying to promote this chap or his book.
Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 14 May 2013, 12:55

Philip and David,

I have been pondering how / or if technology has become a mere reflection of our minds and how in turn our minds become a reflection of the technology we create and use. And, if it is a mere reflection of our minds are we simply re-creating ourselves or are we also able to create thinking spaces that help expand us?


Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
David Patman 14 May 2013, 14:00

“The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained – ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other”. So said Marshall McLuhan in 1967.

The shock is still present, and we’re still finding ways to cope 50 years on. I think this is where psychoanalytic thinking could be really valuable.

Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
Martin Ringer 14 May 2013, 22:45

Hi all,

Lots of stimulus since I last wrote!

Firstly, thanks Philip for the great paper. I’m still working my way through it but it’s fascinating.

Then, Gil, in response to your question about references on projective identification and thinking spaces…

It’s difficult to find literature relating to thinking spaces per se because it’s not a term that has gained much currency. I don’t know if I coined the term or whether I picked it up from somewhere else, but I started using it about 15 years ago. My stimulus for the term was a combination of Robert Young’s ‘Mental space’ (book) and Robert Hinshelwood’s use of the term ‘reflective space’. I was also influenced by Didier Anzieu’s work on ‘A skin for thought’. Subsequently Claudio Neri has written on “group thought” in his book “Group”.

I know that Nitsun’s work “The anti-group” had an impact on my ideas on thinking spaces and it does have a good section on projective identification. Then there’s what seems to me to be an all-time classic which is Ashbach and Schermer’s “Object relations, the self and the group”. I can’t pinpoint any one part that relates the most to thinking spaces but the book is so erudite that the whole thing somehow contributes.

So, in terms of references here are some works that, whilst not all of them overtly relate to projective identification, they contain significant concepts that contribute to ideas on ‘thinking spaces’.
Ch4 in “Ring of Fire” i.e. Attacks on the reflective space – Hinshelwood
Ch5 in “Ring of Fire” i.e. Bion’s post-Experiences in groups thinking on groups: A clinical example of -k by John Gordon
These two chapters introduce key concepts such as linking, container/contained, and ‘k’.

Robert Young’s “Mental Space”
Claudio Neri’s “Group”
Anzieu’s “A skin for thought” and “Psychic envelopes”.

Formal references are:
Anzieu (1999). “The group ego-skin.” Group Analysis 32(3): 319-329.
Anzieu, D., Ed. (1990). Psychic envelopes. London, Karnak Books.
Anzieu, D. (1990). A skin for thought: Interviews with Gilbert Tarrab on psychology and psychoanalysis. London, Karnac Books.
Ashbach, C. and V. L. Schermer (1987). Object relations, the self, and the group. London, Routledge.
Neri, C. (1998). Group. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Nitsun, M. (1996). The anti-group: Destructive forces in the group and their creative potential. London, Routledge.
Schermer, V. L. and M. Pines, Eds. (1994). Ring of fire; primitive affects and object relations in group psychotherapy. International library of group psychotherapy and group process. London, Routledge.
Young, R. M. (1994). Mental space. London, Process Press.

But I think I’m crowding the thinking space!

Re: Creating Thinking Spaces in a Virtual Workplace
GilHenry 15 May 2013, 03:44

Dear Martin,

Thank you for taking the time to share these references. Much appreciated.

I am going to have to give Philip’s paper a third read through as I found it very rich in ideas & information. A lot to comprehend at one time.


Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 14 Jun 2013, 05:43

I was struck by Manuel’s post to the list server today. In particular:

“Thats made me think that the problem is not what we say or what we need to say, is how we say, and on this point coming to your dream the problem is not what is going to be say, maybe at Oxford, maybe on the list serve, maybe in other ISPSO spaces, is how we going to say and how we going to manage what is going to be said.
We can give the responsibility to someone to moderate, but I thought we are all responsible on how we say things, on how we moderate ourselves. We are all responsible of the containment of the spaces. We can get rules, policies and so on, but that mean that we are responsible?”

Most of my work with corporations is not overtly psychoanalytic so I struggle to translate the concepts and language – hence regularly using the spatial metaphor of ‘thinking space’. And I think Manuel’s description above captures what seem to me to be two key elements of the co-creation of thinking spaces. They are:
1) the capacity to manage self so that one’s disappointment, anger, frustration (and hostile projections in general) are modulated (via alpha functioning?) so that the resulting communication is ‘digestible’ by recipients.
2) shared understanding and consequent action that acknowledges that building, maintaining and using thinking spaces is a responsibility that is equally shared between all group members. This contrasts with the notion that a facilitator or moderator will provide all of the containing function.

The joy for me of being involved in ISPSO conversations is that we are passionate, opinionated and at times strident, so I’d not like to see the waters becoming too smooth, but my experience is that the ideas expressed by Manuel can lead to more constructive debates.
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The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Monica Velarde LMonica Velarde L 27 Jun 2013, 04:11

I am new in ISPSO, only today I am discovering the inner part of this website. I found important the time you expend clarifying ISPSO online boundaries. I wondered as well, if this could be a way in which to start exploring other things that are going on in our world. Brazil had popped up the past weekend in a social revolution. This case shares some aspects with social movements in Turquia , Chile, and Tunez, this would be social media.

What I want to do?

I want to get some understanding on how to learn about social media as a space to develop a tool of HOPE in the Amazons. I want to develop a space to offer healthy hope confronting illusions with obtainable desires in order to develop, often repair the capacity of trust in vulnerable populations. So if this topic is of people interest for a thinking space let me know if this is an okay territory.

Why could this be of your interest?

While I will engage with a particular agenda, I think the collective reflection is of value to all. I think the timeline of social movements that are organised and led through social media are an important sign of the changes on social fabric of our world. One that leads to political reforms but the way in which they are being manage seems at times uncontainable and imply a high cost, including those of human life’s.

Harvard Business Review published early on this year that the first cause of risk for humanity is not longer a nuclear war or a plague but technology. We have created an artefact that we do not completely understand, one that is constantly changing the social fabrics of our world. It develops so quick that it is really hard to catch up.

These events started generally with small “accidents, happenings or events” that grow with incredible speed and beyond expected dimensions. In Tunez it was a persons experience of authorities abuse over his informal fruit’s car business which resulted on such impotence and lack of hope, that result in a suicide key moment that kicked off the arab spring; in Chile it was connected with the costs of university education, in Turquia the close of a public park , in several other countries we had last year the Occupy movement, UK riolts?, I am not sure I understand what went on in Sweden?, in Brazil was/is linked to the public service insatisfaction.

Some people are relating this process to Samuel Huntington work around political order in changing societies. They say that the fast economic grow and the emergence of a middle class triggers insatisfaction and the incapacity to full fill public service demands. UK riolts and Sweden wouldn’t match the exact same category exactly but they are societies changing due to increase immigration in UK the financial crisis.

All this apparently specific protests have behind some meaning around confronting corruption, social differences, high cost of life, property dilemas, and sometimes unfair authorities that seemed somehow disconnected from the general population. They build up resources on informal capital. The protests seem leaderless, they find a voice in the mass. Governments react late, and when they struggle to contain they move to control strategies that oscillate from weak to extreme with no apparent middle point.

The leadership structures of these social movements are completely different as they arouse from social media and SMS (text messages) in rather collective ways. The identification of accountability, and its understanding is quiet complex and governments seem to be caught on them by surprise in what I think is a new expression of turbulent environments in Emery sense. At least in the Arab Spring case it seems that the movement was started by people that knew each other from more conventional ways and profit of those interactions to put to work their social media strategy (Pentland, S MIT)

Early processes of this nature lead to a taste of freedom by taking down dictatorships, present ones seem of a different nature but are changing the political contexts around them, only yesterday they impacted Turkey EU membership conversations and in Brazil they are leading to a different conversation on political reforms. Only in Brazil they have already cost around 4 life losses…

These movements seems generally to lead to governmental reforms but could they be better contained? Could it sparkle the value of the reflective citizenship without the violence in which it generally find its voice of expression?

For me this value is one of the reasons I engaged with systems psychodynamics at the first place and one of the values of my professional practice in Peru. But somehow the way in which they are finding expression brings that value at an extreme high cost.

Since I joined I have seen you/us struggling with our linkedin boundaries. I also saw how Larry Hirschhorn tapped into the social media component of the Boston marathon attacks, but we didnt went so far in exploring with him. I know I made a big association to his post, but I never posted it. Why? I think to an important degree I didn’t want my reflections on that field to be part of my digital print, not in Linkedin, and not in Peru.

I think your search of online boundaries in our behalf is as important as our need to put our skills to try to understand this kind of technology and the dynamics they trigger.

Babies now are growing up with an iPad or android tablet in the same way that I grew with baby rattles, imagine their speed, their future ways to relate to information, learning and change?

I think you/we have been discussing what is inn and what is out different territories of ISPSO online world. Perhaps one scary reality is that anything online seems to confront us deep with high exposure and makes as vulnerable and dependent. Even if we define a boundary the level of dependency and trust behind it, is huge. Our online world crosses a bunch of online countries as wikidot, linkedin, twitter and I dont know what else. There is an ancient chinese proverbe that says when you drink water think about its source, what is the source?…

Cyberspace is a thing, it is there but we can’t touch it, it can be a resource but also weapon. For some of us three important things around containment are time, task and territory. Time and territory takes a complete different shape in cyberworld.

So how do we reconsider our own conceptions of containment in a space that is so different and that weaves a different social fabric? Borders and boundaries are just different online. I believe while working online, containment is a collective function, one that demands shared accountability. I also believe that we could offer some reflection on this matter.

Why this is of my interest?

I have been thinking about all this stuff, if people wants to think with me it will be appreciated. I work a lot with the Amazons dynamics. Cyberspace is both a resource and a weapon in the Amazon. I deliver group relations theory and role analysis through facebook, others are delivering conspiracy theory to indigenous people through the same facebook.

Luckily they are now at a stage in which they are able to work and discern about it. But they are vulnerable populations, my country is in a growing speed of change, with questionable authorities, issues around property and land, a history of terrorism that finds its way into the present by profiting on collective denial and lack of memory in the youth.

I want to do this because we are in a big leap of growth and I think it will be good to expend time thinking on these phenomena in case we are confronted to it on our changing society. If any of you find a reason to join me, please do.


Here I ask some help. I joined a month ago and wished I had a map of territories. But I think we are building the map and the process of doing so its important learning material. So as a learner please let me know if this is a “good enough territory” for my invitation. Otherwise let me know were to immigrate. I still need to understand your wikidot world! I must say it seems to have interesting potential. Thanks Monica Velarde
Last edited on 30 Jul 2013, 08:37 by Monica Velarde L Show more
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Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Monica Velarde LMonica Velarde L 28 Jun 2013, 14:09

is this group still alive?

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Philip Boxer 28 Jun 2013, 20:42

What happened to your post?
I think it raises very important issues. But before responding to those, let me just say that we are all still learning how to use these different spaces (Listserve, LinkedIn, website etc), each one of which has its own participants and tempo of interaction. I for one am needing to be patient with myself about what that learning is and how it needs to emerge!
I picked out the following from your posting:
“Perhaps one scary reality is that anything online seems to confront us deep with high exposure and makes as vulnerable and dependent. Even if we define a boundary the level of dependency and trust behind it, is huge…. for some of us three important things around containment are time, task and territory. Time and territory takes a complete different shape in cyberworld… so how do we reconsider our own conceptions of containment in a space that is so different and that weaves a different social fabric?”
I think you are right on about the boundary issue. The definition of a workgroup in terms of time, task and territory depends, or course, on being able to buy into an agreed definition of primary task. And as primary task has become increasingly situational, so it has become increasingly impossible to make a direct link between boundary-as-containing and containing-as-returning-meaning. So I totally agree with you that we must reconsider our conceptions of containment and therefore of the object of psychoanalytic study…
Of course there is much more to be said about this, so thank you for your post, and thank you too to Martin for his initiating this space.

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 29 Jun 2013, 02:15

So many things to respond to…

Monica, in terms of content I found your message interesting and rich and long. The fact that I found the posting to be long concerned me because that confronted me with the fact that I have a set of expectations about this particular medium that is very different from say, reading a published paper.

And in terms of timing, many of us have an expectation of relatively short response times, so your question Monica “Is this group still alive” seems completely justified in this context. Yet whilst setting up the stream in this forum that specifically deals with ‘thinking spaces’ I had an unconscious expectation that the conversation could go on for years. In which case a ‘silence’ of a week or two every now and then could reasonably be expected. It’s possible that not many others would have the same expectation of a long-term slow conversation.

And then there’s the ‘group-in-the mind’ that each of us carries. One metaphor that comes to mind is that this forum is like a quiet pond and from time to time someone throws in a pebble that sends ripples across the pond. Others around the edge are touched by these ripples and they too may throw in a pebble – or a stone – or more.
So rather than the forum picking up on and responding specifically to conceptual threads, we may contribute more from the reverie and associations that result from the ‘ripples.’

So already in this posting there are at least three pebbles…

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 29 Jun 2013, 20:33

I liked Martin’s comment about “Others around the edge are touched by these ripples and they too may throw in a pebble – or a stone – or more. So rather than the forum picking up on and responding specifically to conceptual threads, we may contribute more from the reverie and associations that result from the ‘ripples.’ ”

I have kept a watchful eye on this forum – checking it most mornings as part of a regular routine and have on occasion re-read sections of it. Currently, I am on a short holiday break, my first in five years. As such, I will limit my sharing to saying the ripples of all the above are alive and meaningful for me.

Now I am going to jump into a lake of rather cold water for a morning swim. Cheers!

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
LMonica Velarde L 30 Jul 2013, 08:38


Following our conversation in Oxford, I have posted back my invite in this forum.
c u
Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 30 Jul 2013, 11:17

Dear Monica,
Last edited on 12 Aug 2013, 07:48 by GilHenry Show more
Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Monica Velarde LMonica Velarde L 31 Aug 2013, 12:33

hi gil henry, It seems that you were writing something but there is only a dear monica in the message. were you wanting to share something?

Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
GilHenry 31 Aug 2013, 13:26

Hi Monica,

Yes, I had written a response to your post-conference repeated invite. I had written a response and then went back to edit a few thoughts and unintentionally deleted everything. I felt fed up and did not attempt to rewrite the the content.

In short, I had made an attempt to connect with your invitation and after I thought about what I wrote I concluded it was a failed attempt, which is why I attempted to make a few editorial changes.

I see you have now written to the fuller ISPSO community with a request for assistance and I wish you good luck getting the help you need.


Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 8 Dec 2013, 21:00

I’ve been struck by the relative quietness on the ‘electronic front’ in ISPSO and, despite the fact that I’ve had lots of thoughts over the past months about thinking spaces in the ISPSO, I’ve not posted anything either. I’m wondering if we’re involved in a productive and thoughtful silence or if the topic of how we think together has been adequately addressed for now.

Though it does seem that thinking spaces have cycles, with times of high activity and times of ‘sleep’.

But I thought that the members’ day debate at Oxford stimulated some great thinking about how we think together, communicate and collaborate and I now kick myself for not having taken notes. Does anyone have notes that they’d be willing to share?

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Re: The quality of thinking spaces in ISPSO
Martin Ringer 20 Jan 2015, 18:21

I’m struck by the richness, diversity and challenges encapsulated in the discussion on the list-server over the last month or so, as triggered by the shootings in Paris. Rather than add to the complexity of lines of thought on the list server I’ll think aloud here about how I perceive we’ve been thinking together. This might also address some of the wishes for more theory.

I’ve experienced the discussion as a sort of wave-form in terms of the quality of the ‘group-in-the-mind’ as a container for my thinking. Some postings seem to contain mostly statements that place the ‘bad’ elements ‘out there’ and the author says little about his or her own need for comfort, processing etc. My guess is that these postings are the result of the author needing containment from the group. The more aggressive statements seem to evoke strong feelings and sometimes – understandably – aggressive and defensive responses. These cycles of exchanges seem to test our collective capacity to provide a good-enough container ourselves.
That container seems to me to be strengthened by postings where the author ‘owns’ his or her own tendency to P/S states and/or owned their grief, frustration, confusion or wish to leave ISPSO or the discussion. (Jean Cooper’s 19 Jan posting stood out for me, but others had similar tendencies).

In terms of theory, Manuel’s reference to Anzieu’s notion of ‘skin for thought’ seems appropriate. Anzieu has a book on the topic.

One hypothesis about how we maintain a good-enough thinking space on the list server is that various individuals are mobilised at times to test our capacity for containment with highly charged and sometimes aggressive or attacking statements with relatively low elements of self-reflection. Then others are mobilised to send messages that help to repair the ‘damage’ to the container with self-reflective and/or soothing statements. My own experience has been that of fear when the container has been challenged and delight when it’s been repaired, but that says as much about my personal preferences as it does about the quality of the thinking space.

However, a pattern has started to appear where some others are expressing appreciation that despite the evocative nature of the material we’re dealing with, we have been able to continue the conversation(s) without fragmenting the whole group. There may be a growing confidence amongst members that our container for thinking is robust and resilient enough to survive some quite severe testing.

A second theme that I’m curious about is how each of us conceptualises the purpose of this (and any other) discussion in the context of the ISPSO list server. Until now I’ve maintained that a shared purpose is an essential element of a sound thinking space but we seem to be functioning OK without that. Or is there enough of an implicit shared purpose to provide the necessary containment? Perhaps though Anzieu has something to offer: His notion of ‘group illusion’ as a cohering element in group life.

Thirdly, this discussion has clarified my thinking about the complexity of group-level conversations. Each posting contains perhaps two, three or more main concepts. If each subsequent posting addressed all of the concepts in the prior posting and added a couple of new ideas related to each in the original posting then we’d have an exponential growth in the number of concepts being addressed in this exchange. This is impossible so inevitably many (important) concepts/threads get dropped, though probably remaining unprocessed in our psyches and the ‘kaleidoscope’ effect that Jeff Axelbank referred to.

On top of this is the implicit notion of ‘thread-following’ in conversations in that it is a norm to respond to what the previous ‘speaker’ has said. So we also develop anxiety when we do drop threads from previous posts. In theory we could drop this convention and adopt what Claudio Neri refers to as ‘associative chains’ where the nature of conversation is not one of ‘statement-response etc.’ but one where contributors allow themselves to follow their associations without the expectation that there will be a rational and logical response to previous contributions. This also follows in some ways the form of social dreaming.

If anyone has managed to wade their way though this posting, perhaps you could try posting your response in a more associative way – less constrained by the polite norms of conversation.

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