The Covid Trail: Psychodynamic Explorations

Editor : Halina Brunning, Editor : Olya Khaleelee

The Covid Trail: Psychodynamic Explorations

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : December 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 290
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Organisational Psychology
  • Catalogue No : 96978
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800131361
  • ISBN 10 : 9781800131

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The idea of The Covid Trail developed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using the language of psychoanalysis and system psychodynamic thinking, it seeks to find a way to think about and understand the post-pandemic world from an international perspective. Motivated by a desire to express what is hidden, dangerous, and difficult to express, this book takes us on a trail. It starts with disquiet, disorientation, and loss in Part I. Through attempts to make sense of it all, a clear, albeit meandering and dangerous, path to follow is created, which snakes throughout the book. Part II takes a closer look at despair and resilience and pairs them through balancing power with vulnerability. Part III delves into the realm of psychoanalysis, to seek solace, or at least a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of the pandemic, and examines how we have sown our own environmental destruction. The final part offers a glimpse into the post-Covidian world and the longer and deeper impact of Covid upon our bodies, relationships, constructs, and civilisation.

The volume ends on a trail of each chapter’s essence, taking the reader from shock, disorientation, and fear through mobilisation of resilience, a realisation of the enormity of the changes humanity faces, and an attempt to comprehend these processes as a guide to this permanent “new normal”. All those with a desire to understand the way the world has changed will want to explore The Covid Trail.

Reviews and Endorsements

As the end of Covid is in sight, we are eager to put it behind us. This book counteracts the, all too human, tendency to treat Covid, the trauma we are just emerging from, as a nightmare and we’ll wake to a new and better world. These two gifted editors, who have already published a book together, do not let us collude with this dangerous tendency and invite us to look with courage, honesty, and wisdom at what we have been through and what we can learn from it. In this sense, this is a much needed and timely book. We are invited to walk on a trail leading from the first shocking, chaotic stage of the pandemic through its various developmental phases, from the acute to the long-term effects, from the individual to the collective, from the local to the global, as well as from health, education, and societal effects to political developments. All along the trail they use the lenses of psychoanalytic and system psychodynamic thinking to understand better what was and what is yet to come. They bring together international authors who offer varied and multi-layered perspectives. The Covid Trail provides a unique psychic container both due to its perspective – combining psychoanalysis with system psychodynamics – as well as for its wide and rich scope.
Mira Erlich-Ginor, training and supervising analyst, Israel Psychoanalytic Society, and founding member and secretary, Partners in Confronting Collective Atrocities (PCCA).

Covid is a mirror, revealing hard truths about ourselves, and a portal to a new unknown social reality. These authors have produced an elegant, unflinching, and wide-ranging volume that takes us below the surface to reveal powerful dynamics underlying our efforts to address the effects of Covid. More importantly, the volume opens new terrain for understanding the challenges that shape how we ultimately cross that threshold. The many evocative vignettes provide a vivid and powerful illustration of the challenges so many are facing.
James Krantz, PhD, Worklab Consulting, New York City past President, International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations.

Careful: this book may be contagious – you will want to give it to all your friends and colleagues! It so elegantly collates diverse experiences of the pandemic along with powerfully insightful analysis of those experiences. Readers will find inspiration for associative thinking about Covid and other epidemics, about loss and community, fear and love. Policy-makers will find worked-through lessons for the future, and leaders of organisations and professions may feel that at last here are thinkers who appreciate the tremendously nuanced psychic forces they had to contend with. If you like your reflection heavy-duty but not heavy, rigorous but not rigid, sparkly but not florid – this is the book for you. I recommend wholeheartedly.
Jonathan Gosling, Emeritus Professor of Leadership, University of Exeter.

The Covid Trail is both disturbing and containing, as authors from around the globe explore the anxieties and anguish of the pandemic from multiple perspectives – individual, organisational, and societal – while opening up spaces to think about it in new ways. We went into it without a compass, and even now often grasp for certainties that inevitably eludes us. This rich, multi-dimensional and often lyrical collection is indeed a “trail” that can help us (re)orient ourselves as we continue to try to make sense of the experience and its legacy.
Dr Vega Zagier Roberts, consultant, co-editor of The Unconscious at Work, and member of OPUS.

This book offers a below-the-surface perspective on our experience of the pandemic, exposing much that continues to be hidden from consciousness because it is so difficult. [...] The [...] tightly woven text flows well, providing the reader with a containing, coherent trail. I highly recommend this book.
Jane Cooper, Therapy Today, 34:7, 2023.

Table of Contents

About the editors and contributors

Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee

1. Stepping into the unknown
Halina Brunning

2. Disorientation, loss, and mourning
Birgitte Bonnerup

3. What is social dreaming telling us about the new terrain?
Halina Brunning

4. Guide to the new terrain
Mario Perini

5. Despair and endurance: the experience of NHS staff during the Covid crisis
Barbara-Anne Wren

6. Multi-system failure of the body and the body politic
Richard Morgan-Jones

7. Power, fragility, and recovery
Winnie Fei and Zhang Jian Li

8. Vulnerability and resilience in a time of Covid
Tim Dartington

9. The virus as symbol for the fourth narcissistic blow to humankind
Claudia Nagel

10. Covid—an intrusion of the real
Simon Western

11. Questions of denial—Covid as a catastrophe
Andrzej Leder

12. What the International Listening Posts are telling us about Covid
Rob Stuart and Olya Khaleelee

13. The Long Covid at an individual and societal level
Anthony Berendt

14. The future of organisations and leadership
Leslie Brissett

15. Dark beam of light: what Covid is telling us about race relations
Leslie Brissett

16. The traumata of Covid: learning from the pandemic
M. Gerard Fromm

Follow the Covid Trail
Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee

Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee

About the Editor(s)

Halina Brunning is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Organizational Consultant and Executive Coach. She has worked in the British and Polish National Health Services as a psychologist, therapist, manager and consultant and published extensively on clinical and organizational issues Her books include Executive Coaching: Systems-Psychodynamic Perspective and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on a Turbulent World. Halina currently works as a freelance coach and consultant and runs her own international coaching practice in Europe. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, OPUS, Association of Coaching and founder member of the Coaching Psychology Forum.

More titles by Halina Brunning

Olya Khaleelee is a corporate psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and organisational consultant with a particular interest in leadership, organisational transition, and transformation. She has been associated with the Tavistock Institute for over 30 years in developing group relations both in the UK and abroad, and was the first female director of the Leicester Conference, which explores authority, leadership and organisation from a psychoanalytic and systemic perspective. She was chairwoman of the London Centre for Psychotherapy (now part of British Psychotherapy Foundation) and for many years was director of OPUS: Organisation for Promoting the Understanding of Society, applying a psychoanalytic and systemic approach to understanding the societal processes that give rise to conflict and division. She has published extensively in the areas of leadership, including psychological assessment of senior executives and on system psychodynamics in the organisation and beyond, into society.

More titles by Olya Khaleelee

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