Relational Integrative Psychology
If we look up the definition of psychology, you will find descriptions such as “the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour” or “the scientific study of the way the human mind works and how it influences behaviour” or “the science of mind and behaviour” etc.
What do these definitions have in common? They put the emphasis on the cognitive and behavioural aspects of a person. And this is not only the case with the definition, but also in everyday practice—especially when it comes to organisational and business psychology. But, as people, we are so much more than that.
Relational psychology considers not only cognitive and behavioural elements, but also integrates affective and experiential aspects of human psyche into understanding of our drives, rationale, actions etc.
Relational integrative psychology (relational psychology in short) not only looks into the cognitive and behavioural elements of a person, but also the dynamics beneath them.
Relational psychology considers affective, experiential and phenomenological qualities and connects them to how we think and what we do.
Affective aspects of us as individuals act as foundation to our current cognitive and behavioural patterns. This is why we rarely see significant and permanent shifts in one’s mindset or actions if no change occurs on affective and experiential level.
Relational psychology recognises the role that our core beliefs about ourselves, others and the world play in our daily experiences, our relationships and our rationale.
If we consider definition of psychology, one could say that relational psychology is actually an oxymoron. In a way it is because of what it encompasses. Relational psychology is informed at large by study and practice from integrative and relational psychotherapy.
Relational psychology uses the techniques, methods, approaches and practical experience of integrative, relational and other psychotherapeutic approaches and applies them into people assessment and professional development framework. It, in its core, uses psychotherapeutic methods but with a purpose of assessment and development—predominantly in organisational and business settings.
Methods and techniques of group dynamics have their roots in psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic theory and practice. Relational psychology brings these powerful tools also into assessment and transformation of organisations, corporate environments, teams and leaders.
Group dynamics principles are informed largely by concepts of Berne, Bion, Yalom, Perls, Egan, Foulkes and many others.
We identify ourselves with how others see us. But how others see us is influenced by how we see ourselves.
As humans we are relational beings. Our perception of the world is largely underpinned by the perception of our relationships—the relationship we have with ourselves (i.e. how we think and feel about ourselves as individuals) and the relationships we hold with others.
The relationship we have with ourselves and the views we hold of ourselves are largely intertwined and interconnected with the views we have of others and how we perceive others viewing us (i.e. our projections onto others). How we see ourselves will, therefore, immensely affect our relationships with others, as will also our believes of how others see us.
How we see ourselves will immensely affect our relationships with others and this will affect how others see us.
A common misconception about group dynamics is that it is limited to work in groups. This is not true! Group dynamics is a powerful set of tools and techniques that allows anything from work related to team cohesion to learning about leadership skills and potential.
Group dynamics theory and practice can be used both in the area of individual and team assessments or in the area of professional development.
Subjective Experience Assessments (SEA)
Subjective experience assessments (SEAs) are a unique product based on relational integrative psychology. They assess not only cognitive and behavioural aspects of a person but predominantly the affective qualities and the felt experience which in turn cause reoccurring cognitive and behavioural patterns.
As people we think and act out of our own personal experience. We change based on our own personal needs and views. We do not change based on what others think of us.
Subjective experience assessments (SEAs) respect an individual’s personal subjective experience and the level of their met needs in the working environment. SEAs assess one’s own perception of a situation and the development of this situation—working environment, corporate culture, relationships, cohesion, trust, contribution etc.
SEAs look at the individual’s subjective experience in their professional environment, which not only determines the level of their integration with the team and company culture but also indicates what kind of professional relationships they build.
Because of this approach, SEAs have the following unique characteristics:
- The level of individual’s agreement with the results of their assessment is intrinsically higher because the assessments are done ‘with’ and ‘for’ the individual and not ‘of’ the individual.
- Because SEAs take into account individual’s personal and professional needs as a professional, leader, talent, employee, the individual that is being assessed will perceive the assessment as an opportunity for the increase of their satisfaction and not as a test that they can fail.
- SEAs assess the individual’s perception within the context (e.g. working environment, corporate culture, team) and in relation to the context, because the context determines how the individual will perform in the team. This is why we can see the same person perform completely differently in different environments. A person will produce different SEA results in different environments, whereas they may produce the same results when it comes to personality trait tests.
- SEAs are the only assessments that—using group dynamics—also assess characteristics on a collective level of a team (i.e. assess the group-as-a-whole), which is useful in underpinning the cohesion of the team and the success of its leadership.
- SEAs are the only assessments that use, evaluate and distinguish the unconscious projection, transference and identification.