Becoming a manager

Perhaps the most difficult stage of my professional career was when I was promoted to become a senior probation officer. This was a time when all the experience about ‘being important’ had to be re-learned. (see earlier post).

I made some notes some time after starting the new role:

Came with experience of psycho-dynamic theory and the more ‘clinical’ setting of a voluntary agency, including

  • taking referrals for therapy from psychiatry
  • having to earn referrals through establishment of personal authority with agencies
  • having to keep cases through provision of services satisfactory to the client.

Struck by the venom reserved for Freud and the maternal deprivation theories. Inadequacy of clinical model soon apparent. Also brought experience of working with functioning of organisations especially to develop agency work beyond the one to one.

  1. Survival – 0 to 18 months

Paranoid schizoid attack – splitting, rage.

Fear of potency – attempt to render me impotent. Potency appears to relate to unconscious element – fear of unconscious destructive identification with offenders. Organisational anxiety – potency as a threat to HQ.

Dependence – wish for strong father figure.’ I can’t change unless you do.’ Admin/business fantasy.

Case discussion as war – who is right?



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