More Podcasts & Show Notes

Dr Simon Western

Simon moved from the bustling centre of London to live in Galway on the edge of Europe and be inspired from the margins. Founder and CEO Analytic-Network Coaching Ltd, Adjunct Professor UCD, Past President of International psychoanalytic society and activist.  As an internationally renowned coach and academic Simon utilizes critical theory, psychoanalysis and social movement theory but most importantly draws on his psychotherapist past, social activism, faith and his current leadership work with global business to locate his thinking in lived experience.


Introducing Edgy Ideas

Leadership, Activism, Coaching & Citizenship


This first series engages world class coaches, leaders and academics, in conversations about the psycho-social dynamics playing out in relation to this pandemic. Our guests will explore the specific cultural and social anxieties that are emerging in their country. We will discuss leadership, politics, work, diversity, living and citizenship, bringing to the fore the conscious and unconscious dynamics experienced. We will conclude each podcast by exploring the possibilities of living a 'good life' in the face of this trauma, and the potential to develop a ‘good society’ as we exit from this pandemic.


Ep 13. In Praise of the Flask - The Art of Living the Good Life


In this podcast I read a short essay that explores the art of living the good life through the lens of the thermos flask. Internalised as a childhood ‘good object’ that represented happy times- family holidays and mountain walks- and it produced ‘good things’ that comforted me; warm nourishing soup and hot coffee. It acted as a transitional object when I travelled, bridging home and my place of arrival, and it became a lost symbol when consumerism and the cappuccino cult seduced me and millions of others to abandon the flask. Covid19 lockdown closed the cafes I frequented and a ‘return of the repressed’ occurred. The flask re-emerged and ‘flask-time’ has once again become an important part of my life, in unexpected ways. Flask-time is a special time, a transcendent time beyond ‘ordinary time’. Flask-time by-passes consumerism, connects me to the past, present and future, and emancipates me from patterns I was previously entrapped in. I praise the flask, because it engages me in a slower and freer experience, it inspires a micro-resistance to consumer society, and it re-connects me to nature, home produced food and to what it means to live the good-life.  A print version of this essay can be found here: In Praise of the Flask

Ep 12.  The Pleasures of Power with Jonathan Gosling


Professor Jonathan Gosling has been working in leadership development across the globe and in diverse settings for many years.


In this podcast he discusses with Simon the pleasures of power. They reflect on their own relationships to power, those of leaders they have coached and the tangled collusions around domination and submission. Many leaders who seem powerful to others feel themselves to be trapped in organisational cultures that render them quite powerless in these totalising corporate systems. Power can be harnessed for the benefit of others, and can give individuals meaning and a sense of agency and identity, and it can also feed ego and be coercive.


Jonathan offers the novel idea of "powering" turning power into a verb that opens up how power is used tactically in situations.


The discussion ends with reflecting on how power may or may not support the good life and good society.


Bio  Jonathan Gosling is a sailor, emeritus professor and consultant to OD projects in primary health services in southern Africa. He is also lead faculty with the Forward Institute ( to promote responsible leadership. He is director, Pelumbra Ltd ( , and was previously Professor of Leadership at the Universities of Lancaster and Exeter. His own troubled relatedness to power and the people who wield it has drawn him into most of his career-defining predicaments - in universities, community mediation, private equity firms, electronics companies, governments, emergency response agencies and more.

Ep 11.  The Whiteness Paradigm with Michael Lindsay


Michael and Simon, two white men, discuss whiteness as a paradigm. Their conversation draws on their personal experiences and addresses the wider systemic issues that are at play. They reflect on how white fragility plays out, and what it will take to enable people to move from being defensive, to engage with the vulnerable curiosity that is required to lead to change.     Whiteness is often referred to as a place of privilege and entitlement, as clearly it is in many social settings. Yet ‘whiteness’ is not homogenous, and there are millions of white underclass in the USA (referred to as 'white trash') and across Europe,  economically impoverished who have lost the dignity of work and class solidarity, and don’t feel privileged and entitled at all.  What can we do to address this aspect of ‘whiteness’ who’s rage can lead to supporting populist and xenophobic right-wing leaders?  Acknowledging complexity, this conversation explores what can be done to challenge centuries of racial domination and abuse, and the endemic racism that still exists in society today. Questioning the whiteness paradigm is an important part of this process.


Bio Michael Lindsay is a consulting and clinical psychologist practicing in San Diego, CA. He is interested in supporting the development of consciousness and courage in leaders, organizational cultures, and in society, using Systems Psychodynamic and Integral frameworks. Michael is serving as an Internal Director on the Board of the AK Rice Institute. He is a member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. In addition to his clinical and consulting practices, Michael is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of San Diego in the Leadership Studies Dept. He has also been a yoga instructor for over 10 years and together with his husband, Michael is raising two boys, one 7 and the other 3, in a bi-lingual household.

Ep 10.  Anarchism, Management and Social Change with Professor Martin Parker


Edgy ideas are a speciality from my guest Martin Parker.  As Professor of Organization Studies at Bristol University, Martin challenges mainstream ideas about how we think about organisations, leadership and management.  His recent books ‘Shut down the Business school’ and 'Anarchism, Organization and Management' are discussed in this vibrant conversation. Martin draws on his sociology, anthropology and cultural studies training to inform his thinking.  Martin and Simon discuss how anarchism and social movements can help inform the radical rethink that is urgently needed if we are to #buildbackbetter after Covid19.     His latest book title is 'Life after COVID19',  other publications focus on utopianism, conspiracy theory, business ethics, pirates and outlaws and other alternative organizations.  Martin is the lead for the Inclusive Economy Initiative in Bristol.

Ep 9.  From Martin Luther King to Black Lives Matter

with Dr Kathy White


This very special episode of Edgy Ideas addresses issues of race from MLK to BLM, on a journey experienced by my esteemed guest Dr Kathleen Pogue White. Kathy met Dr King as a student and shares her unique experience of living and working through periods of hope and despair in relation to racism in the USA and beyond. As BLM puts racism back at the top of an international agenda, Kathy shares her experience of working in organisations to address ‘white supremacy’ and structural racism.  Kathy brings immense depth of wisdom to share, drawing on psychoanalytic insights and a lifetime experience of working with leaders from all sectors.


BIO Notes

Dr Kathleen Pogue White, is a psychoanalyst who applies the profession's core knowledge and skills in her multi-sectored work in organizational consulting, executive coaching and leadership development. Dr. White’s practice is based in Manhattan and she has vast experience in consulting to multi-cultural, multi-national, and diverse groups and organizations; her work ranges from Goldman Sachs to the Jewish Board of family and children’s services. Dr White also has many professional affiliations, to name a few,  she is a founding member and past Director of the Program in Organizational Development and Consultation Program at the William Alanson White Institute for Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Distinguished Member of ISPSO, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations and is an Associate of the Tavistock Institute.

Ep 8  Developing Leaders with Manfred Kets de Vries


World-renowned author, academic and award-winning teacher,  Manfred Kets de Vries joins Simon to share his invaluable insights on working with leaders and organisations.  Manfred discusses his work with CEOs,  family business leaders, and his work in Russia.  In his new e-book 'Journeys into Coronavirus Land'  Manfred sets out the five fundamentals that guide good leadership - Belonging, Purpose, Self Competence, Self-Control and Transcendence.   Manfred's long term focus has been to use psychological insights to make leaders more self-aware, in order to make organisations more humane,  therefore making a real difference in the world of work.  We end with his thoughts on what it takes to live a good life and create a good society.


Manfred Kets de Vries holds the Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, he is Program Director of INSEAD’s top management program, “The Challenge of Leadership: Creating Reflective Leaders,” and the Founder of INSEAD’s Executive Master Program in Change Management.  Kets de Vries is a prolific and best selling author having authored, co-authored or edited 52 books and published more than 400 academic papers/articles.  His work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Business Week, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Harvard Business Review.  He has won awards too many to mention.  He is a member of New York’s Explorers Club and in his spare time can be found in the rainforests or savannas of Central and Southern Africa or within the Arctic Circle.

Ep7 Part 2. Race and Society with Leslie Brissett


In Part 2 Simon continues his conversation with Leslie Brisset and they explore faith, belonging, monastic calling and the beauty of trees amongst other issues relating to identity.   Leslie is from the UK with a Carribean heritage, and recently relocated to live in Arkansaw USA. Leslie is Director of Group Relations at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and has studied human dynamics in experiential settings in many countries; he is also the company secretary at TIHR. Enjoy Listening!

Ep 6 Part 1. Identity, Race and Society with Leslie Brissett


In this episode Simon invites special guest Leslie Brissett to share his personal experience of race and identity.    This delightful and deeply human conversation meanders through race and identity exploring otherness and drawing on psychoanalytic insights. Leslie shares his reflections and insights on these big issues bringing his unique perspectives on what it means to live a good life and create the good society.  Leslie is from the UK with a Carribean heritage, and recently relocated to live in Arkansas USA. Leslie is Director of Group Relations at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and has studied human dynamics in experiential settings in many countries; he is also the Company Secretary at TIHR.  Enjoy Listening!

S1. Ep 5. Pandemic Psychodynamics Russia


Our special guest today is Irena Izotova from Moscow, who will be sharing her thoughts and experience from a Russian perspective. Our conversation meanders through our experiences of the pandemic and we touch on how the 'Discourse of the Master' returns to impose prohibitions on us during the lockdown.


 This is something new to many in the west, but Irena points to this being historically familiar to Russians.   Irena relates how her elderly relative trangresses this prohibition as a refusal to submit once again to the prohibitions she experienced in her earlier life.  She also identifies the importance of arranging reflexive spaces both for leaders and for professionals who support them,  to keep their resilience and capacity to think and act maturely. We end the conversation by exploring how to live rather than survive, and how 'not to give up on our desire'.


Irena is an Executive &Team Coach and Organizational Consultant oriented by a psychodynamic approach.  She is President of Association of Psychoanalytic Coaching and Business Consulting, an Analytic-Network Registered Coach, Lecturer at HSE and a Lacanian psychoanalyst.   Enjoy this podcast!

S1. Ep 4. Pandemic Psychodynamics India


In episode 4, Simon converses with special guest and internationally renowned Professor  Ajeet N. Mathur from Ahmedabad India.  Ajeet is a fountain of knowledge and wisdom, and their conversation traverses a range of issues in relation to these disruptive times.  In search of how to live a good life and create the good society, Ajeet highlights dignity and the loss of humanity as central concerns.  They observe how the return of the repressed is taking place referencing racism and colonialism playing out in different ways pending on the context and country.


Ajeet N. Mathur PhD, is a Professor at IIM Ahmedabad with many years of consulting experience for transformative leadership and organisational change with businesses, governments, international institutions and not-for-profit organisations. He is an affiliate life member of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society, and Yoga Shikshak and Karma Sannyasin of the Bihar School of Yoga. Ajeet has been the EU-Tempus Professor of European Integration and Internationalisation and teaches courses in strategy, international business, action research methodologies, mysteries in management, directs group relations conferences.  His publications include 29 books and over 160 papers in scientific journals

S1. Ep 3. Pandemic Psychodynamics UK


This episode Pandemic Psychodynamics UK opens up a wide-ranging and deeply engaging conversation with award winning author Steven D' Souza.  We reflect on how people react to the anxiety produced when we get to a place of not-knowing. We explore how Covid-19 amplifies previous social-political trends such as the rise in authoritarianism and conformism.  Also how the critical and creative thinking that is so urgently needed can be unconsciously repressed in pandemic time. People can be silenced if they question the dominant discourse such as 'we follow the science' or the workplace equivalent this is 'evidenced-based', people often act as if these are neutral and apolitical,  yet power always plays out in how science, knowledge and data are used. We end by focusing on social cohesion, and how pandemic time also increases community, how people are deeply touched.. when touching is physically prohibited.    Steven D'Souza is author/co-author of four books. Most recently Not Knowing, with Diana Renner, which won the UK Management Book of the Year, and Not Doing. He has been an Associate Fellow at Said Business School, the University of Oxford, and currently heads Executive Development for a global organisation.  Enjoy!

S1. Ep 2. Pandemic Psychodynamics Australia

with Brigid Nossal


Simon is joined by Brigid Nossal to discuss pandemic psychodynamics in Australia Brigid Nossal is a co-founder and co-Director of the National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia that delivers a fabulous Masters of Leadership and Management taking a psychodynamic-systems approach.


Brigid combines academic teaching and research with organisational consulting. She recently served on the Board of ISPSO, and is a Registered Analytic-Network Coach.


In this podcast Brigid insightfully reflects on the unconscious impacts the pandemic is having on the Australian psyche.


The discussion with Simon reflects emergent psycho-social influences on leadership and citizenship and they discuss the tightrope between localism and globalisation, nationalism and progressive opportunities. Enjoy!

S1. Ep 1. Pandemic Psychodynamics USA

with Zachary Green


Simon is joined by Professor Zachary Green to discuss pandemic psychodynamics in the USA.  Zachary is Professor in Leadership Studies at University of San Diego, co-founder and director of Group Relations International. Zachary has three decades of experience studying, coaching and consulting to unconscious and systemic dynamics of global organizations, most notably through the World Bank.  Zachary discusses how projections and splitting are creating a secondary wave of challenges for the US that are particularly influenced by political polarization and exacerbated by culture wars. The pandemic is also exposing pronounced racial divides in health and welfare provision like never before. Simon and Zachary reflect on these gaps, and how psychoanalysis teaches us that lack creates desire….  could Covid-19 provoke a new push for greater social cohesion?  Faith, psychoanalysis and leadership are in the mix, enjoy this podcast!

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