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The Covid Trail: Psychodynamic Explorations
Edited by Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee
Karnac Books (London: Phoenix Publishing House) / Softcover / Dec 2022
9781800131361 (ISBN-10: 1800131364)
price: $62.50
312 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

This book is an exploration of the new, unknown, and dangerous terrain that Covid-19 has opened before us. One that we are all exploring in our own ways, using the resources that lie at our disposal. A global array of contributors bring their own insights into the unfolding trail and attempt to bring understanding to what we are all experiencing.

Contributors include Anthony Berendt, Birgitte Bonnerup, Leslie B. Brissett, Halina Brunning, Tim Dartington, Winnie Fei, M. Gerard Fromm, Zhang Jian Li, Olya Khaleelee, Andrzej Leder, Richard Morgan-Jones, Claudia Nagel, Mario Perini, Rob Stuart, Simon Western, and Barbara-Anne Wren.

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.

Table of Contents:

About the editors and contributors

Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee

Part I: The shock of the new
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

Part II: Reparation, resilience, recovery
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

Part III: The fourth humiliation of humankind
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

Part IV: Our new Covidian world
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 Editors:

Halina Brunning is a chartered clinical psychologist, freelance organisational consultant, and accredited executive coach. She has published extensively on clinical and organisational issues, and edited several books for Karnac including Executive Coaching: Systems-Psychodynamic Perspective (2006), translated into Italian in 2009. Between 2010 and 2014 she conceived of and edited a trilogy of books, which analyses the contemporary world through a psychoanalytic lens: “Psychoanalytic Perspectives on a Turbulent World”.

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.

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