UK on the Couch


An OPUS workshop led by Halina Brunning, Olya Khaleelee and Richard Morgan-Jones

Date:          Saturday 5th May
Time:          10am to 4.30pm (coffee from 9.30am)
Venue:       Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2EG

Refreshments are provided during the day but not lunch; there are, however, a number of sandwich shops and restaurants around Liverpool Street station

This workshop will explore what is going on in the UK by means of:

  • a presentation elaborating the relatedness between the UK and its wider context
  • an associative thinking event to collect and integrate different perspectives
  • two Trilogy events examining who is expressing what for whom both consciously and unconsciously

The workshop builds on the event Poland on the Couch held in Warsaw every year since 2014. The event was initiated by Halina Brunning with Polish colleagues and has been followed by a book of the same title to which Halina, Olya and Richard all contributed.


9.30      Registration & Coffee
10.00    Introduction by Richard Morgan-Jones
10.15     Presentation by Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee
11.00     Coffee
11.20     Associative Thinking Event
12.20     Lunch
1.20       Trilogy Event 1
2.30       Break
2.45       Trilogy Event 2
3.45       Break
4.00       Review session
4.30       End

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Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee will present the key ideas from their forthcoming paper Danse Macabre Spinning Faster to be published shortly in Organisational & Social Dynamics Vol. 18.1.
A copy of the paper will be available for download with each ticket purchased, and participants are encouraged to read it before the event.

Associative Thinking Event

This part draws upon the traditions of Social Dreaming and Social Sensing Matrices (Gordon Lawrence) as well as the Insight Event (Harri Hyyppa) developed by Metanoia in Finland.
The idea of putting the UK on the couch allows us to work with associations, dreams, ideas, thoughts and metaphors in order to identify the internal and external forces shaping its political and societal life. The event seeks to digest and de-toxify the adrenalin-fuelled raw material of splitting and projection where one grouping denounces another through violations and attacks on alternate positions. The aim is to develop understanding, insight and foresight from what emerges into the drives for life and death currently affecting the UK.


The task of the trilogy events is to explore the conscious and unconscious dynamic forces at work in the UK, from both within and without. The aim of this design is to move through UK and European dynamics to include wider and deeper movements in society beyond national and European pre-occupations with Brexit.
After a brief introduction, we form three concentric circles (inner, middle and outer) working one at a time in sequence, while the other two circles listen. Each circle focuses in turn on the forces of life and death experienced in the UK:

  • through being a citizen of the UK (inner circle)
  • from a European perspective (middle circle)
  • from a global perspective (outer circle)

The second trilogy event will continue with the task and seek to make links and connections between the three perspectives represented by each circle. This time, there will be a fish-bowl of two circles:

  • The inner circle will continue to focus on the forces of life and death as they are experienced through being a citizen of the UK.
  • Within this inner circle there will be 4 empty chairs which can be taken by any member from the outside circle who may join the inner circle briefly to represent a perspective from a European or a Global perspective. Such contributions can take the form of a consultancy stance that offers wider perspectives and makes links to what is being observed in the inner circle and who is expressing what for whom.

Additional Info

Additional information

Member discount?

Yes – OPUS Member, Yes – OPUS Associate, Yes – OPUS student member, No


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