Ross A. Lazar, BA, (Honours), MAT
Ross A. Lazar, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, consultant, coach and supervisor, was born and grew up in New Jersey, USA. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany with an Honours B.A. in the History of Art in 1967, and then won a graduate scholarship from the DAAD (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst) to return to Germany for graduate work. In 1970 he completed a Master's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education (M.A.T. = Master of Arts in Teaching) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Returning to Europe, he worked first as a Visiting Lecturer in the History of Art at Leeds University and Leeds Polytechnic, then as a teacher in a school for maladjusted children in the East End of London. Subsequently, he trained as a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Institute and Tavistock Clinic. During this clinical training he took part in many Group Relations Training activities. He completed his official Tavistock training in 1978.
Returning to Munich, Ross then became the Head Child Psychotherapist at the Biederstein Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, an outpatient community mental health service of the Department of Medical Psychology, Technical University of Munich, Faculty of Medicine. Since 1982 he has been working in Munich in private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with children, adolescents and adults, as well as with couples and families.
As a teacher, supervisor and mentor, he travels regularly to various centres of psychoanalytic training as well as teacher education and other training programmes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. One of his main activities over the past years has been the initiation and development of Infant Observation Seminars along the lines of the Tavistock Clinic's Observation Course Curriculum, and as originally conceived by Dr. Esther Bick. In the context of this observational work, he serves on the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Infant Observation and Its Applications. Of late he has extended this interest to include the observation of organisations and its relevance to the practice of organisational consultancy and action research. Currently he is involved in a multi-dimensional research project whose aim is to study and improve the quality of life of senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and which is being financed and executed by the University of Vienna. In the past few years he has also had the privilege of serving several times as guest professor both at the University of Vienna and the Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt.
His practice of clinical team supervision, coaching and consultation to hospitals, clinics, social services agencies, teaching establishments, architecture and law practices, local government bodies and industry is widespread. And, starting in 1980, he was one of the main initiators and founder member of both the Wilfred R. Bion Forum for the Furtherance of Psychoanalysis and of MundO (which in German stands for "Menschen und Organisationen"), a working group dedicated to the furtherance of learning from experience in people and their organisations.
He has published many and various articles in German and English on topics such as infant observation according to the Tavistock-Bick method, (including one on the observation of a premature infant, published in English in the Journal of Infant Observation with the title Learning to Be), as well as on the clinical practice of child analysis along the lines of Bion's "Container-Contained" theory. Also he has applied both this model and Bion's theories of group dynamics to the consulting and supervising situation. In addition, he has published a key encyclopaedia article in German on the historical and philosophical roots of Bion's model "Container-Contained", a paper on the experience of psychoanalytical work with emigrant patients and a historical-theoretical exposition of the Kleinian roots of Bion's work and ideas.
More recent publications have included a critique of the leadership styles of both George W. Bush, and Joerg Haider, governor of the southern Austrian province of Carinthia (Kaernten), an analysis of "followership" as a necessary precondition of leadership, and an attempt at a "biological / theological / developmental psychological analysis of "fair trade" as opposed to "unfair trade".
In the field of Group Relations proper, he has published a chapter entitled Experiencing, Understanding and Dealing with Intergroup and Institutional Conflict, documenting his experience as director of the so-called "Seeon Conference" between members of the two leading German psychoanalytic societies, in the anthology entitled Experiential Learning in Organisations edited by Larry Gould, Mark Stein and Lionel Stapley. A similar chapter, The "Seeon Conference": Group Relations as applied to an historical conflict between two professional groups also appears in the book, Group Relations Conferences, edited by Mannie Sher, Louisa Diana Brunner and Avi Nutkevitch.
Over the last thirty years he has served as a staff member on a large number of group relations conferences in Germany, as well as in England and elsewhere, and has taken the role of director three occasions, most notably of the Seeon Conference referred to above.
Ross has been married to his wife, Gisela, since 1969. They have two grown children.
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