The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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How do we understand and contribute best to meaningful social change? What tools do we need to undertake useful work in the community, to make sense of the work we do, and to sustain the work through difficult challenges? There are no easy answers to these questions, but the contributors to this original volume take the debate in a refreshing and exciting new direction. Conventionally understood, psychoanalysis is an elitist, Western creation, providing expensive 'treatments' only to those who can afford it and who also share psychoanalysts' own unshaken beliefs in their model, in the absence of any proof that it makes a difference.

This volume shows by contrast that a psychodynamic approach, not as dogma, but as a tool to think and work with, can provide radical new ways of addressing difficulties and difference. The emotional consequences of living in a conflictual and rapidly-changing society are not adequately represented through reference to psychiatric symptomatology or through statistics which count numbers of 'victims'.

The case studies in this book explore the multiple layers of trauma and conflict in communities and organisations, and the complexity of response that is required. Divides along race, class, culture, gender, language, age, disability, and political lines are extensively discussed, and the question of the power of the 'expert' social service professional is debated from a range of perspectives. The book emphasises the importance of a thorough understanding of context for community work.

A remarkable feature of the book is that, while considering one clinic's efforts to assist with positive transformation in a range of South African contexts, it at the same time reflects on the process of change within the clinic itself. It shows how change in others cannot happen without change in ourselves. The book requires engagement from the reader, and sets the reader the challenge of thinking deeply and on multiple levels about community-based practice and what it means both for communities and for those who wish to be agents of change.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 170mm x 245mm
Pages : 136
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-1996-8
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-1996-0
Publish Year : 2002

Foreword by Prof. Linda Richter
About the Authors

1. Introduction
Leslie Swartz, Kerry Gibson and Tamara Gelman

2. Healing Relationships Between Psychologists and Communities: How Can We Tell Them if They Dont Want to Hear?
Kerry Gibson

3. From Idealism to Reality: Learning from Community Interventions
Carol Sterling

4. Black Students Experiences of Training at a White Institution
Rucksana Christian, Molefi Mokutu and Matshediso Rankoe

5. Providing a Containing Space for Unbearable Feelings
Rika van den Berg

6. The Consultation Relationship: Reflections on a Psychological Consultation Partnership
Anastasia Maw

7. Too Close for Comfort: Emotional Ties Between Nurses and Patients
Hester van der Walt

8. Disability and Psychotherapy: an Ideologically Charged Relationship in Community Mental Health Service Provision
Brian Watermeyer

9. The Good Enough Community: Power and Knowledge in South African Community Psychology
Mark Tomlinson and Leslie Swartz

10. Psychoanalytic Community Psychology: Crossing Worlds or Worlds Apart?
Carol Long

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