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Almond, R. (2015). Meditations on Psychological Repair: Commentary on Gobodo-Madikizela. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(6):1125-1133.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(6):1125-1133

Meditations on Psychological Repair: Commentary on Gobodo-Madikizela Related Papers

Richard Almond

Conflict pervades our experience. As analysts we are immersed in the contending forces of patients’ lives and feelings as they ebb and flow in the transference-countertransference, often with unspoken emotional violence. In our off-hours we confront other sorts of conflict— struggles between political parties, even psychoanalytic factions, between nations, tribes, religions. Many of these last are played out in bloody action. We easily feel that much of the world lives amid murderous violence. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's study of the psychology of reconciliation in South Africa reminds us that many societies live with present violence or a traumatic residue of past violence. Can these wounds be repaired? If so, how does it happen? Gobodo-Madikizela is looking for an answer to these questions in a psychoanalytic framework of understanding of the psychology of trauma and its healing.

The editors of JAPA have asked me to comment with particular attention to the interface of the intrapsychic and the social/cultural. Gobodo-Madikizela's description of the Truth and Reconciliation process and the wounds of apartheid addresses this conceptual boundary. As I studied her paper I was fascinated and often overwhelmed. She writes about trauma, about remorse and forgiveness; she describes powerful moments in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission testimonies; she argues for new thinking about the psychology of trauma repair.

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