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Hill, A. Poss, S. (2011). Some Reflections on Reparation in Post-Apartheid South Africa, using a Couple Therapy Intervention as a Microcosm of South African Society. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 1(2):222-234.

(2011). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 1(2):222-234

Some Reflections on Reparation in Post-Apartheid South Africa, using a Couple Therapy Intervention as a Microcosm of South African Society

Andrea Hill and Sylvia Poss, M.A.

The paper addresses the question of reparation in post-apartheid South Africa. The central hypothesis of the paper is that in South Africa current traumas or losses, such as the 2008 xenophobic attacks, may activate a ‘shared unconscious phantasy’ of irreparable damage inflicted by apartheid on the collective psyche of the South African nation which could block constructive engagement and healing. A brief couple therapy intervention by a white therapist with a black couple is used as a ‘microcosm’ to explore this question. The impact of an extreme current loss, when earlier losses have been sustained, is explored. Additionally, the impact of racial difference on the transference and counter-transference between the therapist and the couple is explored to illustrate factors complicating the productive grieving and working through of the depressive position towards reparation.

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