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Solms, M. (2014). On: Psychoanalysis in South Africa. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):145.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):145

Letter to the Editor

On: Psychoanalysis in South Africa Related Papers

Mark Solms

Dear Editor

Zelda Knight (‘Black client, white therapist’, IJP 94: 17-31) is poorly informed about the state of psychoanalysis in South Africa in ways that are likely to mislead.

I feel obliged only to rectify the starkest misrepresentation, namely that “there is no formal training in psychoanalysis … in South Africa” (p. 19). This assertion is repeated and elaborated: “There is no formal training, as indicated, and this ‘unanalysed’ state of being apparently shapes many white psychoanalytically informed therapists who often feel ‘less than’ and inadequate … [etc.]” (p. 20).

The South African Psychoanalytic Initiative (SAPI), which currently has 167 members in Johannesburg and Cape Town, was formed in 2005/06 with the explicit aim of rectifying this ‘unanalysed’ state of affairs. As a result of its efforts, the South African Psychoanalytical Association (SAPA) was officially recognized as a Study Group of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) in 2009. It trains South Africans (of all races) in psychoanalysis. The group now has eight members, five of them training analysts, with 21 candidates and provisional candidates in various stages of the psychoanalytic training. Members of SAPI and SAPA were instrumental in forming the South African Psychoanalytic Confederation (SAPC) in 2010, a national confederation of psychoanalytical organizations of various kinds, which maintains a register of psychoanalytic psychotherapists who meet minimum standards of training and abide by its ethical code. The SAPC currently has 40 member groups representing 590 individuals and has an excellent working relationship with the Department of Health, which is currently designing our national health service.

It is difficult to comprehend how a South African clinician seriously interested in psychoanalysis could be unaware of these facts.

Mark Solms

Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town

Rondebosch 7701, South Africa


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