The Training and Practice of Psychotherapy in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Case Studies, Controversies and Contemplations


Zelda G. Knight – Professor of Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Series: Mental Illnesses and Treatments; Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY007000; PSY012000; PSY028000

This book has a focus on the training and practice of psychotherapy in post-Apartheid South Africa, with particular reference to case studies, controversies and contemplations. The authors’ are all South Africans who are trained in the art of psychotherapy and have been working with a diverse population in diverse settings. Some of the authors are academics at universities and are involved in the training of student psychologists in psychotherapy. With their unique histories and experiences, these authors together bring a vast amount of indigenous knowledge to the profession of psychotherapy. Using their own subjectivity and work-experience in the field of psychotherapy, they present different perspectives to the issues, conflicts, problems, what should change, what works well, what needs to be considered in psychotherapy. To this end, this book is about new ideas and new thoughts on psychotherapy. It begins with a chapter on the current training of psychologists in psychotherapy, the critical issues in training such as selection processes as well as the identification of a gap in training leading to the suggestion for the inclusion of transpersonal psychotherapy. In the next chapter, an exploration is achieved of the shifts from the analytical couch to the virtual screen. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy has always presumed the presence of the therapist and the patient in a consultation room that is uniquely set for the psychoanalytic endeavor. This chapter aims to trace the journey of psychoanalytic setting from Freud’s reclining couch, through the post-Freudian setting requirements, and finally to the modern smart gadgets to which the pandemic forced the provisioning of psychoanalytic treatment specifically in South Africa. An argument is made for the adaptability of the psychoanalytic situation. In a following chapter, the author focuses on the efficacy of somatic experiencing as a treatment model for adult survivors of child maltreatment. In this regard, a proposal is made for the consideration for teaching ‘body-based trauma therapies’, as opposed to those that focus only on the mind and leave the body out, to trainee psychologists. The somatic experiencing model is described and its value in forging the links between the mind-body gap is shown. Using phenomenological case study methods, there is a demonstration for the effectiveness of somatic experiencing model as an efficient psychotherapeutic treatment for adult survivors of childhood maltreatment. The book also has a chapter on child therapy or ‘Theraplay’ – a dyadic attachment-focussed psychotherapeutic approach. Based on semi-structured interviews with six Theraplay-trained South African psychologists, this chapter explores these therapists’ perceptions regarding the implementation of Theraplay in South Africa. The book also details a ‘process-based therapy’ and its potential in accommodating a diverse post-apartheid South Africa. A novel meta-framework for understanding evidence-based psychotherapy, process-based therapy (PBT), offers guidance on how to use the science of psychotherapy in a way that is tailored to the unique individual, their context, and their goals for therapy. It includes case studies from the author’s psychotherapy practice to show this kind of process and therapy. In the final chapter, the concepts and perspectives on grief and grief theory is examined. Death and grief theory often results in misconceptions and misinformation that leads to the disenfranchising of the experience of loss. Despite the number of individuals affected by grief, the training that psychologists receive in post-apartheid South Africa is minimal across universities. Discussion is offered to address this disconnect through highlighting grief theory from current thanatological literature.

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Table of Contents


Book Description


Chapter 1. The Current Training of Psychologists in Psychotherapy at Universities in Post-apartheid South Africa: Some Thoughts on the Integration of Transpersonal Psychotherapy into the Training Programme
Zelda Gillian Knight

Chapter 2. From Freud’s Reclining Couch to the Modern Digital Screen in South Africa: An Argument for the Adaptability of the Psychoanalytic Situation
Kgamadi Kometsi

Chapter 3. A Phenomenological Case Study on the Efficacy of Somatic Experiencing (SE) as a Treatment Model for Adult Survivors of Child Maltreatment: Consideration for Teaching Body-Based Trauma Therapies to Trainee Psychologists
Tshepo Tlali

Chapter 4. Theraplay for Children in South Africa: Therapists’ Considerations for Its Use in the Local Context
Deidré du Toit and Ahmed Riaz Mohamed

Chapter 5. Process-Based Therapy and Its Potential in Accommodating a Diverse Post-apartheid South Africa
Nevern Subermoney

Chapter 6. Grief: (The Lack of) Training of Psychologists in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Bêne Otto

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