Small meetings : the application of psychodynamic thought in community work with South African children

Lazarus, Jana (2003-12)

On t.p.: Degree of Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Community psychology in South Africa has been defined in antithesis to more traditional psychotherapies such as psychoanalysis. It has been necessary, in the formative stage of community psychology, to be clear about what it is not, in terms of establishing a progressive psychology that meets an urgent need. So too, psychoanalysis started out needing to be very clear about how it differed from previous practices, and what its aims were. Over the last hundred years psychoanalytic thought has, however, undergone tremendous development. Perhaps it could be said that its transmutation into a South African psychology is still underway. Community psychology has been critiqued for its lack of theory, and few extended analyses of community psychology interventions exist. By contrast, psychoanalysis offers detailed theoretical accounts and case studies. It is proposed that both paradigms could benefit from an exchange of ideas. There is a common misperception that community psychology focuses on external problems, while psychodynamic therapy focuses solely on the intrapsychic. While this is not wholly true, it could be said that children are conceptualised very differently by these two perspectives, and that this has had implications for treatment. Recently, however, several South African practitioners have begun to introduce psychodynamic thought into community interventions in enriching ways. They are beginning to conclude that community psychology has necessarily been unable to utilise a depth psychology approach, for a variety of legitimate reasons, but that this is the next step in meeting the huge challenges of community work. This study provides a discussion of the contributions of psychoanalysis to an understanding of child development, as well as an examination of the ways in which community psychology has conceptualised and worked with children. Empirical examples of the treatment of South African children will be followed by a case study in which psychodynamic thought was combined with a community-style intervention. The authors conclude that the link between internal and external worlds is a complex one, especially in work with children. The internal and external seem, in effect, to be indivisible, and any intervention hoping to be effective splits these two worlds to its own detriment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gemeenskapsielkunde in Suid-Afrika word dikwels gedefineer in teenstelling met meer tradisionele benaderings soos die psigoanalise. In die vormingsjare van gemeenskapsielkunde was dit noodsaaklik om dit helder te definieer. Hierdie noodsaak het ontstaan weens die ontwikkeling van 'n vooruitgaande sielkunde wat 'n dringende behoefte nakom. Op 'n soortgelyke manier moes psigoanalise in die onstaansjare ook presies wees oor hoe dit verskil van vorige benaderings en oor sy doelwitte. Oor die afgelope honderd jaar het psigoanalitiese denke egter geweldig ontwikkel. Daar sou beweer kon word dat die posisie in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse sielkunde nog steeds onderweg is. Gemeenskapsielkunde is al gekritiseer oor sy gebrek aan teorie en daar bestaan min uitgebreide teoretiese verslae oor gemeenskapsintervensies. In teenstelling hiermee bied psigoanalise breedvoerige berigte en gevallestudies aan. Dit word voorgestel dat beide benaderings sou kon baat vind by die gemeenskaplike toepassing van idees. Daar bestaan 'n algemene wanopvatting dat gemeenskapsielkunde op eksterne probleme fokus, terwyl psigodinamiese terapie uitsluitend op die interne ingesteld is. Terwyl dit nie heeltemal waar is nie, sou daar ook aangevoer kon word dat kinders baie verskillend gekonsepsualiseer word binne hierdie twee perspektiewe. Dit hou implikasies vir behandeling in. Onlangs het verskeie Suid- Afrikaanse praktisyne egter psigodinamiese denke verrykend begin aanwend in gemeenskapsintervensies. Daar is tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat gemeenskapswerk in die verlede noodgedwonge nie 'n psigodinamiese benadering kon benut nie weens 'n verskeidenheid van voor-die-hand-liggende redes. Die enorme uitdagings van gemeenskapswerk word in die vooruitsig gestel. Hierdie artikel verskaf 'n bespreking van psigoanalise se bydrae tot 'n begrip van kinderontwikkeling, asook 'n ondersoek na die wyse waarop gemeenskapsielkunde oor kinders dink en met hulle werk. Voorbeelde van die behandeling van Suid-Afrikaanse kinders word gevolg deur 'n gevallestudie, waarin psigodinamiese denke gebruik word in 'n gemeenskapsintervensie. Daar word aangevoer dat die skakeling tussen interne en eksterne wêrelde 'n komplekse een is veral in werk met kinders. Die interne en die eksterne blyk om in effek onskeibaar te wees en enige intervensie wat hoop om effektief te wees, verdeel hierdie twee wêrelde tot sy nadeel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53591
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