Traumatic Stress in South Africa Cover

Traumatic Stress in South Africa

232 pages

October, 2010

ISBN: 9781868145096



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Debbie Kaminer is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.

Gillian Eagle is a Professor  in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Traumatic Stress in South Africa deals with the topic of traumatic stress from a number of angles.
Traumatic stress, and posttraumatic stress more particularly, has gained international prominence as a condition or disorder that affects people across the globe in the wake of exposure to extreme life events, be these collective or individual. Given the history of political violence in South Africa, extremely high levels of violence against women and children and the prevalence of violent crime, South Africa has the unfortunate distinction of being considered a real life laboratory in which to study traumatic stress. Taking both a historical and contemporary perspective, the book covers the extent of and manner in which traumatic stress manifests, including the way in which exposure to such extremely threatening events impacts on people's meaning and belief systems. Therapeutic and community strategies for addressing and healing the effects of trauma exposure are comprehensively covered, as well as the particular needs of traumatised children and adolescents. Illustrative case material is used to render ideas accessible and engaging. The book also provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of theory and practice in the field of traumatic stress studies, incorporating both international and South African specific findings. The particular value of the text lies in the integration of global and local material and attention to context related challenges, such as how trauma presentation and intervention is coloured by cultural systems and class disparities. The book highlights both psychological and sociopolitical dimensions of traumatic stress.