Connecting with South Africa
Cultural Communication and Understanding
Analytical Psychology
5.5 x 8.5, 152 pp.
5 photos. 2 line art. 12 charts. Reference list. Index.
Pub Date: 02/06/2012
Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology
Price:        $27.95

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Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Winner of the 2012 R W S Cheetham Award, sponsored by the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa

Connecting with South Africa

Cultural Communication and Understanding

Astrid Berg

Foreword by David H. Rosen

Available electronically in an open-access, full-text edition from the Texas A&M University Libraries' Digital Repository at

Child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Astrid Berg states in her introduction that “South Africa is a microcosm.” It is a modern nation, yet many of its inhabitants follow ancient traditions. It is a nation with a colonial past marked by periods of violence, yet it has managed to make a largely peaceful transition to majority rule. It is a nation with eleven official languages embracing a great diversity of cultures and customs, and yet it is also a land where public debate is vigorous, free, and ongoing. In short, South Africa is a place where connections are being built and maintained—both those among people with long kinship and common culture, and those that reach across historical, racial, and class divides. “The western world is undeniably more advanced in certain areas of science and economic development,” Berg states, “but in other areas it seems to lag behind and could learn from” places like South Africa.

In her work with children and infants, Berg has become instrumental in building connections with and among her fellow South Africans of all ethnicities. Based upon Berg’s 2010 Fay Lectures in Analytical Psychology at Texas A&M University, Connecting with South Africa: Cultural Communication and Understanding is both a self-reflective, subjective account and a scientific discourse on human development and intercultural communication. This volume will be warmly welcomed not only by psychoanalysts and those interested in Jungian thought and practice but also by anyone seeking more effective ways to learn from other cultures. Connecting with South Africa provides sensitive direction for those wishing to find healing and connection in a fractured society.

ASTRID BERG, a Jungian analyst as well as a specialist in child and infant psychiatry, hosted the first conference on infant mental health in South Africa in 1995. Instrumental in founding the C. G. Jung Centre of Cape Town, she has also served as president of the Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Astrid Berg has a full understanding of the holistic interpretation of health, sickness, and healing from an African perspective. In her analysis and treatment of sickness and various forms of healing among the children of parents from different cultures, she never imposed from her own background any personal judgment of African spirituality. Instead, she wanted to learn more about the whole environment in which the child grows, and this she always does with respect and a welcoming attitude, enabling an honest dialogue with her. Besides learning from the African forms of healing, Astrid also learned that what Africans believe in—the centrality of ancestors as intermediaries between human beings and God—and what we practice have not only local but also global meanings. This is demonstrated in her open dialogue between African interpretation of dreams and that of the analytical (Jungian) psychologists. By so doing she creates an intercontinental web, connecting spiritualities around the globe. Connecting with South Africa will definitely build new bridges of trust, unity, and cooperation toward a common goal in the field of healing the souls of the world.”--Nokuzola Mndende, Director, Icamagu Institute, Eastern Cape, South Africa

"Astrid Berg has emerged as one of our most thoughtful and important scholars on the question of the application of psychoanalysis and analytic therapies across cultures. Connecting with South Africa: Cultural Communication and Understanding is written with admirable clarity, compassion, and a vision to lead the way into a new era where care for all patients begins with real listening, understanding and recognition of the Other. Sometimes the word 'culture' is invoked as a metaphor to justify avoidance of engagement with the complexity of lives from 'non-Western' backgrounds. In this book, Astrid Berg breaks these ideological boundaries (as well as the boundaries erected by the former apartheid state) and skilfully demonstrates what it means to be an engaged scholar. This book goes beyond teaching us about the application of psychoanalytic ideas to communication and understanding other cultures; Astrid berg has written a book about the ethics of practicing psychoanalytic work. It is a call to psychoanalytic work that is humane, connected, and more accessible."--Pumla Gobada-Madikizela, author of A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness

"...slim, attractive volume with its striking African cover deisgn...This small accessible book is deceptive: its conversational style makes it an easy read and one can finish it quickly and say, 'Well, that was interesting'; or one can return to it humbly and accept the gentle, multi-layered challenge to the reader to think and feel through our own humanity in relation to the Other."--Marian Campbell, Mantis

"Suffice it to say that Berg's narrative is compelling, with all the nuance and complexity of someone who has been immersed in the issues for many years . . . What readers will find here is an inspiring and compelling account of a dedicated child psychiatrist and analyst, bringing a great cultural and political divide . . . This little book is a gift."--Roger Brooke, Spring Journal


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