Social Science

   

Sleeping on the Enemy's Couch: Psychotherapy Across Ethnic Boundaries in Israel

Authors: Ramzi Suleiman, Yifat Agat-Galili

This paper discusses the impact of the Jewish-Arab conflict on overt and covert layers of therapeutic encounters that take place across boundaries between the two nationalities. We refer mainly to the prevalent case of Arab patients treated by Jewish therapists. We discuss the implications of intergroup tension, cultural differences, and status disparities on the therapeutic dynamics. Our focus is on the effect of these variables on the processes of transference and counter-transference, on perceptions and interpretations of behaviors, on sources of resistance, and on the inability of therapists to take the patients’ perspective. Side by side with the psychoanalytical approach, the article utilizes various social-psychological theories, mainly social identity theory, in deriving insights regarding tensions between the interpersonal/therapeutic dimension and the intergroup dimension. Recommendations for improving therapies in the discussed case are suggested.

Comments: 23 Pages. The paper is forthcoming in Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology

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Submission history

[v1] 2014-09-30 18:12:36

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