Nkisi Nkondi: the trace of transference in the analytic relationship

Conference paper


Henderson, D. 2014. Nkisi Nkondi: the trace of transference in the analytic relationship. Psychotherapy Meets Africa: 7th World Congress for Psychotherapy. Durban, South Africa 25 - 29 Aug 2014
TypeConference paper
TitleNkisi Nkondi: the trace of transference in the analytic relationship
AuthorsHenderson, D.
Abstract

This paper uses the image of the Nkisi Nkondi, of southern Congo and Northern Angola, to illuminate aspects of the transference and countertransference in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The Nkisi Nkondi houses a spirit, which is invoked by the healer. Supplicants hammer nails into the statue to express wishes and seal agreements. The image of the nail fetish enables us to conceptualise important features of the patient’s desire. The image helps the therapist to appreciate forces involved in the construction of the analytic relationship and how power is deployed in the transference. In addition it allows for an expanded understanding of temporality and memory in the analytic process. Dana Rush maintains that in African aesthetics, “the seemingly contradictory ideas of the ephemeral (impermanent, fleeting, short-lived) and the unfinished (on-going, enduring, never-ending) merge in a dialectic that maintains the requisite tension between the two.” This coincidence of the ephemeral and the unfinished is also a feature of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Research GroupCentre for Psychoanalysis
ConferencePsychotherapy Meets Africa: 7th World Congress for Psychotherapy
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Sep 2014
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)http://wcp2014.com
LanguageEnglish
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