New Books In Psychoanalysis

Gillian Straker and Jacqui Winship, "The Talking Cure: Normal People, their Hidden Struggles and the Life-Changing Power of Therapy" (Macmillan, 2019)



Gillian Straker’s name has long been on my radar, particularly for the ways in which she has used psychoanalytic thought to contend with the vicissitudes of apartheid and its aftermath in her home country, South Africa. But she has also made use of what apartheid taught her about the human mind. Indeed, there is much for psychoanalysis to learn from apartheid. For over 20 years, Straker has published, largely in relational journals, about racism, and the ways in which living under the extremes of racist duress take their particular toll. (It is high time for those articles to be collected and published.) Straker begins with trauma and dissociation—and the work of thinkers like Donnell Stern on unformulated experience gird some of her thinking. But she also turns to minds outside the field as well to elaborate certain ideas that pertain to fetishism, morality, mutuality, and perversion—foremost among them Bourdieu, Butler and Bhabha. Straker’s reflections on her own capacity to block from consciousness the dam