Mental Slavery is a unique and timely contribution to the field of trans-cultural psychoanalysis, casting light on an area previously neglected within mainstream psychoanalytic writing. The author examines the complex effects of the experience of slavery and its impact on generations of Caribbean people, with particular reference to families who have settled in the UK. She brings many subtle insights to a fascinating subject, drawing on her detailed knowledge of many Caribbean cultures, both past and present. Through vivid examples from her clinical practice, the author argues for a much wider perspective on the issues presented by Caribbean patients, and the role played in these by the historical past. Misunderstanding of Caribbean patients which, formerly, had been blamed on racist attitudes on the part of the therapist, is here revealed in a new light. Although the author does not deny that racist attitudes exist, throughout her book she presents a powerful case for a more discerning approach to both the negative and positive aspects of the Caribbean experience.
Barbara Fletchman Smith