Original Articles

The Assessment and Treatment of Post-Abortion Syndrome: A Systematic Case Study From Southern Africa


Abstract

This article reports a clinical case study of “Grace”, a black Zimbabwean woman with post-abortion syndrome (PAS), a form of post-traumatic stress disorder precipitated by aborting an unwanted pregnancy. She was treated by a middle class white South African trainee Clinical Psychologist. The case narrative documents the assessment and the course of treatment which was guided by ongoing case formulation based on current evidence-based models. Factors that made her vulnerable to developing PTSD included active suppression of the memory of the event and lack of social support. An understanding of these factors was used to guide an effective intervention. In spite of the differences in culture and background between client and therapist, there was considerable commonality in their experience as young women and students who each had to balance personal and occupational priorities. The narrative also highlights the commonalities of Grace's experiences with those reported in the literature on post-abortion syndrome, which is mostly from the U. S. A. and Europe.

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