Black and White Witchcraft: A Cultural Crossroads in Paris Inspires Therapeutic Innovation

by Tamar Kaim, MA[1]

  Monsieur D. arrives at the Centre Georges Devereux

Monsieur D. was a successful chemistry professor at a West African university and a respected community leader until the day he parked in his garage, stepped out of the car, and was shot in the head. Miraculously, he survived to be transported to a hospital in France for immediate surgery. There he stayed for several months, alternately unconscious and delirious, until one day he was found lying on the grounds outside the hospital, having somehow "fallen" from the un-openable window of his fourth story room. With only a fractured back, Monsieur D. remained, miraculously, alive.
Now, a year and a half after his arrival in France, Monsieur D. sits in the Centre Georges Devereux, an ethnopsychiatry clinic in Paris. Congregating around him, a group of professionals and student interns face the task of sorting out his past in order to assure his future. Observing this calm, dignified man from across the room, I have no inkling that our interactions will have such a profound impact on my understanding of psychotherapeutic intervention. His face and ears are heavily scarred, one eye is a deformed mess and the other barely able to perceive moving shadows, but he has fully regained his intellectual faculties and participates readily in the discussion. Meanwhile, his baby daughter gurgles and bounces energetically in the arms of her mother, who followed Monsieur D. to France when she could get no news of him and feared the worst.

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[1]. About Tamar Kaim, MA
Tamar Kaim has been conducting clinical research for a number of years in various mental health settings around the world from seeking the genes associated with bipolar disorder in Massachusetts to her work with African immigrants in Paris, France, to most recently, a study of intercultural mediators working with Moroccan psychiatric patients in Belgium, .
Tamar has a BA in Psychology and French from Amherst College and an MA in Intercultural Conflict Management from Alice Salomon University in Berlin, Germany with a focus on mental health care for immigrant populations. Contact Tamar

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