The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - LESEGO MAKGATHO [email protected]

CLIN­I­CAL psy­chol­o­gist Dr Kga­madi Kometsi said mal­adap­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal be­hav­iour is caused by a va­ri­ety of things so no one sin­gle thing would have caused what hap­pened.

“In most cases for some­thing as hec­tic as that to hap­pen, one would’ve needed to lose con­tact with re­al­ity be­cause do­ing some­thing like that while in full con­tact with re­al­ity would be com­pletely over­whelm­ing for a nor­mal per­son.

“She might have lost con­tact with re­al­ity be­cause of what­ever chal­lenges she might have had in her life be­cause of men­tal ill­ness per­haps as it’s not quite clear what has hap­pened,” said Kometsi.

He pointed out that los­ing con­tact with re­al­ity is some form of psy­chosis and it would be dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose her with­out hav­ing sat down with her. Kometsi said these kinds of cases are com­mon in psy­chi­atric in­sti­tu­tions. “I’ve done work in the cor­rec­tional ser­vices for a num­ber of years where peo­ple com­mit­ted such crimes.

The end­ing of a per­son’s life is one of the most dif­fi­cult things to deal with when you are hav­ing to as­sist the per­pe­tra­tor to re­ha­bil­i­tate and be­come a dif­fer­ent per­son. In com­mit­ting this kind of act, in most cases, there needs to be some kind of psy­chosis un­less we are talk­ing about some­one who is a com­plete psy­chopath.”

He is cau­tion­ing against jump­ing to con­clu­sions. “It’s not my sense that this par­tic­u­lar mother could have been a psy­chopath. She might have been fac­ing a moun­tain of chal­lenges and dif­fi­cul­ties that might have landed her where she ended up,” he said, call­ing for so­ci­ety not to be quick to pass judg­ment.

“We need to gain an un­der­stand­ing of what is hap­pen­ing in our so­ci­ety that is re­sult­ing in these kinds of acts. A multi-dis­ci­plinary ap­proach is needed where churches, com­mu­nity lead­ers and health­care pro­fes­sion­als join hands to pro­vide the as­sis­tance that is needed.”

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