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Journal of Poetry Therapy

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 117–122 | Cite as

The Use of Poetry in a Psychological Autopsy into the Death of a Political Prisoner

  • Michael A. Simpson
Article
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Abstract

The Psychological Autopsy is a technique used for exploring the likely cause of ambiguous deaths. For an inquest into the death in custody under suspicious circumstances of a South African political prisoner; unique use of poetry written by the victim, including verses found in his possession at the time of death, was used to reconstruct his attitudes and led the author to conclude that suicide was a most unlikely explanation for his death, which was far more likely to be due to murder or neglect.

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References

  1. Simpson, M. A. (1993a). Poems and notes by Donald Madisha, South African detainee. Torture, 5, (4), 125–130.Google Scholar
  2. Simpson, M. A. (1993b). Bitter waters: Effects on children of the stresses of unrest and oppression. In: J. P. Wilson, & B. Raphael (Eds.), International handbook of traumatic stress syndromes (pp. 601–624). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Simpson, M. A (1993c). Traumatic stress and the bruising of the soul: The effects of torture and coercive interrogation. In: J. P. Wilson & B. Raphael (Eds.), International handbook of traumatic stress syndromes (pp. 667–684). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Simpson, M. A. (in press). What went wrong? Diagnostic and ethical problems in dealing with the effects of torture and repression in South Africa. In: R. J. Kleber, C. R. Figley, & B. Gersons. (Eds.), Beyond trauma: Selected papers from the First World Conference on Traumatic Stress. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Psychosocial & Traumatic StressPretoriaSouth Africa

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