The revue Adolescence has also been a place of controversy. Through these controversies, the issue of the continuity of therapeutic work in the clinical field of adolescence has been the aim. The confrontation of different ways of thinking provided an indispensable context for the reworking of notions that clinical practice cannot confirm once and for all. This subject is treated with reference to two colloquia, one on homosexuality, the other on psychosis in adolescence. Calling upon authors both from the field of adolescence and the more restricted field of the revue, we complete this overview of notions of controversy and engagement. It is through these that issues of the therapist’s technical and personal values will also be evoked.
The postural straightening (Aufrichtung) of our ancestors marks, according to Freud, the beginning of the process of Kultur. This rising up echoes a rite in the relation with the earth (and otherwise universal) : the father lifting his son from the ground to recognize him. Athenian ceramists represent this second figure as a teenager and philosophy illustrates this gesture as a native political structure. The author suggests this intrinsic double valence (recognition and submission), which binds this arbitrary father and his adolescent son as a kind of a metaphor for the birth of politics. The aim is both to identify the violence inherent to a political project and its necessary collective management, bound to this ancient complicity with the Earth of origins, from which we must necessarily free ourselves.
François and his father, sharing a first name, form a duo with paranoiac functioning. With the onset of puberty, this system broke down. François was treated in a day hospital. The institutional psychoanalytic psychotherapy offers necessary flexibility, especially salutary opportunities to adapt the treatment setting. This work carried out as a team helped to develop a particular approach to this family.
After a severe post-traumatic anorexia, Imane, aged seventeen, started an analytical psychotherapy in an institution, the beginning of was chaotic. A dream featuring a fantasy of ingestion of maternal black milk helped start a mutation. The transfer acted as support to the setting in motion and the elaboration of several identifications with the aggressor.
For adolescents evolving in treatments for “ attacks on the body ”, it is indispensable to work on the therapeutic setting in a very specific way. The use of institutional space allows them to find possibilities for investing transference spaces free of any paradoxical or harmful potential. The gamble on therapeutic effects is ambitious and complex, for the caregivers as much as for the youngsters. The necessity of taking into account the parent’s suffering, especially in its pubertary dimension, is indispensable to the success of the adolescent’s treatment plan.
Some hours after a psychological examination that showed no disquieting signs, a teenager who had been placed in a group home tried to commit suicide with her boyfriend. After this passage to the suicidal act, we wanted to rethink this case in the light of works linking suicidal vulnerability and depression. Having hoped to find in the protocols of the projective tests (Rorschach, TAT), clinical signs of the acting out, we noticed instead an inclination toward the bleaching of affects and feelings, just as had appeared during the gathering of anamnesic data and experienced within the clinical relation. A finer reading of protocols reveals under the appearance of a white depression a vulnerability which required individual psychotherapy.
A clinical case is used to highlight the actualisation process of working through trauma during adolescence. This is based upon three scenes experienced by the subject: the aggression scene, the transference scene, the graphical figuration scene. Analysis of these scenes enables us to promote the theory of working through trauma as an effective psychotherapeutic approach to care.
Family consultations with the L. family revealed how adolescent processes constitute a sort of vector which gives shape to different drive activity within the family. Analysis of the family’s psychical metabolism, sibling disputes, the impact of inter-generational, transgenerational, and extra-familial conflicts, showed that the adolescent processes in Thomas, Mme. L.’s thirteen year-old son from a previous marriage, exercised a kind of attraction over the family’s implicit violence. The inner rupture of development in the young teenager also causes a rupture of unconscious alliances among the members of this family.
The female pubertary is composed of the new things that surprise every adolescent girl at the time of the first menses, not only in her body but also and above all in her psychical life. This complex psychical process explores, among other things, the quality of the father’s gaze which follows the evolution of the organization of genital sexuality in his adolescent daughter. This work deals with a rather neglected aspect of the relation between daughter and father. In the analytic treatment of adolescents weak fathers, absent or even violent,can often be the object of huge protective movements and positive judgments on the part of their daughters, who’ll do anything to place the paternal image on a pedestal. In these cases, the Œdipal father seems to have to be kept alive and promoted in order to fulfil his function sufficiently. Indeed, it is only under such conditions that the parricidal fantasy may be fully recognized, its symbolic value fully elaborated, and the Œdipal father can disappear over the horizon.
Reference to psychoanalytic treatment in the therapeutic approach to adolescence must necessarily take into account all the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that come into play in the optimalizing the therapeutic arrangement. Some characteristics of adolescence (economic system of crisis, topical re-handling of the “ new dependency ”, natural status of transference introjections) contribute to cast a light on the sometimes crucial stakes and the dynamic potentiality specific to the encounter with the adolescent. The assessment – which is sometimes instantaneous and reciprocal – cannot easily be dissociated from the identifying process, and the enunciation of the conventional setting for new appointments cannot operate from the sometimes magical position the adolescent allots us through transference. An “ ordinary ” type of consultation and its commentary illustrate that theme of the meeting point.