The bodily transformations associated with the psychical processes of the pubertaire lead adolescents within their group to latch onto fashions in clothing and ornament, in order to differentiate and individualize themselves. Among these fashions, youngsters are attracted to some more marginal movements, like the gothic style. These adolescents’ bodies then become a theater stage, where the play being enacted resonates with their own history, which is sometimes a traumatic one. Moreover, other youngsters make a spectacle of their own body, but the narration seems stuck, as though there were a disassociation between the body and the mind. In light of some clinical vignettes, the authors will attempt to develop the relations between the use of the body and the pubertaire dynamic of the process of individuation/separation within the problematic of the borderline personality: when thought is short-circuited, corporal expression is brought to the fore. But this kind of expression does not always elicit the same reaction in the clinician: he will be able – or not be able – to think, to associate, to induce a different transference relation. Lastly, these comments will as a whole make reference to some artistic works that have broached this subject, in particular Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Perrault’s Peau d’âne, and Goya’s La Maja Desnuda.
From the various reception modalities in the adolescents units (« Maisons des Adolescents »), the authors propose to define a reception position that partakes of the ethics of a clinical approach. They stress how the request for treatment the « Maisons des Adolescents » have to be heard. It seems essential to differentiate between the application made by the youth himself and the request made by the family and social circle. They also stress the fact of taking the situation at face value in order to decrypt the contents of the application, both manifest and latent. This position is expected to make a symbolic break and relocate references regarding the difference between the sexes and generations. Emphasis is placed on the notion of reference, which, coupled with a position of auxiliary ego, is likely to reintroduce a third party. This reception position cannot be conceived without job training of the multidisciplinary teams who should establish a clinic where the unknown, to which everyone is subject, can be shared.