Having recalled the definition of the rite not only from the anthropological, but also from a psychoanalytical point of view and the articulation between these two aspects, the author of this article seeks, first in a general way, then by focusing more specifically on adolescent processes, to make a distinction between ritual and rite. He relates the first to conservation and unbinding, while placing the second on the side of depressiveness and subjectivation, with a call for progression in a temporal interval. The rite appears to belong essentially to the symbolic function, as a waiting solution, an area of reassurance which, from a dynamic point of view has a ludic dimension through a wish to break with repetitive mechanisms. The rite, at the crossroads of circular time and linear time appears as a « meta-stable » state which seeks not so much to make sense as to avoid a too sudden exit from the world of childhood.
There is a tendency in the systemic psychiatry of mental states to consider periods of sadness or persistent discouragement in the adolescent, or even just morose states, as signs of pathology. Following the theories of D. W. Winnicott, E. Gut, P. Fédida and Ph. Gutton, we develop the dynamic viewpoint according to which the depressive movement that is inherent to mental life plays a part in the regulation of psychical life. Set in motion by loss or abandonment, it fosters the redistribution of investments, a veritable « re-affectation ». The depressed adolescent subject needs to be accompanied, not immediately treated. Although the outcome of adolescent depressiveness is usually favorable, we will examine some possible harmful outcomes, calling depression in such cases « unproductive », « death depression » or « depression of unbinding ». Two emblematic pathological figures, mental anorexia in the young girl and addictive conducts, are seen as resistances to depressiveness, which is nonetheless a key part of a process of integration. These illustrate, following the example of the dismantling of thought in psychotic depressions – desperately expressed in artistic productions – the essential role that the body plays as a constituent and a means of psychical life.
revue Adolescence, 2011, T. 29 n°4, pp. 737-745.