After having specified the central theoretical problematics in the latency period, the paper underscores the fact that latency is a period unlike others, and is the result of a co-construction between the child and adults. Starting from there, we can consider that suicide attempts in preadolescence for which the current increase in rates in Western societies is undeniable can perhaps be related to the fact that babies are no longer allowed enough time to be babies
Adolescence, 2016, 34, 2, 385-403.
Adolescence is part of a specific approach of time which upheavals the ontogenetic development of the being. In that sense, it becomes a morphogenetical catastrophe that has to be assimilated by the subject. Being a fundamentally structuring stage of development on the psychological level, it takes into account former experiences and points of breaking up. However, pain does not systematically mean breakdown or crisis though it normally partakes to a morbid interpretation.
The preliminary and early encounter with the sexual in the framework of a sexual assault having taken place during the latency period alters the traditional unfolding of the psychological balance. On the social level, such a preliminary emotional experience entails a specific perception of a catastrophic nature and most of the times does it inscribe the experience within a destructive vision, i.e. altering the totality of the elements that are part of the subject’s psychological stability. However, the taking over of this experience of the sexual as a life experience were not to be understood as an involution process or as a damming of the psychological evolution but were to be understood in terms of a stage that would have to be taken an account of in the successive unfolding of the catastrophes inscribed within human ontogenesis, thus connotating more specifically the stage of adolescence, itself being a specific time within the revelation of the sexual attempt. The latter would then become a moment of personalization by the subject of what is to him specifically an intimate catastrophe.
In order to answer such a question, the author wishes to ponder over the evolution of the specificities of both children and adolescents in the past fifteen years in the Western countries and in France in particular. She concludes in stressing a progressive wiping out of the several specificities of the latency period, of puberty and of the second period of adolescence. Such a conclusion is loaded with consequences since it questions in a totally new approach the whole erection of repression and biphasism of post-Oedipian identifications as they were described by Freud.
From the point of view of the present training of the psychoanalyst roughly speaking, she suggests that the pattern of child psychoanalysis should remain the princeps pattern, thus being followed by adolescent psychoanalysis without opposing the one to the other in any other way but the very psychological structures of the subjects to which such patterns are meant to refer.
The rearrangement of identifications in the young girl as she moves from the end of childhood into adolescence is illustrated using elements from a study of preadolescents and their future development, a study carried out by means of interviews and projective methods. While the prepubescent and pubescent girls had the same average age, there are radical differences in the mutation of envelope femininity into orifice femininity depending on whether the girls have begun to menstruate or not ; this confirms the validity of hypotheses about the pubertaire proposed by Philippe Gutton. At the same time, psychical movements of separation from parental images take shape, providing a springboard towards subjectivation.