Adolescence & Developmental Breakdown: A Psychoanalytic View by Moses Laufer;M.Egle Laufer

By Moses Laufer;M.Egle Laufer

During this e-book, Moses and Egle Laufer contend that critically disturbed kids could be assessed and handled psychoanaytically, and that their affliction differs from related disorder in older sufferers, and that the psychopathology has its conflicts over the sexually mature physique.

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But in every psychoanalytic treatment we have carried out of people with such manifest disturbances, it has been possible to formulate, as well as therapeutically important to recon­ struct, that they experienced a developmental breakdown at pu­ berty. This breakdown was lived out in some way but at a very heavy price, distorting their object relationships, forcing them to find means of fooling their consciences so as not to feel tor­ mented by their guilt about sexuality or about regressive fan­ tasy, or in some instances deadening their feelings to the point that their relation with the real world was severely hampered, sometimes to the point of presenting psychoticlike features.

We believe that in such cases several factors are at work—dissocia­ tion from one's physically mature body; sudden collapse of the oedipal identifications; failure of the defenses against the oedi­ pal aggression and the accompanying fantasies of destruction, incest, and hatred of one's own body. The guilt inherent in this process may help explain the suicides and attempted suicides of some adolescents, which we believe are aggressive attacks on the internalized parent and at the same time are attacks on the person's own body, at that moment experienced as separate from the rest of oneself and as not belonging to oneself.

When introducing the assumption about the body image and its relation to the oedipal resolution, we referred to the central masturbation fantasy. Although this fantasy exists in preoedi­ pal life as well, or so it seems, it is only during the phallic­ oedipal period that an incestuous, as distinct from a sexual, meaning is added. But only after puberty, however, we see the addition in some patients of the feeling of being compelled to behave in specific ways, with the unconscious awareness that they are no longer in control of the fantasy and its related ac­ tivities.

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