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Parens, H. (1986). Adolescence and Developmental Breakdown: A Psychoanalytic View: By Moses Laufer and M. Eglé Laufer. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1984. Pp. 225.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:522-525.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:522-525

Adolescence and Developmental Breakdown: A Psychoanalytic View: By Moses Laufer and M. Eglé Laufer. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1984. Pp. 225.

Review by:
Henri Parens

Adolescence and Developmental Breakdown is a complex, rich, provocative, and highly instructive work that will be found challenging by the analytic reader, whether experienced professional or beginning analytic student. The sweep of the book is wide and includes sections on adolescent development, pathology, and breakdown; on treatment, clinical issues, and assessment. The Laufers dedicate their book to Anna Freud. Noteworthy is the fact that Anna Freud was among those who educated us to why there are large difficulties in analysing adolescents and cautioned against the widening scope of psychoanalysis, pointing to the limitations of psychoanalytic treatment. Both issues are challenged by the Laufers.

The authors tell us that adolescence 'has a specific and essential contribution to make to psychological life' and that its disturbances need to be understood differently from those of childhood and adulthood. 'This difference rests on the fact that adolescence begins with physical sexual maturing, an event which alters the course of psychic development and gives a meaning to psychopathology during this period that is not similar dynamically to psychopathology in childhood or adulthood' (p. ix). Impressed by the 'sudden signs of mental illness' (pp.

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