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Paz, C.A. Olmos De Paz, T. (1992). Adolescence and Borderline Pathology: Characteristics of the Relevant Psychoanalytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:739-755.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:739-755

Adolescence and Borderline Pathology: Characteristics of the Relevant Psychoanalytic Process

Carlos Alberto Paz and Teresa Olmos De Paz


We have long been concerned with the study and definition of borderline pathology. As a result of our many years of experience in different situations in this field, we realized that a characterization of its specific features in childhood, adolescence and adulthood was necessary.

For this reason, the main objective of our research has been to discover the possible characteristic features of these structures in adolescence. The basis and point of departure of our task was that we already possessed a set of features which we had found to be specific to these structures in adult clinical psychoanalytic practice (Paz et al., 1976–77).

Our thinking about borderline adolescents led us to conclude that it was essential to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the adolescent process, whereby we would then be able to characterize a pathology in which very different levels of development and functioning are superimposed.

A critical review of the principal contributions on this subject confirmed the validity of our approach. Our experience is illustrated by the cases of two borderline adolescents, which also enable us to discuss some controversial points such as analysability and the development accruing from the psychoanalytic technique.


We enquired in 1980 whether there was an internationally accepted definition of the borderline patient, with similar case histories, shared theories and a basic consensus as to the genesis of the condition and its therapeutic accessibility.

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