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Kernberg, P.F. (1998). Sexuality in the Analysis of Adolescents: its Impact on the Transference-Countertransference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:366-367.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:366-367

Sexuality in the Analysis of Adolescents: its Impact on the Transference-Countertransference

Paulina F. Kernberg

Chaired by:
Peter Blos, Jr.

Moderated by:
Colette Chiland

The panel as a whole achieved its goal of high-lighting particular countertransferences elicited in the analysis of adolescents.

For Chiland, the analysis of adolescents is reminiscent of many adults who, in their initial stages of analysis, experience a sense of multiple potentialities. She suggested that the impact of a young patient, who can be, or is, sexually active brings with it a powerful effect upon the quality and intensity of the countertransference. The choice of the gender and age of the analyst may well be left to the adolescent patient; its meaning, analysed later. It is important that the analyst be ‘natural’ within his role. Trespassing sexual boundaries have been reported more in men than in women therapists. However, as illustrated by Chiland's own clinical example, women therapists are by no means excluded.

Because of the relative sexual freedom of adolescents at this point in history, envy elicited in the analyst may threaten the analyst's objective neutrality, not only in terms of equidistance between ego and superego, but taking sides with the parent or the patient. Thus, parameters of technique, such as placing limits to acting out, may be essential for analysis to take place. Last, but not least, ideological movements in the case of homosexuality in adolescence pose another obstacle in the analyst's objective stance.

Agnetta Sandell presented the case of A, a 14-year-old boy (read by Dr Johan Norman). It described a female analyst under the impact, not only of the patient's erotised transference, but also as the target of the transference re-enactment of a 14-year-old adolescent who had been, by his report, sexually abused by his mother.

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