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Silverman, M.A. (1999). Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond: Moses Laufer. Madison, WI: International Universities Press. 1997. Pp. 156. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(4):834-835.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(4):834-835

Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond: Moses Laufer. Madison, WI: International Universities Press. 1997. Pp. 156

Review by:
Martin A. Silverman

This monograph on the outpatient treatment of adolescents with serious emotional disturbance derives from the proceedings of a conference held at the Brent Adolescent Centre in London in October 1995. As the reader gradually becomes aware, the conference apparently was addressed to those in the community—school officials, primary-care physicians, clergymen, probation officers and so on—who are in a position to identify teenagers and young adults who are failing to weather the passage through the adolescent process and are sinking into serious emotional disturbance. They can direct them to help that is available to them if they recognise their need for such assistance.

The message conveyed by the book's contributors, who are past or present staff members of the Brent Centre, is two-fold. The first message is that signs of serious adolescent emotional disorder are too easily overlooked. Wishful thinking can lead to the erroneous assumption that left to their own devices the youngsters will ‘outgrow’ their problems. On the other hand, anxiety about the seriousness of the problems can propel an observer into denying dangers that urgently needed to be heeded. Concern for the discrepancy between the large number of youngsters in need of assistance and the limited resources available to meet their needs also can lead to such helplessness and paralysis that steps are not taken to offer assistance to at least some of them.

The second message is that courageous, competent, adequately trained professionals can provide an array of psychological services that can greatly assist even extremely troubled adolescents.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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