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Lombardi, R. Pola, M. (2010). The Body, Adolescence, and Psychosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 91(6):1419-1444.

(2010). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 91(6):1419-1444

The Body, Adolescence, and Psychosis Language Translation

Riccardo Lombardi and Marisa Pola

(Final version accepted 8 July 2010)

This article explores aspects of the clinical development of a male 17 year-old patient who had four weekly sessions of psychoanalysis during an acute psychotic crisis. In the context of arrested adolescent development, a psychotic crisis can present an opportunity to set the process of maturation in motion again. Adolescent psychosis is examined in the light of Bion's theories of catastrophic change — in which the container/contained relationship becomes explosive and overwhelming — as well as of Ferrari's and Matte Blanco's hypotheses on the mind—body relationship. The authors emphasize the role of denial of the body and its changes in the genesis of adolescent psychotic conflict, and show how the analytic relationship can offer crucial reverie conditions for promoting recognition of the body, bodily sensations and affects, as a prerequisite for the activation of an autonomous mental system. This clinical approach entails recognizing the urgent need to make room for the elaboration of intrasubjective relationships and for mind—body dialogue, transference interpretations being postponed. Clinical material and fragments of analytic dialogue illustrate the authors' hypotheses and demonstrate the patient's development towards recognition of his body and an incipient capacity to think associated with the perception of the limits set by time and reality.

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