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Hurley, A. Bailey, T. (2012). Editorial. J. Child Psychother., 38(2):109-110.

(2012). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 38(2):109-110



Anne Hurley and Teresa Bailey

We are pleased to present this issue of the Journal, which contains a variety of articles that reflect the clinical and research interests of child psychotherapists as well as the diverse settings in which we work.

The first three articles are themed around the topic of working with adolescents who are presenting with high risk of self-harm, suicide and other dangerous behaviour. The leading article by Janet Shaw uses Betty Joseph's concept of ‘addiction to near death’ to describe the treatment of an adolescent girl who has had to resort to a sado-masochistic way of relating in order to retreat from adult genital sexuality. The paper shows the link between the growing strength of sadism and masochism in adolescence and its contribution to the high risk and destructive behaviour seen in more disturbed adolescents. The clinical material is rich and fascinating, as we follow the therapist's attempts to manage the girl's and her own powerful aggressive feelings. The author's capacity to hold on to hope for the girl is remarkable in the face of her patient's denigrating, dismissive despair.

The next two articles also concern work with highly troubled adolescents. Anderson and her co-authors describe a qualitative psychoanalytic clinical research project about young people who had harmed themselves and/or attempted suicide. On a similar subject, Witkon's article describes the struggle to engage adolescents presenting significant risk and on the brink of the care system.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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