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Miller, J.M. (1998). Adolescent Development, Psychopathology, and Treatment. By H. Spencer Bloch, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1995. 417 pp. Psychoanal Q., 67(4):723-726.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(4):723-726

Adolescent Development, Psychopathology, and Treatment. By H. Spencer Bloch, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1995. 417 pp

Review by:
Jill M. Miller

In his acknowledgments Bloch describes his aim of writing “an easy-reading, clinically oriented text that enunciated the long-standing view of adolescent development, discussed the challenges to that theory, summarized relevant contributions from other fields” and “attempted to reconcile those of the older and newer findings … into a view of the developmental process—a view which provides understanding of how psychopathology develops during adolescence and thus how therapeutic interventions can be oriented” (p. viii). He has succeeded in providing the reader with a comprehensive and integrative text, clearly meeting his aims.

Some have conceptualized development as proceeding in a stepwise progression through a series of stages with the aim of mastering stage-specific tasks. In contrast, Bloch proposes that development is a continuous process in which dynamic configurations of personality characteristics evolve gradually throughout the life cycle. According to his thesis, three basic goals are involved in adolescent development: (1) internal strivings to complete development, (2) the need for parental sponsorship for these strivings, and (3) the wish to retain a positive relationship with parents.

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