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Laufer, M. (1978). The Nature of Adolescent Pathology and the Psychoanalytic Process. Psychoanal. St. Child, 33:307-322.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 33:307-322

The Nature of Adolescent Pathology and the Psychoanalytic Process

Moses Laufer, Ph.D.

MUCH OF OUR UNDERSTANDING OF ADOLESCENCE AND OF adolescent pathology has relied on our insights gained from child development and from adult pathology. Although this is understandable within the context of the history of the development of psychoanalytic thought, there is the danger that we adapt what we know about child and adult pathology so that it fits the ill adolescent's behavior. The severe limitations of such an approach or of such a view of pathology can be seen in the manifold efforts (to my mind, rather unsuccessful) of various people who work with the seriously disturbed adolescent by introducing a variety of therapeutic methods and techniques and assuming that these innovations or changes will yield the answer to adolescent pathology and to the cure of the ill adolescent. The danger is that when these do not work, we say that the adolescent and the adolescent process do not lend themselves to analytic help, rather than ask ourselves what it is that we know and where it is that we are working blindly.


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