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Blos, P., Sr. Shane, M. (1981). Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the "More Disturbed" Adolescent. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 29:161-175.

(1981). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 29:161-175

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the "More Disturbed" Adolescent

Peter Blos, Sr., M.D. and Morton Shane, M.D.

Peter Blos identified as the task of the panel to discuss "the widening scope" of adolescent analytic therapy: how to salvage from a catastrophic or abortive adolescence a degree of ego cohesion which would enable the young patient to navigate with reasonable safety through the vagaries of life.

Blos noted that historically child analysis began before adolescent analysis. Adult analysis had led the child analyst to expect to find what was first discovered in work with the adult. The same cannot be said about the adolescent analyst, because adult analysis had either largely ignored the patient's adolescence, or had viewed adolescence as a simple reactivation of childhood conflicts. The centrality of the Oedipus complex had been called into question in the analysis of adolescents and two additional and formidable sources of adolescent pathology were brought to the adolescent analyst's attention: One is Blos's proposition that the adolescent is confronted with the vicissitudes of the negative Oedipus complex and its resolution; the other is Freud's contention regarding the significance of preoedipality. It was Sigfried Bernfeld who pointed out the similarity of adolescence to incipient psychosis. In Blos's experience, rarely does the analysis of an adolescent, especially a late adolescent, not raise the question, if only fleetingly, as to whether the disturbance is not "more" than a neurotic one. It is here that a relationship with a "good enough" analyst can protect the patient as he encounters his primitive chaotic inner world.

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