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Shopper, M. (1997). The Suicidal Adolescent. : Edited by Moses Laufer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1995. Pp. 154.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:407-409.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:407-409

The Suicidal Adolescent. : Edited by Moses Laufer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1995. Pp. 154.

Review by:
Moisy Shopper

Moses Laufer, director of the Brent Adolescent Centre (Centre for Research into Adolescent Breakdown) in London, has gathered papers from staff and former staff to address the serious problem of adolescent suicide. Their walk-in clinic and therapeutic services form the basis of their clinical research. Five of the eleven chapters are the proceedings of a 1993 conference on ‘The Suicidal Adolescent’. Of the thirty-two references, all but the four written by the Laufers are pre-1976. The latest reference is their 1984 book. The references are solely analytic; many are familiar classics and speak to the somewhat isolated and inbred nature of this book. Nevertheless, a professional lifetime of clinical experience and focused thoughtfulness of Centre staff provides us with an in-depth view of the adolescent process gone awry. As the editor of the book is the director and senior analyst at the Centre, it is not surprising to find a rather high degree of uniformity of opinion, viewpoints, and emphasis.

According to the authors, the Centre's first and crucial diagnostic task is to distinguish between the normal temporary developmental stresses occurring in adolescence and those problems that are the harbingers of serious and often far-reaching pathology. Laufer presents eight criteria that he uses to evaluate the adolescent. Almost as an afterthought, he suggests an additional criterion: the analyst's personal reaction to the adolescent. Since adolescents characteristically evoke strong and counterproductive adult reactions, I would have welcomed greater elaboration on this criterion.

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