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Rocha Barros, E.D. Lieberman, J.S. (2000). The Search For Meaning In The Affective Expressions Of The Adolescent Patient. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):324-327.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):324-327

The Search For Meaning In The Affective Expressions Of The Adolescent Patient

Elizabeth Lima Da Rocha Barros and Janice S. Lieberman

Peter Blos, Jr, the Co-ordinator, who put together this panel of experts on adolescence, briefly introduced the speakers and turned the meeting over to the Moderator. In a broad-based overview introducing the clinical work to be presented by two members of the panel, Elizabeth da Rocha Barros described this as an opportunity for analysts from different theoretical orientations, different countries, different languages and different clinical and conceptual languages to search for common ground and to understand differences in the ways meaning in mental life is conceived. The mind is organised around constellations of affects, or emotions, which give meaning to our experiences and psychoanalytic theory was built around the idea that mental organisations have meaning. Emotional situations, in order to become thinkable and communicable, therefore, must be transformed into symbols. Emotional experiences are not organised by chance, but are structured partly innately and partly as a result of life experiences. The analyst' task is to make mental representations of emotional situations visible and to rearticulate meanings from distinct symbolic spheres. This then opens up possibilities for new experiences and creates new meanings that expand the capacity for emotional development. Interpretations then should be both revealing and creative.

Rocha Barros then focused on the topic for this panel: the expression of affects in adolescence. She described the adolescent' need to separate from the family (no longer a container) and to work through once more oedipal rivalries with parents and siblings.

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