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Blos, P., Jr. (2000). Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond: Moses Laufer. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1997. 156 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 69(1):183-185.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(1):183-185

Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond: Moses Laufer. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1997. 156 pp.

Review by:
Peter Blos, Jr.

This slim volume has two almost equal parts. The five chapters of Part One comprise a general introduction to Moses and Eglé Laufer's concept of adolescent breakdown. This section begins with a clear description by M. Laufer of their observations and ideas about the challenges of adolescent development and the consequences when the tasks are aborted or avoided. It is really, he suggests, a “breakdown of a process of development” (p. 77), which has its antecedents in earlier neglected developmental failures; in his view it is a last opportunity for assistance before lifelong, significant distortions of character occur. Two clinically illustrative chapters follow. The chapters are written respectively by K. Mehra and E. Laufer and, though clinical example, illustrate how these developmental challenges and struggles appear specifically in male and female adolescents. M. Friedman and E. Laufer then describe the clinical vicissitudes of working with such adolescents. H. Wilson provides the final portion of Part One: a discussion of the emotional stresses and strains experienced by the helping person.

Part Two presents the proceedings of the Brent Adolescent Centre's 1995 conference, and it is from this event that the book derives its name, Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond. Once again M. Laufer begins the discussion, this time by defining breakdown in juxtaposition with the normative tasks of adolescent development. This is followed by D. B. Bellman's paper on “Pre-Therapy” and S.

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