Catherine Chabert : from the act to the stage, psychodrama with adolescents

Starting with a critique of the term « addictive conducts », the author proposes a metapsychological reflection centered upon the repetition compulsion and its effects in adolescence, more precisely in anorexic pathologies. The clinical study of the therapeutic process deployed in psychodrama in the treatment of an adolescent girl with severe anorexia is built around theoretical constructions concerning the dialectic of internal and external perceptions. The essential question is that of the over-investment of external perceptions – of which narcissism is constituted – to the detriment of internal perceptions, which are considered to be intricately tied to the affects that constitute the « raw material » of the transference.
The second part of the article is devoted to analytical psychodrama, its value and its functions in such situations: the fragmentation of the transference, the play of doubles, and the putting into words of affects all offer ways to deal with drive violence, insofar as the method ensures the connection between images and words, when the affects are barred off, imprisoned or even stifled. Thus psychodrama traces the path of the effective experience of breakdown in its twofold aspect, as witness to both early infantile distress and to the loneliness of the Œdipal stage.

Adolescence, 2008, T. 26, n°4, pp. 941-957.