The support of an Œdipal father appears to be a strongly present factor in the actual treatment of the adult and the adolescent. The author analyzes this relationship with the father as refusal of the pubertaire passage, which necessitates the bringing down of the father in order to make better use of him in one’s adult relations with enjoyment and pleasure. The present social bond which makes the father and his decline the center of the « transformation » of the world thus constructs an impasse for the subject in his passage towards adult life.
The treatment of so-called adult subjects is often punctuated with references to a period of time which they call their adolescence. We shall start from a postulate: the moment of adolescence could be defined as the time when the child fantasy is recast. The psychical work of the becoming-adult could then be grasped as the moment when this refashioned construction can be examined. The solidity of this construction could then be put to the test, or else its faults could be fathomed so as to attempt a new construction. We shall endeavour to illustrate this through various clinical cases.
Starting with considerations based on his psychoanalytical practice with teenagers, the author proposes a theorization of psychical issues in terms of « scenality/obscenality ». He shows the central importance of primal fantasies and the function of the intruder in the construction of intimacy and identity, as well as the relationship to the other and more than another. He then goes on to proposes a specific reading of psychoanalytical settings in terms of transformational group, of the internal scenalities and groupalities.
A teenager followed in a day hospital presents transitory behavior that causes an « hysterization » of the counter-transference in certain women who deal with him. This behavior is linked with the sexual traumatic problems present in his family. It allows him to remobilize drive activity experienced as threatening for his psychical integrity, and to interiorize the female components of this drive activity.
As he retraces the treatment of one of his female patients, the author seeks to show the vicissitudes of the transference relation up until the moment when the analytic unbinding permits the patient to leave analysis. The tipping point occurs when the analyst attempts to revisit within the counter-transference the consensual relations of the latency period. The patient, whose functioning has been hampered since puberty, then consents to question the parental images of her pre-adolescence and finds a new dynamic, leading her to discover the structural elements of her personality. The author emphasizes the way in which the analyst is led to displace himself within the treatment, finally adopting the position of a witness, which enables him to remove himself from the process of idealization in which his patient tends to enclose herself and to get her out of the precarious situation in which the psychoanalytical situation had closed her. The author explains to what extent, in the counter-transference, his own anxieties and the expression of his sometimes dizzying position enables his patient to journey through her pre-adolescence.
Adolescence puts the course of early development back into play and works towards the expansion of the psychical apparatus. At puberty, the adolescent is called to provided himself and others with a stable narration (though it may be reworked) of his history and his childhood. The elaboration of puberty entails complex and difficult psychical work, and exposes one to the organization of a psychopathology.
In the borderline adolescent especially, the needs of evolution activate anxiety and conflict in a significant way. The conflict is born of traumatic cores from the past which, on the one hand, generate the fear of re-living fragmentation and, on the other hand, the expectation of the inevitable and continual actualization of the traumatic experience.
The analyst then is responding to the adolescent’s difficult process of becoming aware of himself (his difficulty in making his affective states legible for himself and others) as well as to his perception of not having enough « auto » psychical processus (empty and chaotic feeling of self) through a lengthy self-analytical work. This is the start of knowing and transforming the therapeutic relation which is continually at risk of shutting itself up in confused unity and an endless mirroring function.
We believe that the resurgence of the adolescent process in the adult treatment is not simply a mode of regressive, defensive functioning, but rather an ever active mode of functioning that can result from highly secondarized ways of functioning. The hypothesis is that one never repeats, in the proper sense of the term, in an identical way, but that there is always a conjunction with one’s current mode of being. What is really modified is the passage from growing up to growing old. Adult functioning must pass through the filter of adolescence, not only genitalitized sexualization that this implies, but also a temporal organization that includes death.
Agnès, who is in her fifties, is thinking about ending her analysis, but would like to understand why deep inside she still has the contradictory impression of being a victim, all the while feeling terribly guilty. Then she has a dream wherein she replays the way she experienced her puberty. The analysis of this dream, and of another, focused on separation, leads her perceive that she had a bad experience of this crucial moment because of her excessive attachment to her mother and because she shut herself up inside her contradictions.
The experience of the pubertaire has a central place in the treatment of the adult. It is the trace out of which the dream and the psychical work of the adolescens develop. Affirming and confirming its innovative value in the revisiting of childhood sexuality inspires images in dreams in the wake of adolescent subjectivation. This point of view justifies interventions aimed at deconstructing infantile phallic theories whose rigidity is liable to stifle the pubertaire.