The authors suggest to ponder on the topic of a rise of acted violence in the adolescent population and question the psychoanalytic understanding of destructive both heteroaggressive and self‑aggressive movements. Several theoretical positions on the topic of the death instinct, or of drive unbinding or an attempt to save a feeling of identity when violence surges are analyzed briefly, followed by two clinical vignettes. From the latter cases, they try to link the intrapsychological and family links underlying the recourse to violent actings with such subjects, as related with adolescent problematics. The temporary identification dilemma is here suggested as well as the interdependence between self‑violence and violence towards the other person.
Meeting François, an elegant young man of 35, having come to ask for an analysis for he knew I had written a book on pedophilia, enabled me to cast a new light on such pedophilic practices which we had studied at length with my colleague Roger Teboul (“Entre père et fils. La prostitution homosexuelle des garçons./Between father and son. Homosexual male prostitution, Paris, P. U. F., 1988). If indeed in numerous cases of pedophilia we find on both sides, that is both on the side of the adult and on the side of the child, situations of sexual abuse and deficiencies, I felt that one more characteristic were to unite pedophiles and children, namely not only the fact that it pre‑existed but also the trans‑generational transmission of several kinds of abuse, most of the time being physical ones but also psychological ones that are far more noxious. This is the point of view with which I shall deal first starting from François’ story, as compared to previous clinical data, before questioning the impact of such abuse in the constitution of the psyche within its several psychopathological aspects. But questioning abuse cannot eschew the problematics of incest with its unavoidable trans‑generational transmission when no therapy is available, hence a complementary feld of research remains open. Finally, when one is able to put the pedophilic “choice” with a personal story in terms of repeated abuse, often not acknowledged as such gives a new element in favour of arguing that pedophiles can indeed be cured and no longer remains a planned fate for those children who were once victims.
The understanding of the clinical and therapeutical approach of severe behaviour disorders in terms of rape and murder with some adolescents is here studied from the point of view of projective techniques. The specificity of T.A.T. protocoles shows the temporary efficiency of splitting at work with such adolescents but also its failure when the representation of object‑loss is appealed to, hence summoning up a huge abandonment and annihilation anxiety which will entail drive defusion. The tonality of an internal lethal void is hence unfolded within a narcissism constantly threatened by being broken down into pieces.
The increase of sexual aggressions committed by adolescents, and more specifically when they are gathered together, demands a clinical, psychopathological, metapsychological and anthropological research hereby introduced. The present feeling of uneasiness within the social link, the change in values and, above all, the “ new ” sexuality as promoted in our societies entail new perverse behaviours, with ordinary adolescents according to a psychopathology that only evidences a difficulty in associating the Œdipian forbiddings and the demands of the collective superego.
The French study on sexual aggressors that took place between 1993 and 1996 in eighteen regional medico‑psychological wards compares two kinds of pupulations. One of sexual aggressors and another of aggressors in terms of voluntary blows (witnesses). Such a study shows that the sexual aggressors had been in the past children and adolescents far better integrated than the witnesses within the school circuits. Yet, very early, analyses of their nightmares show with this population a feeling of severe insecurity leading to far more psychological or psychiatric consultations for sleep disorders both in childhood and in adolescence. Among the motives for consultations (which are twice as many as those demanded from the group of witnesses) one can already find out specific sexual behaviours and typical sexual aggressions. Severe sadistic relationships and a premature tendency to serious crualty towards animals (even pets) are one of the major characteristics of sexual agressors. The other major characteristic is that, in one case out of three, a sexual aggression before the age of ten which will be in 75% of the cases repeated in the course of childhood or of adolescence. Yet the analysis of the beginnings of the sexual life of such subjects shows that a greater number of them have been the victims of sexual abuse by either men or women from their surrounding without their being able to analyze such acts as being aggressive. This leads the author to suggest the hypothesis according to which there would exist for such subjects of a “ continuous primary seduction ” in which the aggression act, usually presented as an “initiation” would thus become a “logical” achievement. Finally, such a study shows that acting sexual aggression works as an anti‑depressant from adolescence onwards.
Far more than any other period of life, adolescence is the container of a whole series of processes already inscribed within the child at birth. It is according to an adequate answer from the objects that these processes will reach full development. Violence to be will then take the shape of a life project, i.e. the expression of the superego signing the completion of adolescence. Such is not the fate of sexual aggressors. Non integrated violence leads them to let their ego being dissolved in the interplay of several processes. The aggression of the other person thus becomes a defence against an hallucinatory intrusion.
The author studies the intra‑family violences under the angle of the strong idealization‑splitting hence induced by such violences. Such a splitting becomes an obstacle to the adolescent process, i.e. impinges the separation task at work from the family‑group of childhood : with the individuation process, such violences attack the psychological exit from the family cell of the past. Such a problematics of confinement, of an internal prison which, underlined by the idealization‑splitting, and locks in development, will be analyzed from the material of both a family‑ and an individual therapy. The author will analyze a specific form of idealization‑splitting, i.e. the one which is at work with intellectual defence mechanisms.
Starting from the clinical case of a high level sportive adolescent girl (in archery) not presenting any pathological structured organization, the author analyzes the processes through which the ego ideal is rehandled. Such processes are stressed through the analysis of the symptom of counter‑achievement and relation difficulties of the adolescent girl. The stress is put on the loss trial (symbolical castration) imposed by the rehandlings of the ego ideal : a giving up of childhood ego ideal and parental dependence going along with it. The castration anxiety thus shifted onto the sportive competition (to win/to lose) offers a metaphorical prop to the expression of the conflict and the material wherefrom one is compelled to deal with the psychical difficulty.
The disorganizing and traumatic impact of expatriation on foreign and immigrant students is studied starting from two case studies. The problematics at work with quite a few foreign students deals with the repetition of the puberty scene and related scenarii. With immigrant students, the difficulty linked to the “adolescens elaboration” is expressed through a conflict between loyalty owed to the native system and that owed to the new culture. The task of the psychotherapist consists in granting an anaclisis and protective shield wherefrom the new identity can elaborate itself.
Here we wish to delineate the contemporary social imaginary world of adolescence. Our purpose belongs to qualitative sociology, i. e. an attempt to describe phenomenologically a few signs selected as being typical but which no objective statistics would legitimate. The author wishes to find her way about the contradiction existing between the advertising exhibition of the handsome young bodies and some characteristics of adolescent aesthetics as it may be caught within their choice of self‑presentation, of music, comic strips, etc