After some considerations about the identity effects of clothing, the article shows how, in adolescence, clothing can serve a metaphorical and metonymical function, and how the therapist can make use of this, especially in cases of psychosis.
Because the Ego can only be projected image of the subject through its multiple representation, its various “ garments ” it can only be imaginarily sustained by the Other, the Other’s gaze. Clothing and its problematization in adolescence are a way of grasping oneself back from the Other’s gaze, in a renewed quest (like an after effect of the mirror stage) for approval and confirmation of one’s image from the Other. In this way the adolescent’s relationship with clothing may be perceived as a necessary phase when gazes are recombined in order to construct what we call a visage, within the difficult meeting of these gazes. Thus we propose that clothing be thought of as the place of a process of visage-ification affecting subject and object, a process through which the meeting of gazes is played out again and put into dialectical form.
We will present here a therapeutic workshop that uses clothing as a means of mediation. This workshop, headed by an educator and a stylist working in a « Maison des Adolescents », enables work on the body image and its distortions, on self-esteem, on the body envelope and on adolescent body preoccupations. This workshop is both a place for meeting as well as sharing experiences on the subject of being and appearance.