This article recounts individual psychotherapeutic work undertaken with a deaf adolescent, in the specialized institution where he was received, and shows to what extent adolescence can be a violently disorganizing crisis, but also a time when new resources can be mobilized. Separated from his family since the age of four years and ten months on account of his handicap, his entry into puberty brings the issue of this estrangement to the forefront. At this moment, Amadou evokes different versions of the separation, genuine « scènes pubertaires (pubertary scenes) » (Gutton, 1991) in which the childhood event is made present, the violence of this event linking it to the violence of puberty. The crisis he goes through is an opportunity to elaborate the childhood trauma, to find and investigate supports offered by his environment – psychotherapy, the institution, and the family. This case study helps us to reflect more generally upon the Oedipal issues of separation, the visit from his parents at the acme of his crisis having enabled him to get more involved in an adolescens process (Gutton, 1996). This work also provides an opportunity to study the work of anthropologists and psychoanalysts (Emy, 1972, 1988 ; Ortigues, 1966) whose work sheds precious light on the child’s separation from the mother and the family, and on the specific characteristics of the organization of the Oedipus complex in an African milieu.
We suggest the notion of adolescent romance, to be understood in this way : the articulation of the structure of the family romance with pubertary scenes, as « new » scenes or composition/creations, within a dimension that is more elaborative than defensive. The adolescent romance is not a simple re-issue, but rather the creation of a desiring scenario whose movement requires three logical steps: a switching on of the structures of family romance ; then, the highlighting of pubertary scenes composed of « blazons » attached to the desiring axes ; and lastly, a narrative movement which produces this adolescent romans in the transference in the clinical exchanges. In the cases of Gunther and Celeste, the romances are analyzed, their forms as well as their functions of elaboration and of psychical construction in the service of adolescens processes. The adolescent romance, when it reveals itself in the transference, is specific and is distinguished from the Freudian family romance by the representativeness of the pubertary scenes.
revue Adolescence, 2011, T. 29 n°4, pp. 787-800.